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Thread: Rating rain gear...

  1. #1
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    Default Rating rain gear...

    After this thread on Dissent 133 gloves and this one which lead me to picking up a pair of Fizik Artica waterproof shoes, I've gathered a pretty good set of rain gear (along with some new Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders, which are great). So, while out on a 6hr ride in the rain yesterday, I started thinking about how to properly grade the quality of rain gear.


    The musings of a long bike ride left me with this 5 category rating scale. Each category gets 20 points, so a maximum score is 100.

    1. How long does it keep me dry? The longest I'll ever really ride in the rain is when bikepacking, and that tends to max out around 8hr. So if something can keep me dry for 8 hours I'll consider it a 20 point piece.

    2. Once it's wet, how well does it function? Some gloves get slippery, others start rubbing in weird places due to seams that get waterlogged and hard. Some jackets become totally useless when wet...etc.

    3. Breathability: This tends to be inversely correlated with #1 . But of course a perfect piece of kit would be 100% waterproof and totally breathable. I haven't ridden in Gore Shakedry stuff, but I hear it hits that mark. Even materials that don't breathe can have clever venting. Showers pass rain pants do this - the material itself is 100% NOT breathable, but the vents are well placed and never let water in, but do let some of the heat and sweat out.

    4. Visibility. Rain and poor visibility conditions are pretty hand-in-hand, so kit that is highly visible is much better than the matte black nonsense with no fluorescent piping.

    5. How quickly does it dry after getting wet? If I can hang it overnight and ride with it the next morning, that's a perfect 20 in my book.

    ----

    So, yesterday I wore (from bottom up): Fizik Artica boots with Showers Pass waterproof socks, a Rapha Pro Team rain cape, Dissent 133 gloves (two layer, including the waterproof layer) and a GripGrab fluorescent helmet cover. It rained at 0.75-1cm/hr for the entire ride, 6h15m, 155km, 2580m of climbing, mostly road. I was on a fully-fendered bike. I'll review the most important pieces of kit (boots, gloves and jacket) here.

    Fizik Artica boots - 65/100
    1. On a fendered bike (i.e. no road spray), my feet were totally dry for about 3hr. 12.5 points.
    2. Once they get wet, they are heavy as hell and have zero ability to drain. When I got home I actually poured about 20ml of water out of each shoe. On the other hand, they were warm and comfy the whole time, minus the squish-squish. 12.5 points.
    3. They breathe surprisingly well for being totally waterproof. It was about 5C when I left and warmed up to 9C by the end of the ride. Even with thick socks my feet never overheated. 20 points.
    4. All black but a few small reflective details. 5 points.
    5. I took out the insoles and put them on a drying rack in a room that had a dehumidifier running (for other reasons). They were only mildly damp this morning, but certainly rideable. 15 points.

    Dissent 133 gloves - 73/100
    1. In constant rain they were totally dry for about 4hr. Then, as if a dam burst, they were suddenly 100% wet. For a long commute or even a normal 3-4hr ride, they would be perfect. 17 points.
    2. They were a tad squishy once they got soaked, but kept my hands warm, gripped everything reeeeaallllly well, and still worked when texting my wife to let her know I wasn't dead. 18 points.
    3. They breathe very well. My hands overheated very briefly on a long (25min) climb, but never so much that they were pooled with sweat. 18 points.
    4. All black with no reflective details. 0 points.
    5. They came with nice little glove hangers and I wrung and hung them right when I got home. Wore them again this morning and they were perfectly dry. 20 points.

    Rapha Pro Team rain cape 96/100
    1. Aside from the sweat of riding, my torso and arms were 100% dry when I got home. 20 points.
    2. I would never be able to tell the difference between riding in this in the rain and in the sunshine. Perfect function when wet. 20 points.
    3. Nice zipper angle means I could vent from the chest without letting in water, and the back end is long and flowy enough that it lets out heat without letting in water (even on a non-fendered bike). If its above 10C I do overheat a little bit. 18 points.
    4. Very thick reflective arm band (the rest is an olive drab) that glows like the sun when its hit with light. Placed on the left side, so at least for most of the world that means its on the car side. 18 points.
    5. On a hanger when I got home at 14h. Dry enough to put in my closet at 20h (probably before). 20 points.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Kudos for even getting out that day. I was in the US but saw the weather forecast !
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
    Kudos for even getting out that day. I was in the US but saw the weather forecast !
    Saturday was wicked flooding, trails were basically 10km stretches of puddle. Sunday wasn't so bad, just a bit wet ;-) I was just excited to test out my new fenders.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    I've got the Rapha Pro Team Race cape as well as the Gore One Shakedry. When it's cold and wet, the Race Cape is fantastic. And mine is that super bright green chartreuse that gets it bonus points for visibility. I don't find that it breaths well when riding hard or on a warmish rainy day, so it's reserved for colder days when it will rain consistently. The Shakedry, on the other hand, loses points for visibility but crushes every other category. Most of the time I'd rather dress for the appropriate temperature, with some adjustment for the wind protection of the Shakedry jacket, and then just let the jacket handle the job of rain protection. I've worn it in the low 70s over summer kit down to the 40s over a wool baselayer and long sleeve wool jersey combo (paired with thermal bibs and water resistant knee warmers). I'm glad I have both, but given where I live, the Shakedry gets the call more often than the Race Cape and that's despite the poor visibility rating.
    "I guess you're some weird relic of an obsolete age." - davids

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Trying to stay dry in a summer thunderstorm is WAY harder than dealing with rain when it's cold for me. Sydney winter rain i can cope with. Sydney summer rain still has me stumped. What do you wear when its 30 degrees (that's centigrade - in fahrenheit it's roughly equivalent to hot) and pissing down? I just get wet.
    Colin Mclelland

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    I spend a lot of time riding in hot rain. I just accept that I’ll be wet and use an ultra-light vest from Sportful to keep any chill away. It packs so small I bring it on almost every ride.
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    When it's hot and wet I just ride in whatever, usually with a light wind jacket for descents. I just embrace being wet. Blub blub blub.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    Trying to stay dry in a summer thunderstorm is WAY harder than dealing with rain when it's cold for me. Sydney winter rain i can cope with. Sydney summer rain still has me stumped. What do you wear when its 30 degrees (that's centigrade - in fahrenheit it's roughly equivalent to hot) and pissing down? I just get wet.
    What the issue then ?

    In summer the less you dress the quicker you will dry imho. I never understood people wearing rain jacket in summer, be it on a bicycle or in the street. In the end with a rain jacket if it is hot you will end up wet, but from your own sweat which smell much worse. I wear regular summer jersey and short for long rides and sandals, short and a technical sleeveless t-shirt for commuting
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    What the issue then ?

    In summer the less you dress the quicker you will dry imho. I never understood people wearing rain jacket in summer, be it on a bicycle or in the street. In the end with a rain jacket if it is hot you will end up wet, but from your own sweat which smell much worse. I wear regular summer jersey and short for long rides and sandals, short and a technical sleeveless t-shirt for commuting
    The issue is when i stop riding i have a bunch of super wet clothing and shoes to deal with...if that's it, so be it. But if there is an answer, i'd like to know it!
    Colin Mclelland

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    The issue is when i stop riding i have a bunch of super wet clothing and shoes to deal with...if that's it, so be it. But if there is an answer, i'd like to know it!
    You've got the solution.
    Do nothing.
    Save some money as well.
    Hot/wet does sound miserable, but it's not in my world......yet.

    Suggestions for kits should only be taken locally or with similar weather patterns.
    The rest is just web static.
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    I love riding and spend a lot of hour riding in rain. I just accept that I’ll be wet and use an ultra-light vest from Sportful to keep any chill away. It packs so small and I bring it on almost every ride.
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    The issue is when i stop riding i have a bunch of super wet clothing and shoes to deal with...if that's it, so be it. But if there is an answer, i'd like to know it!
    Provided you are using summer clothing if it is hot and it stopped raining it should dry really quickly.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Sydney summer is about 99.9% humidity. Wet shoes don't dry overnight and wet shoes and wet bibs don't dry during the day where i have to leave them at work...so there is that
    Colin Mclelland

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    Sydney summer is about 99.9% humidity. Wet shoes don't dry overnight and wet shoes and wet bibs don't dry during the day where i have to leave them at work...so there is that
    Get yourself a shoe/boot dryer. Something like this - Robot Check

    They work very well. I usually put my shoes on for an hour or two after every ride to dry them out and prevent any growth in them from all the sweat. After a rainy ride the shoes get stuffed with newspaper for an hour to soak up most of the water and then sit on the dryer for six hours or so and they are then bone dry.
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    I have a similar issue with drying bibs at work because the cloakroom is full of humidity thanks to the showers and only has tiny windows. I simply rotate and use the previous day kit for my way back.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    Sydney summer is about 99.9% humidity. Wet shoes don't dry overnight and wet shoes and wet bibs don't dry during the day where i have to leave them at work...so there is that
    That's what happens in London too.
    You may get a warm week or two in the summer (?) in between light rain.

    For me, it works best to alwys have the lightest rain jacket I can use. If I know it will be raining all the time I don't go out for a ride, but I ride those 40 minutes work even in snow or hailstorms.
    In summer rain, it'll never be over 20ºc so no chance for things to dry as you ride, in fact you'd get cold and stay cold :-(
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi così colà dove si puote
    ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by bdaghisallo View Post
    Get yourself a shoe/boot dryer. Something like this - Robot Check

    They work very well. I usually put my shoes on for an hour or two after every ride to dry them out and prevent any growth in them from all the sweat. After a rainy ride the shoes get stuffed with newspaper for an hour to soak up most of the water and then sit on the dryer for six hours or so and they are then bone dry.
    I'm thinking of shoe dryers, but you can't get that type in Australia. The most common ones seem to be these: Electric Shoe Dryer Warmer | CareMax (AU)

    I don't know...they look a bit like landfill in the shape of a shoe dryer.

    Don't buy landfill is one of my rules, so at the moment I use newspaper. But that's not as ubiquitous as it used to was...
    Colin Mclelland

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    I'm thinking of shoe dryers, but you can't get that type in Australia. The most common ones seem to be these: Electric Shoe Dryer Warmer | CareMax (AU)

    I don't know...they look a bit like landfill in the shape of a shoe dryer.

    Don't buy landfill is one of my rules, so at the moment I use newspaper. But that's not as ubiquitous as it used to was...
    A different execution of the same concept. If you get one I doubt that it would ever end up in a landfill - you'd value it too highly to part with it.
     

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by bdaghisallo View Post
    A different execution of the same concept. If you get one I doubt that it would ever end up in a landfill - you'd value it too highly to part with it.
    If your house is warmed by radiators, and you keep them on low, they'll serve the same function. I've never used a boot dryer, but I pop my shoes/boots on a radiator when I get home, set to minimum heat, and they are always dry a few hours later. In the winter, when we might be running them higher, I make a little stand out of bent coathangers and prop them above the heater. Never had to buy anything new, so nothing to put in the landfill.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

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    Default Re: Rating rain gear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colinmclelland View Post
    Sydney summer is about 99.9% humidity. Wet shoes don't dry overnight and wet shoes and wet bibs don't dry during the day where i have to leave them at work...so there is that
    Same as Washington DC. Wearing rain gear in the summer doesn't really work because you get wet from the inside instead with zero evaporation. That said, I tested the new Pro Team Race Cape in some cold rain this past weekend and was surprised by how breathable it was. Not sure the ShakeDry will be worth the added cost, but I'd be open to being proven wrong.
     

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