Well known for their outdoor range of clothing Rab have recently released a range for cycling. The guys at Wild Cycles who are partnered with Rab for some of their events suggested to Rab that it would be a good idea to send me some kit to try out. They kindly did and so it’s time to see if Rab are jumping on the band wagon of the gravel boom and just putting their name to a range of cycling kit or is it actually designed for the job? it’s going to be fun to find out.
Rab Cinder Jersey Top
Its seems that Rab like an acronym or two going by their website. they say the Cinder jersey is made of “Motiv™ (102g/m²) with S.Café® Yarn Technology” for the main part and the secondary part is “Motiv™ Aero single jersey fabric with subtle mesh structure (85gsm) with odour control treatment” What this means in reality is that the jersey is slightly tailored but by no means “race fit” i.e. it fits real riders and that the fit guide is realistic and that the jersey is perfect for late spring and summer riding. The material feels quality and not like the usual polyester or nylon, the vented material is in all the right places helping to stop that overheated feeling you get with some jerseys. Full marks to Rab for the full length zip. the zip is easy to use with one hand and enhances warm weather riding greatly. The sleeves are seamless and stay in place without tight elastic. Three pockets and one zip pocket on the back mean there’s plenty of stash room for essentials or emergency cake stops.
Riding in the jersey is great, it’s comfy and not overly tight but not baggy, perfect for my style of casual riding. Because of the light weight of the fabric you’ll feel like you are not really wearing anything. This does mean that if you overload the rear pockets the weight will pull the hem down at the back and the neck up at the front. stick with bars and gels rather than lardy cake and all is good though.
A great, well thought out Jersey from Rab
Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts
As these were sent out in the middle of March I did worry that I’d not have the opportunity to test these out properly, after all it was nearly spring, best time of the year for riding…..hmmm we then proceeded to get one of the wettest springs for years, frankly I blame Rab!
I’m not going to cut and paste all the acronyms and names of the fabric for these, it’d take up half the page! what you want to know is how they feel and are they actually waterproof. So, feel. to the touch they feel absolutely fantastic, the fabric has such a soft velvety quality to it on the outside and doesn’t feel plastic like on the inside like a lot of waterproof shorts seem to. The blight of waterproof shorts normally for me is the rustle, that awful sound that shorts make when pedalling, well full marks Rab, the rustle here is at a minimum. The shorts are cut for the pedalling position and just wide enough at the knee that if you wanted to wear thin knee pads you could, so good for MTB too. the top of the knee is slightly longer than the back for extra coverage. I think I would prefer a slimmer fit option, I don’t wear pads so don’t need that gap. The size guide again is realistic, there is a pull cord to adjust fit for cafe stops and the fly zipper and press stud fastening is secure. The shorts have two side pockets and two zipped thigh vents which double as access points if you are wearing cargo bibs underneath. The only downside I’d say is they don’t pack down very small to be able to carry them as an emergency short but if it’s already raining before you start your ride they are comfortable to wear over long distances and time.
They claim to be waterproof and I can honestly say they 100% are. One ride of 25 miles home from work took me through 3 torrential rain storms, the kind that fill up your shoes with water within seconds but my backside and legs remained dry, call me impressed. The shorts have a good level of breathability too and on the aforementioned ride I was clammy from the riding effort but no more so than if it was a hot day wearing non waterproof baggy shorts.
Again, well designed, someone who rides a bike must have had a hand in the design. Recommended
Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket
The wet weather again came in useful for testing the kinetic jacket, which has that lovely soft feel the waterproof shorts do. Rab says the jacket has the feel of a soft shell with the properties of a hardshell and I can echo that. The jacket has a non detachable hood big enough to fit over a helmet that features a stiffer peak at the front and a cinch cord to stop flappage. There is a chest pocket and a rear zipped pocket. The jacket is made from recycled materials.
In use I can say the jacket is 100% windproof, waterproof and very breathable. Having a wet spring is good for waterproof testing but also brings higher temperatures with that rain. it’s easy to over heat when doing a long climb or a big effort normally but although I did warm up inside the jacket I didn’t feel uncomfortable. The sleeves are long enough in the cycling position with half elastic fitting, this means you can pull the sleeves up for cooling if the rain stops and you don’t want to take off the jacket. As with the shorts, it’s not a roll up and stash in your bar bag jacket, it doesn’t pack down small enough. I’d watch the sizing on this one though. I normally take an XL in jackets but this one feels quite big, especially when leaning forward on the bike, there seems to be a big space in the jacket bulge between the front and my chest, maybe it was just because i was only wearing a jersey and base layer underneath and in winter when this jacket will come into its own i will be wearing more layers, one to look at carefully. At the end of wet rides I was bone dry underneath. Again impressive.
This jacket is so nice I’ve started to wear it off the bike too….never mind the mud splattered on it!
Rab Cinder Cargo Bib Shorts
I was a cargo short sceptic, I’ll feely admit it but now after trying a few versions I am a big fan so these cargo shorts from Rab with their “Elastic Interface® Gravel Performance chamois” had to be good to compare to the opposition.
Its usually the case that bib shorts need a few wears and washes to mold to your body shape before they feel truly “yours” the Rab cinder shorts were no exception but after those initial rides I found I was a little disappointed I didn’t have two pairs so I didn’t have to wait for them to come out of the wash.
The shorts feature the traditional bib straps and short, they don’t come up to high at the front, so pee stops are achievable without being a contortionist, (I can’t obviously speak for the women’s version in that function) there is a pocket on each thigh deep enough to keep a large phone/banana/sausage roll in without them falling out and two mesh pockets at the rear. The material has a DWR (durable water resistant) coating and Rab say the shorts are body mapped for support and low abrasion.
As mentioned, after a couple of rides I was hooked on these shorts, they feel thick enough to offer some protection in a crash and yet are very light weight. They seem to cosset you in a lovely hugging way that your favourite jumper does. I’m not sure what makes the pad “gravel performance” but it is comfortable over long distances and that’s even on an MTB! The thigh pockets are not baggy and feel secure enough to put something valuable into. I put my phone in mine but obviously that’s a silly thing to do, you wouldn’t want to fall on it so don’t try that at home kids! The leg grippers are unobtrusive and move with you rather than having a vice like feel or flappy. Sizing here is spot on, I’m usually an XL for length being over 6ft and these fit perfectly.
The only downside I can think of with these shorts is that I don’t have two pairs! Can I have another pair please Rab, pretty please with a big hug?
At the start of this review I wondered if Rab had just rebadged an off the peg range of cycling clothing as their own just to be in the scene but I’m now sure that this is not the case.
Rab have sat down and thought about the Cinder range, they’ve used their experience of outdoor wear and applied those materials and know how into their cycling range. From wearing the kit I can tell that whoever designed it is either a cyclist or knows about cycling.
You can check out the Rab cycling range on their website rab.equipment/uk/cinder
The Wild Cycles guys are hosting “Wild Wales” this june/july and you can check out some of the Rab range there