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Review: Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket and Shorts

Rab Cinder Jacket and shorts on female cyclist

Exceptionally breathable and well designed waterproof outer layers for cyclists.

Spring 2023, has seen the release of Rab’s new collection of bike clothing, Cinder. Aimed to cater for adventure cyclists, bikepackers, gravel riders and mountain bikers, the team at Rab have put everything they know about clothing for movement in challenging conditions and adapted it to create clothing designed for cyclists (moving in challenging conditions!).

I’ve been lucky enough to try out two items from the Cinder range: The Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket and the Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts, both of which I’ve been really loving, so far.

Let’s delve a little deeper…

Woman cycling by the sea near mining chimney

Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket Review

Weight:304g/10.7oz
Waterproof?:Yes, 10,000 HH
Pockets:2
Eco-conscious:Recycled polyester and fluorocarbon-free DWR coating

The first thing that anyone who’s seen me wearing the Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket mentions is how nice it looks! I’ve worn it in non-cycling scenarios and it’s had lots of style comments. And cycle buddies notice it immediately if they’ve not seen me in it before. It really is a very aesthetically pleasing jacket.

I think this comes down to a few things. Firstly, the fabric – despite its highly technical credentials – doesn’t look especially technical, just smart and classy. Secondly, the fit and sizing is spot on, as is all the Rab clothing I’ve ever worn. And finally, the design is simple and non-fussy with a fitted but not tight cut that works really well if you have the right size.

Waterproofness

Looks aside, now let’s get to the important stuff. The fabric continues to surprise me every time I wear the jacket. Perhaps it’s the softshell appearance and feel that makes me doubt it in the first place, but the waterproofness of the Proflex technology is almost as good as the breathability. No, the fabric doesn’t bead water like a hardshell, but neither does it absorb it when it becomes saturated. And though I’ve yet to ride in any kind of prolonged rain storms, the hour or so rain storms in which I have worn it have left me completely dry and comfortable, and rather smug about it!

Cyclist with muddy back

Breathability

There are so many great features of this jacket that make it an all round excellent option for riding in changeable conditions as well offering high levels of comfort and practicality. However, what has blown me away the most is how incredibly breathable this jacket is. In cooler weather it provides a superbly windproof layer that is as suitable worn over the top of heavy thermals as it is over a lightweight t-shirt. The fabric doesn’t feel cold and sticky when worn directly on your skin and it just seems to deal with moisture build up like no other jacket I’ve ever worn.

In warmer conditions I feel like pit vents would add another level of temperature control which in turn would add an extra degree of versatility.

Woman with hood up in the rain

Other features I really like

I LOVE that the hood fits over my helmet. It really makes a difference to morale when your head is dry as well as warm. There’s nothing worse than putting on a saturated helmet after a coffee stop. But this discomfort is no longer with a hood like this! Plus, it really can be adjusted with one hand whilst riding.

It’s also hard not to mention the value of this jacket. Yes, it costs £170 which is no small sum of money. And my initial feeling was that this is a lot for a jacket that is bike specific and lacks the versatility of a multi-activity garment. However, if biking is your primary sport and you ride regularly then I feel that it is absolutely worth every penny. You’ll be hard-pushed to find a regular waterproof jacket at this price and with this level of performance. And with a little alteration of one’s mindset, it’s perfectly capable of going out for walks, winter runs or for trips to the shops!

Features of the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket

Fabric

Jacket fabricThe jacket is constructed with Rab’s innovative Proflex fabric. This is a 20D (denier), 3-layer recycled polyester fabric that has a stretch knit face and a PU membrane. The fabric is stretchy, exceptionally breathable, waterproof with an HH rating of 10,000 mm, and feels incredibly lightweight to wear.

Hood

Cyclist with hood upThe hood is huge! Which means it fits very nicely over a bike helmet when the heavens open unexpectedly. If you don’t want to wear it over your helmet, the adjustable drawcord can be cinched in around your head, although it will never be a snug fit. The hood also features a stiffened peak and a fleece lined chin guard. Plus, it can be secured away when you’re riding in dry conditions to stop it acting like a drag parachute.

Cuffs

Rain on jacket armOffering a little extra length than a regular jacket, the cuffs fully cover the wrists when stretched out on your bike. They’re not adjustable, which I like as velcro invariably loses grip over time and snags on everything that doesn’t want to be snagged. Instead, the cuffs are lightly elasticated on the underside to grip comfortably around the wrists and provide enough space for gloves to tuck into too.

Hem

Rear of jacketI love the long back of this jacket. It provides an extra layer of protection over my butt stopping draughts, water and wind from weedling their way onto my under layers. The hem is shorter at the front and, unusually for this style of jacket, there’s also an adjustable drawcord through the hem which is another great feature. Additionally, a strip of silicone grip is designed to keep the jacket in place.

Pockets

Rear pocket of cycling jacketThe Kinetic Jacket features two pockets, both of which have YKK AquaGuard zippers. The chest pocket is big enough to fit a very large phone, map or snacks. The rear pocket has bellowed sides and fits in an extra layer, or sunglasses and snacks. The zipper can be easily opened and closed when riding.

Packability

Packed rab jacketThe jacket easily stuffs inside my frame bag and rolls up decently small, though nothing groundbreaking – it’s not that type of jacket. It also stuffs into its own rear pocket, although I don’t think it’s designed to do this. When in there it feels quite compressed and more easily packable in a larger bag.

 

What I don’t love so much about the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket

As you may have guessed, there’s very little to dislike about this jacket. But here are a couple of tiny things that would, for me, make it an almost perfect jacket:

  • The colour. As aesthetic as it is, I don’t feel very visible when I’m on the roads. It’s available in bright yellow, which is great for visibility, though not so good for dirt. But a bright red or vibrant green would be great.
  • The jacket fits inside the rear pocket, though I’m not sure it’s designed to. A two-sided zipper would make the pocket doubly useful and the jacket would become even more packable.
  • I’m unsure how useful the silicone detail is on the inside of the hem at the back. There’s no harm in it being there, but it’s potentially a bit superfluous.
  • Pit vents would be great, although they would add a bit of extra weight. Fine by me!

Find the latest price at:
Rab


Woman cycling downhill

Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts Review

Weight:204g/7.1oz
Waterproof?:Yes, 10,000 HH
Pockets:2
Eco-conscious:Recycled polyester and fluorocarbon-free DWR coating

Adopting the same Proflex technology as the jacket, the fabric of the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts has left me equally impressed in terms of performance. The breathable, waterproof and windproof properties have stepped up to the task providing comfort and protection in both dry and wet conditions.

I really enjoy the relaxed fit of the shorts which somehow manage not to feel too baggy when cycling. However, I am aware that I’m wearing them (whereas the jacket feels completely unnoticeable to wear – in a good way!). This is partly due to the fact that they seem to twist around slightly on me. But they also don’t feel quite as soft and stretchy as the jacket. That said, they have to deal with all the movement! So it’s unsurprising that I feel them a bit more.

Woman standing with bike in the rain

I really love the thigh vents which make the shorts wearable in slightly warmer / more strenuous conditions, and the extra length at the knees is another very nice touch that makes a big difference.

Aside from that, the Kinetic Shorts function well, look stylish, feel comfortable and offer excellent levels of weather protection and breathability in changeable and challenging conditions.

Features of the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts

Fabric

Shorts fabricLike the Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Jacket, the main part of the shorts is constructed with the same 20D Proflex fabric that is highly breathable, stretchy and waterproof. In addition to this, the seat and rear thighs are reinforced with a more durable nylon Proflex fabric with a 20,000mm HH rating. Additionally, the seams of the seat and inseam are offset for comfort and to minimise rubbing.

Waist band

Back of shortsThe shorts fasten via a zippered fly and two popper buttons, and the fit can be adjusted with a drawcord that can be locked into place to the side of the fly. At the back of the waist band there is an internal silicone grip that is designed to keep the shorts in place. I’ve not found this to be especially useful as the shorts twist around unless I have the drawcord cinched right in. However, I really like how the back section is raised for a better fit and coverage when seated in the cycling position.

Pockets

Shorts pocketThere are two hand pockets which both feature water resistant YKK AquaGuard zips. These are only really useful for storing soft things like gloves or a buff and I find they get more use when I’m off the bike and pop things in them like bike lock keys or money etc.

Thigh vents

Thigh vent on Rab Cinder shortsIf you wear undershorts with a side pocket then the zippered vents are super useful to allow access to the things in the pockets. But they really come into their own when I’m starting to overheat but still need some wind or rain protection. Their downward angle still manages to keep out most of the bad weather whilst providing some welcome coolness from the air.

Hem

Knee of bike shortsThe hem of the shorts is slightly longer at the front to help provide more coverage over the knees without rubbing at the backs of the knees. This is a nice touch as without it, the tops of the thighs just above the knees would be subject to full exposure to vertical rain.

 

What I don’t love so much about the Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts

As with the jacket, I’ve struggled to find much I would change about the shorts. The main negative I’ve found is that they twist around to my left when I ride. The silicone strip on the inside of the waist does little to stop this and the only thing that seems to help is if I cinch in the drawcord at the waist.

Find the latest price at:
Rab


Cyclist wearing Rab Cinder Jacket and Shorts

Verdict

Rab have done an exceptional job at creating their first line of bike clothing. And I’m very much loving wearing the Kinder Jacket and Shorts which offer hard-to-beat breathability without compromising on protection against the elements.

The wider Cinder collection is equally stylish with a simple and on-trend aesthetic. It’s also practical and well designed for cyclists, and incredibly high performing in changeable conditions.

Check out more of the Cinder range at:
Rab

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

Joey Holmes

Joey Holmes
Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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