It never rains in California, but it does here. So you need the right clothes, unless you're a fair-weather cyclist and only dare to leave the house when the sky is bright blue in all directions. But even then, it wouldn't hurt to have a rain jacket in your briefcase for the evening commute home, because you never know....
Yes, you read that right, there are cycling rain jackets that are small and light enough to fit in your business briefcase or the side pocket of your backpack, so they're always at the ready when it unexpectedly starts to rain. But there are also special rain jackets for mountain bikers or touring bikers, plus of course men's jackets and rain jackets for women. But what can a really good cycling rain jacket do?
The quick way to the perfect cycling rain jacket:
Rain jackets for mountain biking and urban biking
Rain jackets are about the only cycling accessory that doesn't have by far the most mountain bike and road bike products. There are a lot of mountain bike jackets, but even ahead of rain jackets for road cyclists are jackets for everyday cyclists. So you have a lot of choices no matter what type of bike you prefer.
- Rain jackets for mountain biking
Like all mountain bike gear, MTB rain jackets differ from other biking apparel in two main ways. They're cut wider, so they're more comfortable and go well with the relaxed MTB look, plus various protectors fit loosely underneath. Apart from that, the fabrics are sturdy and tear-resistant so they can withstand falls well.
Among mountain bikers rain jackets in hoodie style are totally in at the moment, they don't have a full-length zipper, just a short zipper at the neckline and a big belly pocket. And of course a fat hood.
>100%, Fox or Loose Riders supply MTB rain jackets, as do Leatt, Oneal or Place Fear.
- Rain jackets for urban bikers and touring cyclists
Rain jackets for touring bikers and penders come in many varieties. There are straight cut jackets for men, fitted jackets for women, short jackets that end above the hip or long rain jackets that reach the thigh
For bike tours thin and lightweight bike rain jackets are perfect, which can even be packed into a small saddle bag . That way you just have your rain gear with you all the time.
>Leisure and bike trekking rain jackets are available here in the online shop from Vaude, IXS or Basil.
- Rain jackets for road cyclists
Lightweight, slim, sleek. You certainly didn't expect anything else when it came to road cycling apparel. Rain jackets for road cyclists blend seamlessly into sleek road bike outfits.
>The well-known road bike outfitters Assos and Endura make our outstanding road bike rain jackets.
This is what makes a good rain jacket for cyclists:
Cycling rain jackets for men and women
Bicycle rain jackets are available for women and men, they differ in cut and there are of course typical women's colors like pink or red and men's colors like blue or green. But the choice of color of a rain jacket should not only be based on gender, especially in bad weather a highly visible signal color is a piece of life insurance.
You can find here on Bike Mailorder bike jackets in the common sizes for women and men, also some unisex jackets are included.
The perfect cycling rain jacket is a mere formality:
To help you sit and stretch your hands to the handlebars, bike tops have an extra long back. Bicycle rain jackets also protect your back in this way from drafts, prying eyes and, of course, rain. Here, the "flap" likes to hang a bit further over your bottom so that it can catch all splashing water. If you ride a bike without mudguards, you'll at least stay a little drier this way.
You stretch your arms towards the handlebars when you're on a bike, so the sleeves of cycling jackets are longer than other sleeves. That way, they still reach to your wrist. This is especially handy with cycling rain jackets, because then your jumper sleeves don't peek out from under the jacket and get wet in the process.
And again, you're stretching your arms toward the handlebars on a bike, so regular jackets like to constrict your shoulders. Bike jackets give you plenty of room at that point. This is very important with rain jackets, because when it rains it often gets cooler. The more layers you wear under your rain jacket, the tighter and more uncomfortable your shoulders will be in the wrong jacket!
Bicycle rain jackets come with two hood options: a way-too-big hood or no hood at all. The huge hood is obviously meant to fit over your bicycle helmet . If the designer doesn't add a hood, he's assuming you won't use it anyway because the helmet provides enough rain protection
- Reinforced sleeves and chest
Because the wind from riding comes from the front, many cycling jackets have a reinforced front. This keeps the arms and chest area sufficiently warm, while keeping the back well ventilated.
By the way, a cycling rain jacket works great when hiking, shopping or at the bus stop. Here also the special cut is not further noticeable. The other way round, however, is more difficult. A forest-and-meadow rain jacket constricts and exposes the wrong areas of the body. Therefore, it is advisable to buy a special bike jacket if you like to get on your bike regularly, and then just wear this jacket whenever it pours.
The water column thing - what is a waterproof bike rain jacket?
First and foremost, of course, a sports rain jacket must be waterproof. Fabrics are therefore tested in the laboratory to find out how much water pressure a piece of the fabric can withstand. The result is given in mm water column you will find this information for example here in the online shop in the description of the jackets.
The higher the value, the more waterproof the jacket. From 1300 mm a fabric is considered water repellent, from about 4000 to 8000 mm a jacket is considered waterproof, you are quite safe with a jacket that has 20 000 mm water column or more. Incidentally, it's not just cycling rain jackets that are judged this way, the measurement process also applies to tents and other gear that should stay dry
The fabrics are made so that water drops bead up on the top, but water vapour can steam out from the inside. This makes the jacket breathable,sweat doesn't build up and the skin feels pleasantly dry inside.
By the way, be careful if you want to be out in the pouring rain with your backpack . The backpack exerts pressure and rubs just where the rain pelts most - on your shoulders and back. Only a particularly dense rain jacket can withstand this. Backpack straps massage moisture into other jackets until they're soaked through.
What rain jackets are there?
Hardshell jackets have a solid, durable top layer and usually a loose lining. These jackets often feature very good waterproofing in return, they are not stretchy.
Softshell jackets and all-weather jackets
A softshell jacket is soft, stretchy, and depending on the thickness of the material, it will even keep you warm enough in cold weather. This makes it the perfect cycling jacket for all seasons and all weather. Since softshell rain jackets are often only water-repellent and not waterproof you should still take precaution when wearing such a cycling rain jacket in a decent downpour
Low weight and small footprint are the hallmarks of a super lightweight sports jacket. In order to make jackets as dense as possible with as little material as possible, ultralight rain jackets use various coatings and membranes applied to a single layer of fabric. The goal is to make a jacket that's light as a feather and doesn't take up much room while the sun is shining, but still keeps you dry.
The layers of a rain jacket
There are two possible ways to combine different functional layers to create a jacket that looks smart on the outside and feels nice and dry on the inside.
- Many jackets simply have multiple layers of fabric tucked into each other. For hardshell jackets example, inner linings of mesh or lightweight fabric are often sewn in, which feel more comfortable against the skin than the solid outer fabric. You can actually always tell this jacket construction because the layers are only joined at some seams, otherwise there is another jacket made of a different fabric "hanging" inside the rain jacket. These jackets usually have excellent water column values, for that they bring a little more material.
- The thinner and lighter a rain jacket is supposed to be, the fewer layers of fabric the construction can handle. Therefore, instead of bonding different layers of fabric together, a single layer is treated until it has the desired properties. The fibers get a chemical finish or membranes are bonded to the fabric, the fabric is coated and "laminated". Then a single layer of fabric is all that is needed to make a jacket that is breathable, windproof, yet waterproof
These layers are often not even visible, but they still do their job, keeping you nice and dry in the next downpour. The best-known waterproof membrane is Goretex, but other patented functional layers are also used in cycling jackets.
To make sure the jacket is really waterproof, manufacturers usually add an impregnation process, giving it a bath or spray with a sticky liquid that makes it even more waterproof. You can refresh this impregnation after a wash with an appropriate spray.
Here's where it gets critical - the seams, zips and vents of your bike rain jacket
Unless you want to be out and about in a flapping poncho, a rain jacket is made up of several pieces, as this is the only way to get a body-hugging construction. The disadvantage of this is that weak points in the rain-repellent surface are pre-programmed. Seams, fasteners or even vents interrupt the waterproof surface and must therefore be treated specially. The seams are welded or glued. Zips can either be made waterproof by a special construction, or they disappear under a fabric flap, which is then responsible for the waterproofness. Vents are either placed in such a way that water cannot penetrate the inside of the cycling rain jacket, i.e. under the arms or under a flap, or they can be opened and also closed again entirely as required.
Rain ponchos are also available for cyclists, by the way. They are not really stylish, even their aerodynamics are of a rather dubious nature, but they have the unbeatable advantage of being able to cover your backpack and legs. It doesn't get any drier than this! Dutch bike outfitter Basil supplies such rain capes.
And speaking of visually challenging cycling apparel: You'll stay completely dry in a rain overall like the Place Afraid DFL Suit or the onesies from Edura and Dirtlej.
How to get your rain jacket clean again - the proper care of a cycling rain jacket
You've been riding your bike through the bike park all day in the drizzle and now you can hardly distinguish your bike jacket from the mud on the ground? Before you stuff your jacket into the washing machine, you should definitely check the washing instructions! Functional jackets tend to be a little bitchy when it comes to cleaning, the membranes don't tolerate every detergent and the full spin cycle. You'll often need to treat a rain jacket with a suitable waterproofing agent after washing to get it back into full working order.
It rains, it rains and everything gets wet - except you!
Unfortunately, a rain jacket isn't enough for longer rides. But with an extra pair of rain pants and gloves you can cycle comfortably even in the worst of the muck. If you then wear overshoes make sure your feet stay dry, you'll be able to enjoy your ride in any weather. You can find the right rain gear right here in our online shop.