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Rain Cape Practicality

Old 10-08-23, 05:03 PM
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Rain Cape Practicality

Under what circumstances do you use your rain cape? My commute is 40 miles round trip on rather flat roads and MUP. I average 14 mph and almost always use drop bar road bikes. Iím considering a Carradice Duxback but most pictures I see are its use with upright north road style bars and I imagine intended for slower than my 14 mph. I usually drive if itís raining in the morning but if the cape works as well as I imagine, I could slow down and build a rain bike with north roads or similar and slow down.
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Old 10-08-23, 05:31 PM
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I use the rain cape when it is raining and I don't wanna get wet. I can't ride drop bars anymore, but back when I did the rain cape worked ok with more upright drop bar setups, and not so great with aggressive drop bar setups. They do slow you down when you come up against a headwind, but it's not too bad unless the wind is really crazy. Overall very happy with the rain cape.
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Old 10-09-23, 06:23 AM
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I've been using a rain cape (home-made) for a few years now. It is more comfortable for me than a rain suit and makes me far less sweaty. Strong winds can be a problem, and I can't see my speedometer or easily make arm signals. But it is my only rain gear for my 6 mile commute (previously 9 miles)

Rain Cape 2.0...Success!
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Old 10-09-23, 09:27 PM
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What is your average speed on your commutes? I can imagine wind is a problem so riding 14 mph plus a little wind —might be too much?
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Old 10-09-23, 10:21 PM
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My commute is only 8 miles round-trip, so a little different. I use the rain cape if it's a steady rain with little wind. If it's windy, the cape is pretty worthless; I'll be wet from the bellybutton down.

OTOH if I'm going out for 40 miles in the rain, I'll wear a rain jacket and rainlegs chaps. I find the cape just too fussy for that length. Even with pit zips open, I'm going to be sweaty inside the jacket; that's how it goes.
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Old 10-11-23, 04:04 PM
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If you have the time, I suggest you try slowing down and going upright, at least in bad weather; it's nice (and safer) being able to see what's going on around you.
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Old 10-11-23, 04:52 PM
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It took me some serious consideration and a 15 months of deliberations before I finally pulled the trigger on a Cleverhood Urbanaut I'm really glad I did. The stitching is very fine and well done. All the seams are sealed and the fabric is a heavy polyester that is both weighty and does not absorb water in the way that nylon does. The price was the biggest hurdle. But, high quality hand-made garmets cost what they cost. For a full list of the other features check out their website. I liked the first for cycling so much, I bought a second the next size up for walking.

A big and heavy sail isn't what you want if your goal is to set a PR on your daily commute. But if ambling along dry with good cool air circulation on your daily commute is your goal, a rain cape is a worthy investment. I don't know why I waited so long.

I still wear gators under rain-pants to defend against road and wheel derived water and splashes.

Road, flat, or touring/Northroad handlebars...makes little difference. There are thumb loops that hold the cape where you need over whatever handlebar you have.

Last edited by base2; 10-11-23 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 10-17-23, 06:08 AM
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I have also considered a rain cape, but for touring. I came to the conclusion that given that I would need and don't always want to use fenders, and that my jacket is already highly rain resistant it would not be worth it and that I would carry rain pants instead.

I am not sure that it is worth building a "rain bike" for the two or three weeks that it rains in SoCal. I do what you do... drive when it rains. If going "car free," then it might make sense. I have a buddy who has no car and relies on an E-bike to get to work. He has good rain gear, but even so he says that most of the time he takes the day off when it rains heavily.
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Old 10-18-23, 12:10 AM
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I have a J&G rain jacket (made locally) and I tried their rain cape last year. I went back to the jacket for riding and use the cape for hiking and walking around. I was looking for a cape that wasn't banana yellow for going to the kinds of events where banana yellow just isn't the done thing. I followed @base2's link and was duly frightened away from that particular offering but I've put in an order for a Cleverhood Rover in Black. It was exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 10-18-23, 05:26 PM
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Leisesturm I did spend some consideration between the 2 different series. In the end I decided that the retroreflective pattern embedded within the garmet and the heavier gauge of fabric to be the deciding factors in favor of the Urbanaut. 800 grams versus 200 grams. Let me know how the billowing sail action goes. I'd like to offer one of the lighter ones as a gift & at $100 the price is definitely right if it performs well. Keep me posted
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Old 10-18-23, 08:13 PM
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This looks interesting:

https://www.fjallraven.com/us/en-us/...a7323450870973

Thanks and good health, Weogo
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Old 10-27-23, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
Leisesturm I did spend some consideration between the 2 different series. In the end I decided that the retroreflective pattern embedded within the garmet and the heavier gauge of fabric to be the deciding factors in favor of the Urbanaut. 800 grams versus 200 grams. Let me know how the billowing sail action goes. I'd like to offer one of the lighter ones as a gift & at $100 the price is definitely right if it performs well. Keep me posted
I've had the Rover Rain Cape a couple of weeks now. Billowing is not an issue in my use case because I am using it solely for off the bike walking. IMO it would make a perfect gift. It comes folded inside a flat-pouch of the same material that I don't think anyone will ever be able to get the poncho back into. I'm not even going to try. I did buy the $4.00 optional belt but haven't used it. That should make billowing a non-issue.
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Old 10-27-23, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I've had the Rover Rain Cape a couple of weeks now. Billowing is not an issue in my use case because I am using it solely for off the bike walking. IMO it would make a perfect gift. It comes folded inside a flat-pouch of the same material that I don't think anyone will ever be able to get the poncho back into. I'm not even going to try. I did buy the $4.00 optional belt but haven't used it. That should make billowing a non-issue.
Cool. It's good to have firsthand feedback. I know what Mrs. Base2 is getting for her birthday. Thanks!
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Old 10-27-23, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Weogo
This looks interesting:
Respectfully, no, it doesn't. Did you look at the Cleverhood Urbanaut Poncho linked earlier? Your product is a too long, over designed, Rain Jacket, and the cost is just out of line with its utility. In a thread about Rain Capes/Cloaks, I just can't see the appeal. The higher end Carradice et al, ponchos are all well under $300 and do everything this product can.

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Old 10-28-23, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I've had the Rover Rain Cape a couple of weeks now. Billowing is not an issue in my use case because I am using it solely for off the bike walking. IMO it would make a perfect gift. It comes folded inside a flat-pouch of the same material that I don't think anyone will ever be able to get the poncho back into. I'm not even going to try. I did buy the $4.00 optional belt but haven't used it. That should make billowing a non-issue.
I hope you get a chance to review its performance on the bike while riding about 14mph.
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Old 10-28-23, 11:12 PM
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I use a rain cape when it rains and is warm, i.e., in summer. When it is a downpour, I may put on rain pants, and these by Decathlon. The rest of the year, I use a Tucano Urbano Magic Parka that takes of temperature, rain, and snow. I get rain capes, for myself and my family, in the German market where everybody and their brother uses rain capes, so their quality is optimized and their price is relatively low, such as here. I am baffled by the Cleverhood Urbanaut Poncho. I bought my Magic Parka on sale for a third of the Cleverhood price, and with its removable lining, it is an attire you can wear in the middle of winter. Its elegance reflects its Italian design, and you can walk in it straight into a museum or concert. It has embedded gloves!
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Old 10-29-23, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
I hope you get a chance to review its performance on the bike while riding about 14mph.
Sorry, that will have to be some other reviewer. As I said earlier, I use capes/ponchos for hiking/walking only. They excel (IMO) for that use case. For biking, nothing beats a standard rain jacket with waist to wrist pit zips and matching pants or chaps. In wet weather you get wet. Good rain gear does not keep you bone dry. If it can, you aren't really hammering. And that's ok. But if you really are putting out the Watts in the Wet, well, you've got to be realistic about your comfort. My Jacket is $45 and so are the pants. Nothing fancy. Coated nylon. Done the Gore-Tex, spent the $$$. These days, an older, wiser, Leisesturm splurges on gifts for the missus, like another enlightened rogue in this company. Class dismissed.
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Old 10-30-23, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Good rain gear does not keep you bone dry. If it can, you aren't really hammering. And that's ok. But if you really are putting out the Watts in the Wet, well, you've got to be realistic about your comfort.
To be realistic, comfort, let alone staying dry (in any weather), is probably not that high up on the priorities of a bicyclist who insists on "hammering" and "putting out the watts" while commuting.
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Old 10-31-23, 09:41 AM
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I started this thread wondering if anybody was COMMUTING with a rain cape at reasonable -- 13-14 mph -- speeds. For hammering/training in the rain, obviously there is more appropriate kit.
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Old 10-31-23, 10:49 AM
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Another approach totally. Sadly, I don't think the key element is still available but periodically other similar ones pop up. A fairing. I commuted for years with the Zzipper fairing; the simplest model for drop bars. I set my commuter up with an extra long stem set high so my overall reach was the same but I was reaching forward, not down and that fairing was far enough in front of me that the air "bubble" it caused took rain drops over my head and glasses.

The big advantage (other than being about one cog tooth faster) was the warmth. One full layer less clothing.

Those Zzippers were well made of plastic that doesn't deteriorate so if you can find an old one that's been stored correctly, don't be afraid. They do compromise that favorite hand position, the hoods, with the attaching velcro but if you adjust the handlebar location to be optimum for the shield, you have also brought the drops up to a more comfortable location.

The first upwind wet winter storm you ride into work with the fairing will have you sold. Promise. I used mine in my Seattle days with a 15 mile north-south commute. Those stormy mornings - what a blessing! And - I saw this in wide open Michigan country - with the wind ~45 degrees from your back , it's a sail! Like OMG fast! Fully controllable, not scary but a whole tun of fun. It will make your best ever downwind ride pale in comparison. (Lean the bike into the wind and yourself still near upright.)

I duck-duck'd Zzipper. Website proudly announce their 40th year! Haven't looked further but maybe they've addressed the brake hood issue.
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Old 10-31-23, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime
I started this thread wondering if anybody was COMMUTING with a rain cape at reasonable -- 13-14 mph -- speeds. For hammering/training in the rain, obviously there is more appropriate kit.
That's around the speed I ride with mine at, and it works great for that. Tend to arrive at the destination way less sweaty and gross compared to a rain jacket. My cape is basically an older version of the Urbanaut, after 5 years it still looks pretty close to new, I have no doubt that it will last a very long time. Gets a lot of compliments from people too.
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Old 10-31-23, 09:01 PM
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That's what I'm talking about. I'll likely go Carradice Cape and hopefully I can find a pair of their gators.
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Old 11-01-23, 01:05 PM
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Actually, from my reference, 8 - 10mph is where loafing along ends. 12mph is significant effort. 14mph is, if not 'hammering', still QUITE effective at raising a sweat, and my 'rain' poncho in DRY weather will be coated on the inside with moisture after about 15 minutes of activity. That isn't a whole lot different from my rain jacket. I don't think J&G is making any new rain capes but they (last I knew) still have a backlog of unsold merchandise that is on their website. At ~$45 they are a reasonable way to proof of concept the idea of rain cape commuting. The Carradice/Cleverhood offerings IMO are for people who are not asking how practical caping is. They KNOW that that's how they want to do it and are comfortable with the idea of spending close to $300 for a quality product. Truth be told, I only bought the Cleverhood Rover ($99) because I could get it in Black. The J&G is all the poncho anyone needs. It is a phenomenal value. As it should be. How much is fair for a big circle of nylon anyway?
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Old 03-05-24, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i
I use a rain cape when it rains and is warm, i.e., in summer. When it is a downpour, I may put on rain pants, and these by Decathlon. The rest of the year, I use a Tucano Urbano Magic Parka that takes of temperature, rain, and snow. I get rain capes, for myself and my family, in the German market where everybody and their brother uses rain capes, so their quality is optimized and their price is relatively low, such as here. I am baffled by the Cleverhood Urbanaut Poncho. I bought my Magic Parka on sale for a third of the Cleverhood price, and with its removable lining, it is an attire you can wear in the middle of winter. Its elegance reflects its Italian design, and you can walk in it straight into a museum or concert. It has embedded gloves!
Great to hear a positive review of this jacket... I've been wanting it for a long time and debating whether to bite the bullet and pay the extortionate shipping to NZ.

I'd love to know how the sizing comes up. Is it loose fitting across the shoulders? Or do you recommend sizing up? I've tried to find actual garment measurements but there's only the size chart with body measurements available. Cheers!
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Old 03-05-24, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pipsqueak
I'd love to know how the sizing comes up. Is it loose fitting across the shoulders? Or do you recommend sizing up? I've tried to find actual garment measurements but there's only the size chart with body measurements available.
My size is men's 46/S. With my parka spread flat on the floor, the front arm-to-armpit distance is 60 cm. In the back, the top-of-the-shoulder seam-to-seam distance is 42 cm. When wearing a fleece jacket, my dimensions are front armpit-to-armpit 45 cm and breast circumference 104 cm. The parka fits me comfortably, with or without its lining. I ended up hardly ever attaching the lining to the top. It is far more convenient to put them on or take off individually, if both are needed. I hope this helps.
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