You asked us...

"Does anyone ever use a Shell Jacket when riding? With inside soak and all?"

Absolutely yes, lots of people ride with a shell jacket! But that doesn't necessarily result in 'inside soak'...

It's all about Waterproofness vs Breathability and finding the right balance. At one end of the spectrum, a rider could wear a jacket made from a plastic bag and would be completely protected from the rain, but very quickly be soaked on the inside from perspiration. At the other end of the spectrum, a rider could wear a jacket made from fishnet and get completely soaked from the rain, get quite a few questioning looks, but certainly have no trouble with perspiration.

A good shell jacket for cycling is one with the right balance between protecting a rider from the rain, while being breathable enough to let water vapour escape from the inside when you're getting hot on the pedals.

How do you measure waterproofness?

Waterproof rating is measured in millimetres and determined by the pressure of water upon the fabric from a 2.5cm x 2.5cm square tube. If a shell jacket has a waterproof rating of 20k (20,000mm), you could place the tube on it's fabric and fill it to a height of 20,000mm before the pressure would cause any water to leak through. If you can fill the tube higher, the fabric is more waterproof and vice versa.

How do you measure breathability?

Breathability rating is measured in grams and determined by the volume of water vapour that can pass through a m2 of the fabric from the inside to the outside within 24 hours. If a shell jacket has a breathability rating of 20k, 20,000g of water vapour would pass through during this time. The more water vapour that passes through within that 24 hour time frame, the more breathable the fabric and vice versa.

Finding the balance

The answer to achieving a waterproof and breathable jacket lies in the use of a membrane. A shell jacket may look like it's one layer thick, but in fact it is made up of several layers, and each has a very important role to play:

  • The outer layer is the bit people can see. Therefore it's the bit that needs to look stylish, while still offering a decent level of protection. It is not completely waterproof, but is DWR treated as to not absorb water.
  • The next layer is a membrane, with pores small enough to not let water in, but large enough to allow water vapour to leave.
  • Finally, the third (3L) very thin layer is all about achieving comfort next to your skin.

So, you hopefully know at this point that it is the membrane within your shell jacket that is waterproof and there to keep you dry from the rain. However, "inside soak" as it was put to us, is managed in different ways and to different degrees, depending on the type of membrane used. To achieve high breathability at the same time as waterproofness, there are a few membrane technologies available, but one that we found truly stood out above the rest: Schoeller’s c_change™.

The c_change™ membrane is inspired by nature's pine cone, which opens when the outside temperature rises, and closes again when the temperature drops. Crucially, the membrane takes into consideration not only the temperature and weather conditions, but also moisture levels, and as a result always ensures the optimum body climate.

This is how...

At higher weather temperatures or during intense cycling when your body perspires in attempt to cool you down, the polymer structure of the c_change™ membrane OPENS in response to heat and intense moisture development... This allows excess heat and moisture to escape to the outside air. In the cold, or at times of low activity and low moisture conditions, the the polymer structure of the membrane CONTRACTS, resulting in a tightly closed membrane that traps heat close to the body to prevent chilling.

Note: The more open polymer structure will not be so open as to allow rain water in, just enough to allow unwanted water vapour from sweat to leave.

The result

Lab testing has given our 3L Rain Jacket a waterproof rating of 20k and a breathability rating of 20k (20k/20k). We know as far as industry standards go, that this is very good! But at KATUSHA, our in-house lab always has the final word. The 3L Rain Jacket has been tested over and over and over again by pro riders of Team KATUSHA ALPECIN, who have given it such a stamp of approval that it now features as a key piece of their training and race kit, for very wet weather conditions.

We trust in these lab results so much, that we offer you the opportunity to try the jacket for yourself over a 30 day period. If within this time you are not satisfied, let us know, we will have it picked up from you and give you a full refund. Find our '30 days to fall in love' policy here.

Find it in black, here and sangre, here.

Do you have a cycling related question you want answered? Please do get in touch:


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