Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Rainmates Rain Chaps

As Winter set in last year, I dusted off the ski bibs and braced myself for the coming rain. The chain guard on my ebike negates the need for ankle straps, and they were sufficiently breathable and warm that they made winter riding quite comfortable. They were a bit bulky, though, and took some time to put on, but a warm dry ebiker is a happy ebiker.

Then Spring arrived. There were more days when it might rain than days when it was actually raining. Granted, you can carry alot on an ebike, but lugging around full ski bibs based on the chance of rain was kind of ridiculous, but getting caught in a spring shower without some leg protection was downright chilly.

Enter the Rainmates! These roll-up front chaps offer moderate moisture protection, and can be easily worn "just in case" - inconspicuously rolled up. They attach with a belt at the waist, 2 straps from groin to waist (it reads more awkwardly than it really is), and 4 reflective velcro straps, 1 on either thigh, 1 on either calf. They separate at the knee for lighter conditions. Unlined, they roll up quite compact and easily fit in a bag.

They work surprisingly well! I'll admit I was a little skeptical at first, but the first light rain, I put them on in <20 sec, and was still dry when I got to work. They're easy to put on, effective in all but the downiest of downpours, and dry very quickly. But it wouldn't be a review if it didn't have some quibbles: a slight (very small, really) screen print drip of orange on the waistline doesn't affect core functionality and could be easily removed - I guess since I haven't removed it, it doesn't bother me that much. Once, when dismounting, I snagged a strap on my seat and the elastic came unstitched, but this could be easily repaired (I haven't, of course, which means it probably doesn't bother me that much). There have been a few times I've wished I had the full protection of the bibs, either to be a little drier or a little warmer, but this Spring, the Rainmates have been a great addition to the ebike wardrobe. Here's is a video on the Rainmates website demonstrating how easy they are to put on.

"Sweet Action!"s:

"Not So Nice"s:
Only available in black
Light stitching on elastic strap pulled loose
The product name screened on the side is really big, and bright orange.

Available locally at The eBike Store, $44, and online at Rainmates.

Addition, 3/18:
Also available locally at Clever Cycles for $50.


  1. I have rainmates, too. I find that all the water (even in a light rain) pools in the, um, crotchal region, leaving me with big ol' pee-looking mark on my pants. Bummer.

    But that's for the 3 or 4 mile ride. For the 1 mile quick ride to the store, water doesn't have time to pool and they function better.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Scott. I've found that crossing the hip straps(ie inner right thigh to left hip) helps prevent the, um, crotchal problem somewhat. Give it a try!

  3. I also use the cross-crotch method. so far so good. I think it might help with the saddle-catching that sometimes happens too, but I'm not sure. trying to figure out now if I get wetter from using the lower leg extensions or not... streamed a lot of water into my shoes this morning.