Italian clothing brand Alé has a cold and wet weather range called Klimatik, which includes this K-Racing Rain Jacket. The clue is in the name: this is a coat designed for fast training and weekend rides or race day. It fits well and is very breathable, but the weatherproofing isn't as good as I'd hoped.
Its outer construction is a mixture of polyamide (72.5%) and elastane (27.5%), and it has quite a bit of stretch for a close-fitting but unrestrictive fit. It is designed for racing, after all, so you don't want any material flapping around ruining any aerodynamic advantages.
Complementing that fit is a dropped tail, and by a good few inches too, to still give your rear plenty of coverage when crouched right over into the drops. It's held in place with a two-pronged attack of elastic and a silicone gripper, and they work: I never found the jacket riding up.
The sleeves are cut to a decent length too, to take into account the stretched out position you're likely to be spending a lot of time in. Again, elastic keeps the cuffs in position. At this money I'd expect to see the arms cut with a slight bend in them to stop the fabric bunching up at the elbow, both for comfort and aerodynamics.
Up top the neck is a nice length, or should that be height? Whatever, it sits tall, stopping any wind shooting down, but the full-length zip doesn't have a garage to park it in, which seems a bit of an omission. There is a storm flap behind it, though, which is always welcome.
The Alé is rated as waterproof to a standard of 15,000mm. What this means is that the fabric has been stretched tight under a 1in diameter sealed tube of water. It's then observed over 24 hours to see how much water it takes to saturate the material. A rating of 15,000mm is classified as rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure, so moderate rain basically. To achieve its rating, the Klimatik uses a polyurethane membrane and taped seams, and looking at the way the water beads on the outside I'd say there is also a durable water repellent (DWR) coating applied.
I wasn't overly impressed with the waterproofing, I must admit. An hour in heavy drizzle saw water seeping through the material on the arms and in steady rain I'd say it lasts about 20 minutes before you are wet.
Even if you are wet, though, the Alé keeps you warm – and, more importantly, it is good when it comes to breathability, so you never feel clammy.
I've been to the Alé factory and seen all of its clothing being handmade right there, and the level of quality control and expertise is shown here in this jacket. The seams and fabric are absolutely perfect. That, in some ways, goes towards justifying the K-Racing jacket's £135 price tag.
Looking back at other jackets we've tested, there is little like the Alé, with most being aimed more towards the actual waterproof general jacket rather than something you'd stick on over your kit for race day to get you through the worst of the weather. The top scoring Endura FS260 Pro SL is an obvious contender: at roughly the same price it scores highly in breathability and, more importantly, waterproofing. Spend another £85 and you can get the new Gore One GTX, weighing half the price of the Alé while also excelling at the moisture in/moisture out ratio.
Overall the Alé is pretty good at what it does; okay, the waterproofing could be better, but it is very good at keeping you warm so you don't actually realise you are wet until you stop to take the jacket off – but it is up against some stiff competition.
If you're racing and in the thick of it, the Alé does enough to keep the worst of the weather off so you can keep your mind on the job. The cut and fit is spot on for racing and this is where the Alé makes up its marks; that and the fact that it can be rolled up and stuffed in a rear jersey pocket.
Breathable, light and packable race day jacket with okay waterproofing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alé Klimatik K-Racing Rain Jacket
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the jacket is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The K-Racing Jacket is designed to be worn when racing so it is cut close for aerodynamics while keeping you dry from both the rain and sweat.
Distributor Paligap says: "A lightweight, waterproof and 'race' fit long sleeve jacket."
It's not the best at keeping the rain out but it still does a decent enough job.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Bilaminated stretch medium weight fabric (140 gr/m2)
Highly water repellent fabric Water column 15.000 mm/h2o
Security Reflex for visibility
Not a stitch out of place, superbly finished.
Use the size guide as you'll need to size up; if you're usually a medium you'll need a large.
Just about light enough to be stored in a rear jersey pocket.
Really soft fabric against the skin.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A basic 30 degree wash and nothing else. The jacket has been washed plenty of times and is showing no ill effects.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well. I'd have preferred a little more in the way of waterproofing though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Not as waterproof as expected.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Alé Klimatik jacket is pretty good, especially when it comes to breathability and fit. It would have scored more but I wasn't exactly blown away with its waterproofing qualities considering the 15,000mm grading, plus I'd like a bit more colour for winter conditions.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!