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Rainlegs wind and waterproof leg covers are a quirky, yet surprisingly effective solutions to the problem of keeping the upper legs dry during those unpredictable spring showers without resorting to full-blown over-trousers.
Arguably best suited to short-ish commutes aboard well-dressed tourers and hybrids, their open backed apron design isn't much cop on pared to the essentials road/fixers since trouser backs, not to mention posteriors can still get a soaking and a bit of care's needed when performing double-quick dismounts in slow moving traffic. That said, they pack down remarkably small, weigh next to nothing and don't flatter noisily in the breeze like a builder's tarpaulin.
In a word association game the phrase 'Multi activity' gets the response 'compromise' from me but such is the simplicity of the design that compromises are kept to a minimum despite having horse-riders and walkers among their target audience. Supposedly made from a proofed nylon common to parachutes, they've a texture comparable with better quality race capes. Our samples were good old-fashioned goes-with-anything black but there's a choice of grey, fluorescent yellow, white, 'pure' white (which is transparent in my book) and camouflage for true urban warriors. Sizes range from extra small to extra large but getting this bang-on is crucial for comfort and turning a decent cadence. Large were perfect for my thirty-three inch inseam and I met a rider who said medium were fine for her 5'7 frame but since some of us will have proportionally longer/shorter thighs, its worth trying a set or two for size first.
They're ready for duty in 30 seconds flat-straight from their dedicated belt-mount pouch but no matter how polished your snatch and throw wind/rain jacket technique, this isn't the sort of manoeuvre to be practiced on the fly. A series of elasticated adjustable ties hold everything in situ at the waist, thigh and just below the articulated knees. Thoughtfully, these incorporate reflective piping, which seems really visible at moderate (town typical) cadences between 60 and 85rpm.
Predictably, they've laughed at squally showers and stiff March winds, rain simply beads and rolls harmlessly to asphalt, denim and similar cotton trousers remaining bone dry. Pairing them with 3/4lengths can, result in wet feet since water has a tendency to drip from the bottoms and sneak past the tongue bellows of street styled sneakers. Replicating these conditions aboard my Il Pompino confirmed steady cadences of 90-odd rpm are easily and comfortably sustainable-even on moderate 15 mile commutes. However, clammy sensations crept in after about an hour, which might prove very unwelcome on a mild, wet summer tour.
Surprisingly effective and extremely portable weather protection best suited to shorter distances and bikes with full-length mudguards.
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Make and model: Rainlegs Wind and waterproof leg covers
Size tested: Black, Large
Tell us what the product 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?
"Rainlegs - raintrousers - protect the upper legs against rain, wind and the cold. The product has been manufactured from wind- and waterproof (5000 mbar) ripstop nylon and weighs only 140 grams. These "raintrousers" are open on the back of the legs, so that no condensation can take place and clothes will stay dry. "Less is more" and "more is less".
Exhaustive tests to ascertain this have been carried out by bike couriers and by independent organisations. Many participants in outdoor sporting events like bikeriders, runners, rowers and Nordic walkers have expressed their satisfaction with this simple but great raintrousers".
Generally agree but works best over shorter distances and riding bikes with full-length guards.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Manufactured from wind- and waterproof (5000 mbar) ripstop nylon
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The rain-legs are a quirky but extremely effective foldaway design that keeps trousers and tights dry through short, sharp showers be it on a five mile dash to the office, or mid tour. However,they can feel clammy for longer periods and at higher cadences.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Meet their design brief admirably, versatile and fold very compactly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given their intended purpose, although care is needed to avoid snagging them on the saddle's nose when dismounting quickly.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly for short commutes or mid ride/tour emergencies when I've forgotten more traditional rainwear.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the above context.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)