Keiu (Say Kay-u) means “welcome rain” in Japanese. I welcomed rain while wearing the Keiu jacket from Swrve. First to see if it was actually waterproof, and secondly because it is actually waterproof.
But more on that later. The first thing I noticed about the Keiu was the number of compliments on how it looks on me, with many folks grabbing my lapels or sleeves to feel the hand of the fabric. The Keiu is fancy. Fancy is not my jam necessarily, but I do like to take a compliment or two on occasion! Neutral in color, dark heather grey they call it, cut for cycling. The slim cut XL size fits me well while offering enough room for a light layer of down for cold times.
There are a nice selection of features… Removable hood, Napoleon-style chest pocket, long tail to cover your ass, hand warmer pockets, fleece around the neck for coziness and Velcro-adjustable cuffs. Zippered vents low enough to not interfere with a backpack. The zippers have a high-quality feel to them, although I need to report that the main zipper tended to get caught in the internal binding tape on the way up.
Anyway, the Keiu is pretty waterproof. 15k waterproof, which means that if you put a square tube with inner dimensions of 1×1” over a piece of this fabric, you could fill it with water to a height of 15,000 mm (32.8 feet) before water will leak through. This waterproofing is accentuated with seam-sealed construction in a modified-raglan design to keep water away from the seams. It’s also breathable to a level of 10k. This means that 10,000 grams of water can pass out through a square meter of the fabric in a 24 hour period. Not to get all tech on you, I just googled this stuff.
This is all fun and games though. The only garment that’s really, 100% waterproof is an impermeable rubber or plastic one like you see on fishing boats and school crossings and such. These types of garments are great for standing around in the rain but you will find yourself drenched in sweat as soon as you start exerting yourself. Hence the quest for waterproof, breathable fabrics. In practice, I found the Keiu pretty darn waterproof but not 100% breathable, as I did find myself slightly damp with my own internal moisture at times. But this fine. It is really more important that the jacket keeps the water out, right? I think this fits in well with the casual nature of my riding style, you see. If I was racing or into super heavy workouts this might be a different story.
I dig this jacket. Lots of nice little details, the right functionality, the right amount of waterproof and style on the street. $300 from https://swrve.us/ or one of their dealers.Tweet Print
Showers Pass has been producing rainwear for cyclists since 1997. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, they know a thing or two about staying comfortable in foul weather. New for 2015 are the Metro Jacket and Rogue Pant.
Photos by Emily Walley
Metro Jacket – $199
The Metro Jacket is an Artex 2.5-layer hardshell that’s lightweight and designed to pack a lot of performance on the bike while not looking too bike-geeky off the bike. For me, the fit is pretty trim; I’d say it runs a bit smaller than the sizing chart suggests. Definitely size up if you’d like to have room for insulating layers underneath, or if you’re between sizes. On the bright side, sleeve length is generous.
Two large vents take the place of traditional hand warmer pockets to provide abundant ventilation. Teamed with the “exhaust pipe” zippered vent at the base of the neck on the back of the jacket, there is quite a bit of torso airflow and adjustability. Unfortunately, the exhaust vent’s effectiveness decreases dramatically when wearing a backpack. Large, adjustable cuffs help tailor fit and adjust airflow through the arms, but I would still love to see some sort of underarm ventilation on this jacket as torso ventilation surpases that of the arms.
Waterproofness is excellent with no sign of the face fabric wetting through, and I’ll give the Metro decent marks for breathability as well—for a hardshell. There’s no way around it; if you’re operating at high exertion levels you will be sweaty under even the most “breathable” of hardshells.
Initially, I was a little confused by the Metro Jacket. The trim fit, elastic bottom hem, ventilation arrange and subsequent lack of handwarmer pockets point to the performance end of the spectrum. On the other hand, the subtle color palette and the name Metro imply a certain level of street cred. For me, the end result is a damn fine jacket that I’ll use mostly in performance settings; longer, more dedicated rides where weather protection and ventilation take top priority, both on and off road. For casual spins to the pub on a damp evening, I’d be more likely to spring for the similarly priced softshell Amsterdam Jacket instead.
Rogue Pant – $99
The Rogue Pant is a casual looking softshell trouser made with water resistant stretch fabric and finished with a DWR treatment to further enhance moisture resistance. The tightly woven face of the fabric blocks most of the breeze and a good bit of moisture, while a soft terry interior feels great next to skin. The Rogue pants are styled and fit like a pair of relaxed fit jeans, but offer a gusseted crotch to reduce seam irritation and facilitate movement on the bike. Fit seems to run a little on the large size. I’m normally a 33- to 34-inch waist and the 32-inch Rogue pant fit me comfortably. If you’re between sizes, you should be able step down a size without issue.
Subtle reflective cues increase visibility at night, including reflective chevrons printed inside the bottom of both pant legs that are revealed when you roll up the legs. A buttoned cinch strap is hidden in the hem of the pants to keep them out of your chainrings and to secure the pants when rolled up. There’s a hidden zippered pocket inside the right back pocket for secure storage, and a buttoned utility hook to fasten keys or the like to one of the right-hand belt loops. The only gripe I can muster revolves around the shallow front pockets. They’re a little small for today’s larger smartphones; a little more depth would increase security.
I’ve been looking for a pair of softshell pants like these for a while now because they’re so versatile through the fall, winter and spring. Wear them alone for cool days or layer underneath for comfort in much colder temps. The Rogue Pant’s combo of ample wind resistance and stellar breathability make for an incredibly comfortable pair of pants. I’ve worn them for everything from mountain biking, to rainy commutes home from work, to going out for a date-night drink. There are the rare product that delivers a casual aesthetic to blend in with most any situation, but offer the technical chops to keep you comfy in most any situation short of a heavy, sustained rain—they’re not designed to be waterproof after all. These pants are worth every penny of the $99 asking price. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.