Rab's Cinder Ridgeline jacket is an ideal jacket for gravel riding when the weather is cool and is doing its changeable best. The windproof front is extremely effective as is the overall level of breathability. The pockets are a good size and easily reached and the dropped tail stays put. The Cinder Ridgeline is definitely up there with the best windproof cycling jackets on the market.
- Best waterproof mountain bike and gravel jackets
- Best gravel bike shoes 2022
- Best gravel wheelsets 2023 - fast and furious off-road wheels
Rab Cinder Ridgeline Jacket - Technical specifications
The jacket is made from a combination of fabrics. The outer wind-resistant front panel and front of arms and tops of shoulders are made from Pertex Quantum Air. A clever hybrid fabric designed to adapt as the weather and your body output change; being part wind resistant and part insulating and highly breathable.
Helping to maintain that comfortable environment is Rab’s Motive S-Cafe fabric on the back of the Pertex Quantum air fabric which, as the name implies, has something to do with coffee. We’ve seen coffee brewing extract used before in cycle clothing from the likes of Vaude but here Rab is using it bonded onto the actual yarn to help attract moisture away from the body as well as dry faster and, as an added bonus, provide an improved level of odour management.
The remainder of the jacket is made from a stretchy grid-back fleece material called Thermic G, which is designed to aid breathability and follow your body contours as closely as possible
The jacket features a mid-height collar with a protective zip garage to prevent neck irritation from the YKK full-length zip. The zip itself has a slim zip guard behind it to stop any unwanted drafts from getting through.
The rear of the jack has three pockets. The centre one is water-resistant with a security zip and two traditional side pockets.
The tail of the jacket is heavily dropped to keep your lower back warm and protected. It has an elasticated hem with plenty of stretch to help hold it in place and there is some added silicone detailing on the inside to help in this. The cuffs are elasticated but not adjustable.
The Cinder Ridgeline jacket costs £150 and is available in five sizes and three colours for men; Grey, Khaki green, and Orion Blue (which we have here) and five sizes and two colours for women Orion Blur or Orange.
Rab Cinder Ridgeline Jacket - Performance
My test jacket was a medium (I have a 39in chest, a 34in waist and am six feet tall). The fit is very good with just one exception, as the sleeves are a little too short for me. Realistically, I could have done with a few more cm of length here. Technically, I am between the Medium and Large sizes for some of the measurements on the size guide but I definitely did not want an extra three inches of fabric around my chest so Medium it was and the waist was perfect.
I am aware that I have longer than average arms so this tends to be an issue for me with some brands and is comparable with the GRVL 3 Season jacket I reviewed recently although the Ridgeline came up a little shorter. It would be nice if someone offered a ‘long’ version one day or just added a bit more which would be easy to slide up your arm a little.
Sleeve length aside, the remainder of the fit is spot on for gravel riding in that it’s close fitting but not roadie-tight. It’s close across my chest and round waist but not tight. The low-dropped rear, which looks a little too long off the bike. is perfect when riding and that silicone Cinder logo and elasticated hem meant that it never rode up during my rides.
The last three months have delivered some extremely varied weather patterns from cold and very windy (and wet) to hot and dry and pretty much everything in-between. If we ignore hot weather where this jacket is not a natural partner, I’ve found the Cinder Ridgeline to be a very good riding partner over this testing period. Its wind-resistant properties and its ability to move your body heat and moisture through the fabric without soaking you have been heavily tested and it has come up trumps time and time again
As an outer layer on bitterly cold blustery days with just a mesh base layer and merino short sleeve jersey, the Ridgeline proved to be spot on blocking the icy cold northeasterly winds. The Pertex Quantum Air fabric on the front and the overall close-fitted nature of this top worked extremely well at preventing icy air from getting through and chilling my core. The soft close fitting collar provides a decent seal against the wind even without a buff.
There was no danger of overheating in these cold temperature rides with this setup and I didn't notice any dampness on the front or back of my Merino jersey so any extra heat I produced was effectively moved through the fabric to keep me at a very comfortable temperature.
On 5 am starts during hotter days when there is still a chill in the air, this has become my go-to top with the Pertex Quantum Air fabric easily fending off single-digit temps, morning mist, and heavy dew-laden foliage. As it got warmer the Ridgeline really comes into its own by expelling excess body heat via that clever Motive S-Cafe fabric and Thermic G fleece material across your back and you find yourself questioning how long into the morning you can continue wearing it.
The answer appears to be until the mid- to high teens depending on your underlayers and even then you can of course go for unzipping it first which in our changeable climate is definitely a sensible first option.
Used as an underlayer to a jacket like Rab’s own Downpour or Endura GV500 Waterproof its close fit is a layering advantage and it works well moving moisture through to the outer shell. How well this setup works depends a lot more on your chosen outer shell and its breathability not that of the Ridgeline. Luckily I have not spent much time using this jacket in this situation preferring to let it get a little wet if the shower looks light, and then let it do its magic, drying fast and keeping you comfortable whilst it does it.
In terms of features, the Cinder Ridgeline jacket only offers three rear pockets but they are well thought out, the outer two rear pockets have slightly drop-angled openings which make it super easy to reach back there to put stuff in or take stuff out of them. Definitely a contender for the easiest-to-access pockets in my wardrobe.
The centre pocket is made from Pertex Quantum Air fabric which is as weather resistant as it is on the front of the jacket and, as an added bonus, I can confidently say that it is also pretty latex resistant and that after a particularly aggressive flint left a spray of the stuff everywhere, a standard 30-degree wash left almost no trace of it. What was left, rubbed off after it was dry. That is a great result.
As well as being latex resistant it's also water resistant so a good place to put your phone although it's not a waterproof pocket. It comfortably takes my 170mm long smartphone but much bigger than that could be an issue.
The zip has a small knotted pull tag attached and is super easy to do up and doesn’t snag on the zip guard and slides into its zip garage at the neck without pressing on your Adam's apple area. There are small night-time reflective patches on the tops of the front of the shoulders and a single logo flash on the rear of the centre pocket. It is very minimalist and I would have liked to have seen slighter larger patches but they are at least there.
The Cinder Ridgeline Jacket is well made with the two main fabrics neatly flatlock stitched together throughout. The Pertext Quantum Air fabric is tougher than expected and shows only the slightest pull on one upper arm after many a bramble swipe. While there are a couple of loose ends starting to show on the inside of both the elasticated cuffs the remainder of the jacket shows very little wear at all.
Rab Cinder Ridgeline Jacket - Value and verdict
The £150 Cinder Ridgeline weighs 285g so just under the claimed weight of 287g which is good for an adaptable jacket. In terms of competitors, we have the similar £145 Pearson Test Your Mettle Road Cycling Insulated jacket which is a windproofed fleece in a more road-based cut that should work well for gravel, 7Mesh’s £170 Chilco Anorak with its pullover style design offering wind and weather resistance from its high tech WTV fabric and the GRVL 3 season jacket I recently reviewed which while a little more of an outer layer cover many of the same areas at £185.
The Cinder Ridgeline Jacket is a really soft and comfortable jacket for use in changeable weather conditions due to its clever adaptive fabric which is both windproof and super breathable keeping you at the perfect temperature for a wide range of conditions. Only the slightly short sleeves blot the excellent score sheet and that might just be me. The close fit and dropped tail are ideal for gravel riders as are the three well-placed pockets and its ability to shed dirt and dry fast if you do get wet. An excellent well-thought-out hybrid jacket.