Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts review: the all-weather shorts are British winter proof

I'm slowly running out of excuses not to ride in the cold and rain

The Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts worn on a rider on a bike with snow in the background
(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Warm, comfortable and seriously good at keeping the worst of the weather away from your bottom half. The Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts will work wonders for motivating you to keep riding outside year-round

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Water and wind resistant

  • +

    Warmer than regular hardshell waterproof trousers

  • +

    Breathable with no condensation build up in the lining

  • +

    Fantastic fitting and very comfortable on and off bike

  • +

    Roomy front pockets

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Tricky to access pockets on the move

  • -

    Side zips require corresponding cargo shorts underneath

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The Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof Shorts have become the latest piece in my cycling arsenal and I can no longer claim foul weather for keeping me off the bike.

Ever since I started to ride more gravel and off-road I've taken to donning a pair of baggies over my roadie Lycra, but that's more to try and disguise my heritage more than anything. I've never owned any of the best women's gravel bike kit, so haven't really felt much of a benefit. Until now.   

Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts: Construction

The Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts have been designed with the demands of all-weather riding at the core. The perk of being a mountain wear brand is that it truly does understand the concept of all-weather. 

With that in mind, the Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts are constructed out of proprietary Proflex fabric - a fabric which was originally developed for the demands of mountaineering. 

The brand says as well as being highly breathable and protective, it's also stretchy. Designed with all-day wear in mind, the Proflex fabric has been specifically constructed using soft and comfortable softshell which is then teamed with a flexible membrane claiming a waterproof rating of 10,000mm and a breathability level in excess of 35,000cc/m²/24hrs.

To put that in perspective most of the best waterproof cycling jackets will come with a similar waterproof rating and breathability of 10,000cc/m²/24hrs. So these Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts even give many of the top jackets a good run for their money in the performance stats stakes. 

The Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts seen on a rider from the front with the fastening details on display in front of a bike leaning against a farm gate on snowy ground

(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)

The shorts come with a twin button and zip closure system, along with an elastic pull to refine the waist size once on the bike. 

A generously sized zip pocket is positioned on each upper thigh, with zip access points allowing access to your cargo short pockets underneath - should you have them. 

The cut of the Rab Cinder Kinetic shorts is longer than your average baggies, so that when on the bike - depending on the length of you femur - they finish at just above your knee.   

One of the things that most impresses me about Rab is its commitment to tackling greenwashing within the cycling industry and its commitment to true sustainability - being as transparent as possible along the way.

Not only are the shorts fluorocarbon free, but the full breakdown of the shorts fabric data is available on the Rab's website

The Rab Cinder Kinetic Waterproof shorts on a rider with an orange jacket about to head out in to the snow

(Image credit: Hannah Bussey)

Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts: The Ride

As a brand which has its headquarters on the other side of the Pennines from me, the design team clearly understand that the term 'all-weather', can in fact also refer to most winter rides in the Peak District - where it is possible to experience all four seasons in one day. 

Since the weather turned foul in late November last year, I've been wearing the Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts on every ride, and it really is helping me find my riding mojo to falling back in love with cycling as their performance is severely curtailing my excuses not to head out on the bike.  

The overall fit is perfect. I've especially appreciated the tailored back of the shorts, which are finished higher on the waist to provide protection for my lower back. The legs are also tailored for articulation which prevents any uncomfortable fabric gathering at the back of the knee. 

Same goes for the crotch area. Rab has managed to strike the balance of loose enough to get decent shorts / tights underneath without restriction - but not too loose so as to get caught on the saddle.    

Having the whole of my thighs protected in wind and waterproof fabric is a game changer. I've been donning these with a pair of Rapha Women's Pro Team Winter bib tights on the days that hover around zero degrees Celsius. Caught in a wintery squalls, the over-shorts have battled tremendously - my bib tights have been pretty much still dry once I've got home and de-robed.

The pockets are voluminous. Spacious enough for a large iPhone in a case, and still allow freedom of leg movement. However, as the opening is in a traditional civvy-wear trouser location, it is nigh on impossible to access when pedalling. 

There is a temptation to always want to use the side openings for access pockets instead, but without matching cargo undershorts they are defunct - and you only post your phone though the slot on to the floor once to remember that there is no useful inbuilt lower pocket.   

After a few months wear in grim conditions they aren't even showing slight wear. After my factory visit, I have become more cautious about washing after every ride, preferring to just dry them off between some rides. As such, they haven't lost any waterproofing capabilities two months in.  


Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts: Value and conclusion

The only real problem is with kit this good is that there are no more excuses not to ride. I'm significantly warmer and dryer with the Rab Cinder Kinetic waterproof shorts than I was previously riding gravel/ off road. 

They do add a weight gain of 208g (UK size 10) to your riding clobber, but when you factor in all the potential additional water weight they do a grand job of repelling, it really is a marginal penalty. 

For a pair of over-shorts the £160 (prices TBC for USA) may seem a little steep. However, with my only grip being the need slightly more accessible pockets these are more or less my perfect riding companion and that is worth every penny.   

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