Rab are one of the ﬁrst companies to bring to market a jacket made from a new fabric called NeoShell. Made by Polartec it’s hyped as being the most breathable, windproof and waterproof stretch fabric in the world.
While not cut speciﬁcally for mountain biking, the Stretch Neo works well for trail riders looking for total deluge protection. The sleeves are long enough and the body is cut close for a low-ﬂap rating, though it’s not racy tight.
The key attribute isn’t the water or windprooﬁng, it’s the fabric’s ability to move sweat vapour. It works best when you’re not wearing masses of layers; a base layer and jersey was ﬁne. We found it reduced the onset of boil-in-the-bag cyclist by about half over our favourite GoreTex jackets.
We still managed to get it to feel sweaty but it took more climbing to get there. While this isn’t a scientiﬁc test, we ride a lot in all weathers and know where our existing jackets begin to suffer. It’s certainly not cheap, but the Rab with its NeoShell fabric is better.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.