Quality cycling gear can make all the difference when you know you’ve got a wet ride ahead – but sadly it doesn’t always stay waterproof on its own.
Most waterproof cycling gear is treated with a durable water repellant (DWR) finish. This acts as the first line of defense, preventing the worst of the water getting through to the next layer – which is usually a breathable, waterproof membrane.
From time to time, the DWR finish needs replenishing. If you don’t do this, it will no longer do its job, letting excess water through and putting more demand on the inner layer than intended. This then reduces effectiveness, and breathability as the membrane becomes clogged. In short: you get more wet, via sweat and rain.
How often should you refresh DWR finish?
The frequency of your refresh depends upon use – so the best way to determine if your clothing needs some attention is to test it.
An effective DWR finish will be visible when you sprinkle water onto the surface of the garment. If the water forms those lovely little beads that reviewers like to photograph, and then rolls off – you’re all good. However, if the water stays on the surface and soaks through, represented by the fabric darkening, it’s time to refresh.
Here’s our example – Editor Michelle has been mega lazy and hasn’t re-treated her (very effective and high quality) Castelli Gabba for a year, and the Vulpine jacket is brand new. The Castelli, which a year ago beaded water beautifully, is no longer up to scratch…
A word of caution: We do mean sprinkle, or shower. If you dump an entire cup of water on the jacket, it probably won’t be too effective.