A while ago I backed a Kickstarter project for an unusual raincape called the Boncho. The original delivery date was March 2016, but delivery was somewhat delayed (par for the course for Kickstarter projects). My Boncho arrived last week. Here are a couple of unboxing pictures.
The Boncho weighs 422 g (size medium).
Here is a comparison with the Cleverhood rain cape.
The main feature of the Boncho is that there is an embedded wire loop that keeps the front of the poncho semi rigid over the handlebars. However, you can see that the coverage is considerably less than the Cleverhood, especially to the sides.
Here is a picture on the bike.
Again with the helmet.
It is useful to compare this with the Impac raincape, which has considerably less coverage
or the Cleverhood.
So the Boncho is between the Impac and the Cleverhood.
Here is the comparison of the packed sizes.
Here is a view of the Boncho hood, with some adjustment cords, and a water resistant zipper, and some reflective trim.
The hood barely fits over my helmet, but then the zipper won’t close.
Here is the back of the wire loop, showing the straps that you can use to hold onto the poncho.
I rode with the Boncho in the rain for the first time today. It did a good job of keeping me dry. Also, I can see some advantages to the wire loop stiffener. It holds the front edge of the poncho forward enough that my lower legs were fractionally drier. Also, it was very easy to reposition the poncho when I used one hand to do a hand signal. Finally, it also avoids the puddle between the arms that can accumulate with any other poncho.
However, the downside to the Boncho was that the frontal area is huge, and extends to the sides much wider than the handlebars, so if you are concerned about aerodynamic drag, this is not a good choice for you.
What is the alternative? The Impac rain cape is lighter, but the coverage is minimal to the sides. The Cleverhood gives the best coverage, but it is heavy and relatively expensive. However, I recently discovered that Cleverhood has come up with a much less expensive option called the Cleverlite raincape. The Cleverlite does not have the bells and whistles of the Cleverhood, in particular the very handy pass thru slits for your hands that have magnetic closures. However it is less than half the price, and it is still sewn in the US.
Here is a comparison of the coverage of the Cleverlite and the Cleverhood.
The same amount of coverage front to back, and only a little less to the sides.
Here is a flash photo of the back, which highlights the reflective trim. (The Cleverhood electric houndstooth still looks awesome.)
The Cleverlite weighs 210 grams.
If you roll it up, it packs pretty small, smaller than a Marmot Super Mika rain jacket (typical for an ultralight rain jacket) but bigger than the Impac rain cape.
My preference for a rain cape is that it packs small. At the same time, the coverage of the Impac rain cape is marginal in windy conditions. The Cleverlite offers the best balance of packability and coverage at a very reasonable price point. The Impac is still a good option to stash in a saddle bag to “just in case” if I’m not sure that it will rain.
|Cleverlite||210||$99 (on sale for $79)||US|
|Impac (Cape Scott)||104||$50 CDN||China|
A few other notes:
- Impac makes a heavier rain cape that provides more coverage and has a transparent window for a headlamp beam. I have no experience with this.
- No rain cape will work well without full coverage fenders.
- The Cleverlite raincape was provided by Cleverhood for this review.
Update: if anyone wants the Boncho (size M, yellow) it’s yours for $50 CDN plus shipping, Toronto customer strongly preferred.
Also, if you are in Toronto, the Cleverlite is now carried by the Spacing Store for $99 CDN which seems like a screaming good deal to me.
My previous posts on rain capes: