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REVIEW

Race Face Conspiracy Wet Weather Line

Words Trevor Hansen
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Nov 25, 2021
Reading time

Is there a conspiracy behind the Conspiracy line? I couldn't figure out why Race Face came up with this name. All of the definitions imply harm, unlawfulness and secrecy. I asked Race Face PR and marketing man Matt Hornland what's with the name. This is what Matt said: Conspiracy – I mean, we get a little thesaurus happy over here, but the intent behind the name was that “Conspiracy allows you to plot your lines, no matter the weather.” Or, in other words, the Conspiracy is to keep you riding in all conditions. To what gain? Probably so that the bike industry can sell you more brake pads. From our perspective, however, the idea that you have to stop riding is the battle we want to fight against."

Now that is a conspiracy I can get behind. Though whenever all of these companies come up with their ride-in-all-conditions blurbs, I have to think about what trails can handle that kind of wear and tear. As a builder, rider, and holier than thou'r, I know what trails can be responsibly ridden based on the conditions but if we are arming everyone with the idea that with the right gear they can ride whenever they want, are we accounting for the types of trails that can handle that? Is this a conspiracy to sell more shovels? Just kidding, it's not the bike industry's responsibility to teach responsible wet weather riding...or is it?

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The Conspiracy jacket is a good value, comfortable, probably durable and most importantly waterproofish piece from Race Face.

I digress, because when the fall rains come it's wet for months and many of us are going to ride. We will just be selective in what we ride based on the conditions past and present. For these wet times, Race Face has scrapped their old Agent shorts, pants and jacket and come up with these pieces to replace them. I enjoyed my Agent shorts and pants a lot. I found the shorts weren't getting used ever since I began wearing pants any chance I got but the Agent pants were my go to on cold and or wet days and they worked well for the one season I had them. Since I received the Conspiracy gear I have been riding every ride I could in order to give them a good test run. Somedays I didn't wash or let them dry out enough so I had to use other gear but I logged 15 rides and 5 trail building days with the pants and jacket. I did two days with the shorts just to give them a go but it was too cold for my bones to ride them more (don't tell my Norwegian ancestors). I will try the shorts on wet days next spring. The gloves were used on 11 rides.

Conspiracy Jacket

The Conspiracy jacket is a lightweight packable waterproof jacket. When it was too hot to climb with the jacket, it packed up and fit in my low volume Hyperlite Versa hip bag. The jacket breathes well; I on the other hand do not. The 10k breathable waterproof material combined with the armpit openings (RF calls them gills, cuz well, they look like gills) allowed me to sweat my usual hot headed amount while still keeping most of the rain out. I say most because there was one day when I noticed wetness on the middle arm sections of my shirt. I had been building in the rain for two hours so I am assuming that the waterproofing did not work as well because of the duration in the rain. In order to test it, I needed to eliminate the sweat factor. I donned the jacket and pants and took a shower like never nude Tobias in Arrested Development. I put the pants over lounge pants and the jacket over a long sleeve shirt so I could see any water marks. After ten minutes (one can only suffer for science for so long) of showering the jacket and pants I thought there was going to be water on the underclothes because it sure felt like it was damp underneath. When I removed the jacket and pants I was surprised to see the underclothes were completely dry. The feelings I was getting when riding were just that, feelings, but no leaking from outside just sweat leaks from the inside.

The jacket's features are all well constructed. The waterpoof zippers are easy to use unlike others I have tried that get stuck easily. The elasticated cuffs are tight enough to enclose the wrists to keep the water out but not tight enough to restrict circulation or movement. The hood fits over my helmet very well. The only problem is there are no cinches so at high speeds or when it's windy, the hood gets blown off.

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Many seams have been taped.

Race Face lines the hood, cuffs and hem with an elasticated fabric. The seams are all taped with what looks like high quality material and application. The armpit openings, the gills, allow some extra breathability in that hot spot. The one inside pocket is alright for something like a lens cloth but I would not want to leave a key or phone that close to my chest. I would prefer a couple of pockets on the outside in the usual location but with pockets in the pants and hip bag I really don't need pockets at all.

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Conspiracy pants and shorts share the same material and features.

Race Face sizing is about half a size smaller than many manufacturers. A reverse of 7 Mesh which I find to be a half size bigger than most. I normally wear a large in jackets and tops but I found the Conspiracy jacket too tight in the chest and armpits. It's not a big deal when hands are on the bars but I would rather have zero restrictions. I tested the XL and it is definitely big and roomy but I like that. I have been testing upper body protection (after breaking my ribs for the fifth time in my bike career I just couldn't take it anymore) so the extra jacket space helped with that.

Race Face Conspiracy Jacket - 250 CAD

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I needed a break from my images so behold the model known as Gully. Photo: Race Face

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And the dude from the Race Face site showing the ample room for pads in the pants. Photo: Race Face

Conspiracy pants and shorts

The pants and shorts feel great when I put them on. The zipper/ratchet enclosure helps with the fit by making adjustments easy. For example, I wore them loose on the climbs and tight on the downs, accommodated with a few ratchet adjustments. After sweating in them I could tighten up the slack a little as well. In the pants there is plenty of room for all of my knee pads: low profile Race Face Indys to high profile plastic capped POCs. There is no binding inside the pant allowing for smooth pedalling motions during the ride. The shorts fan out at the knees to allow for all knee pad sizes as well.

The two pockets are generously sized and can fit a regular-sized phone comfortably. The waterproof zippers snug closed offering security for valuables like my car key. I normally wear a medium pant and short but the conspiracy to overthrow my expanded waistline made me upsize to a large. They are definitely roomy but I would rather have them a little big than a little small.

The taping is the same high quality as found on the jacket. As comfortable as the pants were at the start of the ride, during and after the ride they felt cold and clammy. The thin material doesn't insulate very well but that's not what it was designed for. On a couple of cold days I wore thin long underwear underneath and that solved the problem. In the legs. The cold and clammy feel in the seat area was an issue for me. I wasn't sure if it was a wet cold feeling from sweat or if the pants were not keeping all the trail splash out. The shower test was needed for the pants as well. As mentioned above in the jacket section, the pants were waterproof keeping all water away from my under clothes. I will try some warm B3NTH's next ride to see if that makes a difference. Or I could try Cam's method of wearing shorts over the pants...or not. I am very happy with the performance of the pants other than the cold clammy feeling I get on wet days below 10º C.

Conspiracy Pants - 230 CAD

Conspiracy Shorts - 200 CAD

Conspiracy gloves

Conspiracy gloves are made for cold and/or wet weather riding. They feature DWR coated waterproofing on the outer layer and a thermal lining on the inner layer. The index and middle finger have silicone grip to help with wet and cold brake levers. It is also has touch screen thread on the thumb for anyone who uses their thumbs to type. The cuff-wrist is a stretchy bonded material that is also waterproof. A velcro closure is added for more security from the elements. My one complaint would be the the wrist opening is too small. I guess I have a thing about getting my things into small cuffs like the the 7Mesh Glidepath pants I reviewed. I shouldn't have to struggle to get the gloves on but I do. Speaking of struggles. I do like these gloves for cold days. I struggle with the extra layers of material taking away the feel of my grips and contributing to arm pump. I have a thin pair of 100%'s that I like and even those give me the pumps. I think I will go with thinner grips for the winter to compensate; maybe that will help.

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Cold and wet weather gloves.

Another complaint (ok I have two) I have with winter gloves is that when I take them off and my hands are sweaty and/or wet it is very hard to get them back on as the inner layer tends to separate from the outer layer. I would think continuous stitching throughout the glove's entirety would solve that but I am no seamstress.

The gloves kept out the cold (one ride started at 3º C and my fingers were a bit cold for the first few minutes then they warmed up and stayed warm) and the wet. The only other brands I can reference for warm weather glove sizing are 100% and Dakine, and the fit is similar. Other than the struggle to get them on, I liked these gloves on the 11 sub 14º C rides I wore them.

Race Face Conspiracy Gloves - 65 CAD

Trevor Hansen

Age - 57

Height - 5'9"

Weight - 175lbs

Ape Index - 0.992

Inseam - 31"

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Bukwus

Bar Width - 780mm

Preferred Reach - 465-480mm

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Comments

Masacrejoe
0
Michael Klein  - Nov. 25, 2021, 5:12 a.m.

Funny how y'all keep talking about that big big hood. On my size small jacket, I can't fit a single one of my helmets inside the hood. I suspect that hoods are up/down-scaled with sizes, so as not to look too stupid, but I wish they would all just be big and flappy, so I didn't have to wear it underneeth my helmet. Only time, that is an advantage is on nightrides, when I have ligths on top. Otherwise I think the Conspiracy jacket is perfect. It's light, waterproof, resonably breathing and best of all; simple. The zipper might not be waterproof in itself (the flap behind takes care of that), but I presume it will last forever on the contrary to waterproof zippers that get stuck as soon as they see a little mud.

Reply

xy9ine
+2 Michael Klein Jerry Willows
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 25, 2021, 9:02 a.m.

i've got a medium jacket, and find the hood too small (or too short, to be accurate); will fit over the lid, but can't zip the jacket all the way as it lifts the jacket off my shoulders. maybe i've got a long neck / cranium? otherwise works fine as a minimalist, no frills shell. 

i do like the fit & function of the pants, though i agree they are clammy. i prefer a comfy pair of NF's for most (drier) conditions, but the RF's are great in the proper wet.

Reply

Masacrejoe
0
Michael Klein  - Nov. 27, 2021, 10:40 p.m.

You’re right it’s not the size but the length. It feels like you have the weight of the world on your head, if you zip the jacket all the way.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Nov. 25, 2021, 7:26 a.m.

I love my conspiracy jacket. Simple, waterproof, durable and breathable enough. Can confirm the hood on the size large is big, but it does fit well over helmets. I use the jacket for non-biking more that for biking, and I find it helps to wear a hat underneath the hood to keep from looking like a druid.

Reply

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 25, 2021, 8:17 a.m.

I'm always torn between breathability and waterproofness for MTBing. I currently lean towards breathability. That keeps me the most comfortable in most winter riding conditions. It also has the benefit of being cheaper and lighter/more compact.

It fails in real heavy rain, but I won't head out for a ride in a deluge and if a deluge hits while riding I will make my way back to the trailhead/home. I've got a flexible enough schedule I can still ride as much as my body can take most weeks and avoid the worst weather.

When I've gone the other way with a properly waterproof shell [that is in theory breathable to some degree] I end up uncomfortable more than I would be in a truly breathable shell, but when the SHTF I am happier. So it just depends what trade offs I want to make.

Reply

rnayel
+5 Pete Roggeman Vik Banerjee Niels Zero-cool kmag76
RNAYEL  - Nov. 25, 2021, 9:45 a.m.

...in this photo shoot Deniz makes Trevor look like he's a body double or stunt man for Harrison Ford in the next Indian Jones.

Reply

Tbone
+3 Pete Roggeman RNAYEL Graham Driedger
Trevor Hansen  - Nov. 25, 2021, 10:52 a.m.

I love you Rashid

Reply

LoamtoHome
+3 Pete Roggeman RNAYEL Niels
Jerry Willows  - Nov. 25, 2021, 11:10 a.m.

I was thinking more "The Terminator"

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Nov. 25, 2021, 12:51 p.m.

George Canyon... Lol.

Reply

Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Nov. 25, 2021, 12:53 p.m.

Oh ya! I'll take it.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Nov. 25, 2021, 10:02 a.m.

That sizing is a real issue - medium (I know, it is on the site listed at 30-32" ) was way too small for me even though I'm a medium in NF and many other manufacturers pants and the leg cuffs were minute as if they scaled everything down. Seems a strange choice but maybe someone with a more svelte waistline would automatically have the elfin ankles and feet required to fit through them

Great pants though - when I saw that there wasn't any visible beading like my Leatt DBX jacket was showing I really thought that I was going to start getting damp then wet. But no.

Reply

LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Nov. 25, 2021, 11:16 a.m.

I just have the jacket and really impressed with it.  It sheds away the water, breathable and price is good. 

I'm not a pant guy but the Agent shorts I have are less impressive as the zippers broke and hole in the seam in the butt.

Reply

Koloss
0
Koloss  - Nov. 25, 2021, 11:34 a.m.

I really like my Conspiracy jacket with the exception that the elbow patches started coming off with a 1/2 dozen rides.

Reply

Seb_Kemp
+2 Pete Roggeman Jerry Willows
Seb_Kemp  - Nov. 25, 2021, 12:10 p.m.

Just came here to say that Trevor Handsome could make a bin bag look good. 😘

Reply

Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Nov. 25, 2021, 12:54 p.m.

Sebaliscious I love you

Reply

Gully87
0
Gully87  - Nov. 25, 2021, 5:18 p.m.

Personally, i have been riding the RaceFace line all season and I'm extremely impressed with the Conspiracy line.

With all the wet and nasty weather we have in Vancouver, it is the perfect combination to get you out riding.

I'm 6' tall and run a Large jacket and 32" waist for Medium pants.

Definitely worth it.

Reply

mike-wallace
+1 Pete Roggeman
Mike Wallace  - Nov. 25, 2021, 9:51 p.m.

Same as Seb and a couple others.   I can’t get past the handsomeness.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 29, 2021, 3:20 p.m.

This is getting out of control. You all know T-Bone well enough to stop that head from growing any larger.

Reply

Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Nov. 29, 2021, 6:06 p.m.

Listen - if ever there was a swollen noggin: physical or more appropriately psychological...

Reply

1994canucks
0
Brett Watkins  - Nov. 26, 2021, 10:21 a.m.

Trevor Blue Steel Hanson

Reply

1994canucks
0
Brett Watkins  - Nov. 26, 2021, 10:21 a.m.

Trevor Blue Steel Hanson

Reply

xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 30, 2021, 9:03 a.m.

curious how everyone's DWR is holding up? 3 washes in & my pants & jacket are fully wetting out; no water shedding to be seen. breaking out the nikwax already. kinda disappointing.

Reply

Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Nov. 30, 2021, 4:39 p.m.

That seems like a warranty issue Perry. Over the course of the test and since my pants and jacket were washed a lot and they work the same as day one.

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