Showerspass Syncline Jacket NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Showers Pass Syncline CC Jacket

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jan 9, 2020
Reading time

VS Garbage Bags

What the hell, Showers Pass?! Suck me in with a couple of great experiences and then when I hear "Showers Pass" and "rain jacket" in the same sentence I'm all in on a 135 USD jacket that turns out to be less flexible than a tarp and about as breathable as doubled-up garbage bags with armpit holes. Not to mention it's a size large that's short enough to be a medium and voluminous enough to layer a trio of bad Christmas sweaters beneath. My one regret in this review process - other than the times I had to wear this jacket - is that the pictures of me pouring out the sweat that accumulated in the elbows climbing a gravel road at 5°C didn't turn out.

We all know that part of what makes expensive boutique jackets expensive is the heavily R&D'd super fabrics that flex, breathe, and keep water out, but if you can't deliver some level of stretch and a decent cut at this price then don't make the jacket. Just don't. Also, seriously folks, the rest of your jacket models have hoods that fit over helmets so obviously you understand that this is a desirable feature in a cycling jacket‽

Riders on a budget need their helmets to fit properly too.

Showerspass Syncline Jacket NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Showers Pass Crosspoint socks and Rainslinger hip pack are products that make me smile. The Syncline jacket, on the other hand, has me literally stewing.

Dear reader, I'm not telling you to jump straight over to I get mountain biking on a budget. But, if we're talking cycling shells, my money, I'm choosing soaked-with-rain every time over a hot sauna in my own tequila-infused fluids. Breathability Wins Every Day, which is why I can be found riding in a weatherproof vest for conditions less than an absolute downpour. Put another way, a Helly Hansen survival suit is waterproof as f*** but you won't catch me riding a bicycle in one.

Hitting specifically at the Syncline, on my first ride in a decent deluge I thought the jacket was leaking through my right shoulder in the way a worn-out rain jacket can when wearing a backpack.* My baselayer was drenched but on further inspection, the jacket wasn't permeable (in either direction). Yep, it appears my sweat glands just work better on one side than the other?! Something I definitely wouldn't be aware of without having suffered through this review.

*I was wearing a bum-bag so that wasn't the issue here.

Showerspass Syncline Jacket NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

Cycling jackets should have hoods that fit over helmets or no hoods at all. Folks on a budget need their helmet to fit properly, too. In a real storm, this thing just hangs out and fills up with water.

Showerspass Syncline Jacket NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Every other Showers Pass jacket using this 'Artex 2.5 layer' material has humongous vents for a good reason. I still wouldn't wear a tabard made from this stuff.

Positives? Well, with the vents and pockets zipped up and a few solid layers underneath the Syncline wouldn't be totally awful for sitting around in a boat drinking beer and fishing in the rain. The hood does fit over a ballcap. Personally, I'd choose a 40 USD PVC jacket for that application.

For mountain biking? A 400+ USD Gore-Tex or NeoShell jacket is an amazing luxury for the year-round rider and yes that's a sh*t tonne of money to crash in, and yes they're very patchable, and yes there's a middle ground that's certainly worth stretching to. It's still notably more money than the SynclineCC, but I regularly wear the brilliant Race Face Conspiracy jacket I tested last year, which sold for 200 USD, and in comparison it's an amazing piece of breathable, ventilated and stretchy kit that's great to ride in.

Give me the choice between the Showers Pass Syncline and a hooded cotton sweat sweatshirt on a wet Raincouver day in the trees and I'll take the sweatshirt, thanks. Yeah, but is it waterproof? How the hell should I know. I was soaked through with sweat every time I pedaled in it. Showers Pass currently has them on sale for 105 USD | 132 CAD, with free shipping, but this isn't a jacket I'll wear on the trails again at half that price.

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+5 Andrew Major taprider Pete Roggeman Etacata Dan
Rob Gretchen  - Jan. 9, 2020, 6:13 a.m.

Its rare to see you in a cranky mood about a product Andrew.... I got a good laugh this morning...


+5 Rob Gretchen taprider AJ Barlas Etacata Dan
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 7:07 a.m.

Cheers Rob,

I don’t know if there simply isn’t that much stuff that truly sucks anymore?! Or maybe at least if there is companies don’t send it in to get reviewed?! Maybe I’ve just done a good job in the past of curating review product with a good performance/$ ratio?

This one was a shock. It’s rare that there’s no context where I can see a product being used. Testing it made riding a bike feel like going to work to the extent that when it came time to write about it felt like Showers Pass was getting a 2:1 deal on a gear review.

Anyways, hopefully that’s the one dud of the year. Life’s too short to ride sh*t bikes and crap gear.

Happy New Year!


+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Jan. 9, 2020, 7:08 a.m.

Yes.. I echo your sentiment.    Happy New Year to you too!!


+3 DanL Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
OldManBike  - Jan. 9, 2020, 8:18 a.m.

See, I always knew you guys were just hacks who wrote puff pieces to juice ad sales and land marketing-flack gigs.


+4 OldManBike Timer Etacata Dan
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 9 a.m.

Ha! Yeah, my general employability in the greater bike industry has certainly trended consistently in the wrong direction these last few years. But heck, if you can’t say something nice then (attempt to) say something funny!


+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Timer
jdt  - Jan. 9, 2020, 9:28 a.m.

Ruthless!........but so awesome and honest. These are the reviews we need.


+1 Etacata
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:15 a.m.

Thanks! But to be fair (to me) I like to think I bring a similar standard of truthfulness to the products I like as well. Maybe not quite the same rolling sardonicism though which is something I’ll have to consider from the perspective of an entertaining read.


+2 Andrew Major taprider
IslandLife  - Jan. 9, 2020, 10:24 a.m.

In this day in age of being truly spoiled for choice with amazing products released weekly... this thing seems straight out of 2001.  After wearing this thing, seems you would definitely not pass on a shower.


+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:12 a.m.

Back in the early 00’s I regularly wore a Core Rat Cordura vest in anything light of a deluge because every rain shell I tried was so awful. So yeah, agreed.


+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Jan. 9, 2020, 12:10 p.m.

Sick!!   I still have a CoreRat jacket and vest in my tickle trunk amid an array of overpriced modern clothing.... need to dust those off for nostalgia.... :-)


Andrew Major  - Jan. 9, 2020, 12:48 p.m.

I actually managed to wear mine out. It was so soft, silky, flexible, and light in the last years before it wore through that I was wearing it constantly. I hold out hope that one of my friends who has one in their closet (I know who you are!) will need to make some space and BOOM! I'll be back in the CoreRat vest. Although, I recognize it will take hundreds of hours to break it in so that it matches where mine was at.


muddylaces  - Jan. 19, 2020, 9:23 a.m.

I’ve got a Roach Indy jacket hanging in my garage looking for a new home. Orange with the zip off sleeves, size XL (which, for a vest, might work just fine depending on how tall you are). Let me know if you’re interested. 

In fact, I still have my Roach leg armour and Indy shorts too.


+2 IslandLife Andrew Major
AJ Barlas  - Jan. 9, 2020, 3:15 p.m.

It sounds like my $90 MEC Rain shell from 2003. It stopped water getting in, really well, but on because it was essentially a fancy plastic bag. I'd lose litres of fluid wearing that atrocity.


+4 Cam McRae Andrew Major twk Pete Roggeman
Perry Schebel  - Jan. 9, 2020, 6:08 p.m.

see, if they were smart, they'd market water weight loss as a feature, rather than a flaw. like a sauna suit.


+1 twk
fartymarty  - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:11 p.m.

Sounds like my £9 Decathlon waterproof trousers.  Cheap and cheerful and keep me clean.  Cut them off below the knee and they make a reasonable waterproof short.


Timer  - Jan. 10, 2020, 4:31 a.m.

Funny, because last year I found a Berghaus rain jacket that I thought I had lost. Must be from 2003 or so.  I wore it quite a bit this year, sometimes in heavy rain and it performed very well. The gore tex inside seems to be no different from the one in my modern jacket.

Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 13, 2020, 7:35 a.m.

Just because I'm about to press play on a 2-minute expert about Gore-Tex, I have to be that guy and point out that what you see on the inside of any jacket is not the membrane. The membrane is protected inside a sandwich. What you see is a liner, which makes up the bottom bread part of that sandwich. The magic that is gore-tex is hidden away from prying eyes.


Andrew Major  - Jan. 13, 2020, 1:11 p.m.

That's actually the major issue with my favourite weatherproof/breathable material to ride in (Polartec Neoshell). Where Gore jackets seem to last ~ forever, the membrane layer of the Polartec jackets breakdown so that they look perfectly fine inside and out but stop being waterproof at all (no, not just in need of a DWR wash/spray). Gore Active ends up being a significantly better long term investment if the jacket is going to see a lot of use, even though it's a magnitude less breathable.


+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - Jan. 9, 2020, 1:20 p.m.

Keep your eye out for deals on the higher priced Gore-Tex offerings.  My wife just picked up a 7Mesh Revelation jacket for $212 CDN on one of the Canadian clearance sites.

Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 9, 2020, 2:07 p.m.

'tis the season for deals, indeed.


Jitensha Kun  - Jan. 10, 2020, 8:29 a.m.

Most honest review of 2020 right here!


RNAYEL  - Jan. 10, 2020, 11:38 p.m.

Andrew, I picked up a Dianese Atmo-lite 3L Jacket during their Black Friday sale for $70US. Amazing.  I’ll admit the watch window is useless. Otherwise breath ability and waterproofedness rate high.

Dave reviewed it in 2016

If you shop the sales, there is no reason that you can’t get a good jacket from a few seasons ago for an affordable price.


Andrew Major  - Jan. 11, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

There’s often deals to be had, hence why I deal with MAP/SRP pricing in articles to try and have some level of apples vs apples pricing comparable. 

I’m very particular about jackets. The Race Face Conspiracy was a surprise hit I wear all the time but usually, for how much I ride in adverse weather, a jacket is a product I’m willing to invest more in to get the right material. For comfort, I’m a huge believer in Polartec Neoshell for its unparalleled breathability but it’s nowhere near as resilient as GoreTex. 

Generally when I’m talking jackets with friends, if they can stretch the budget, I suggest finding a GoreTex Active jacket that fits well (whatever brand) and never looking back. Same goes for sale-season hunting. I know a couple people who picked up gen-1 7Mesh Guardians for a song and that’s a great piece of kit - just not relative comparing MAP to MAP.

My Gore vest started life as a Gore jacket (early gen of Gore Active material) and has been washed hundreds of times over 10+ years and it’s still awesome. That’s the gold standard.


Also, that Dainese jacket scores an instant fail for the under-helmet hood.


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