Boncho // Review
The Boncho is one of those things that can only truly be appreciated if you ride your bike everywhere and live in a rainy climate. Part poncho, part tent this portable rain protection looks silly but keeps you dry on the go. It has a permanent place in my bike.
I first saw the Boncho as part of their Kickstarter campaign and knew we needed to try it out. It was designed in Amsterdam by the Dutch bike company VanMoof. VanMoof has a variety of bikes and bike accessories that make city biking easy and accessible.
What makes the Boncho different from an ordinary poncho is its ability to extend over the handlebars keeping your lower half dry while you pedal. It actually works quite well. Jeff gave it a try, since we did some testing while I was pregnant. He took on a rainstorm with only the Boncho and came home pretty dry.
I find it’s one of the only hoods that stays up over my head and the bill blocks the rain from falling in my eyes. The hood even stays up when I have my hair in a ponytail, something my coat hood struggles with.
The Boncho folds into a circle and slips into a case, making it easy to store in your bike. The webpage claims it can store in your pocket, but I think that is a bit far-fetched. It easily fits in my bike pannier though. I now keep it under the car seat attachment in the bike. It is one of the few things that fits easily in this otherwise unusable space.
You do have to get used to riding with the Boncho as it slips over the handlebars to keep you dry. It blocks your ability to see your gears and your bell, but after a few rides with the Boncho I hardly notice. I’m able to shift gears and throttle the motor on the electric wheel assist on the Bakfiets without an issue, even when I can’t see. Jeff said you must remain diligent while riding with the Boncho over your handlebars to ensure it doesn’t catch around turns. If you’re not paying attention, the Boncho can restrict your turn radius. But in a rainstorm, who’s not paying attention!
The only downside to the Boncho is having to walk around with it on when I get off the bike. I’m typically biking to a cafe or shopping and I look pretty silly when I’m not on the bike. Jeff doesn’t have this problem as he parks in a bike parking garage. He slips out of the Boncho in the garage and leaves it to dry in his office. The Boncho does come in some nice colors, so you can be a bit more discreet than us with the color we chose. We picked a bright color for added visibility during low-lighting conditions.
Overall I still find I’m better off with rain pants and my rain coat, however the Boncho is perfect for the pop-up storms we get here in the Netherlands. I love knowing it’s in my bike just in case. As fall turns to winter here I often have to choose between my rain coat and my winter coat. The Boncho fits easily over my winter coat, so I’m able to be warm and dry.
Oh and in a pinch the kids love using it as a pillow. Weird… but functional.