I’ve used a couple of face masks in the past to try and protect myself when cycling to work. The Respro Cinqro is the first one I’ve actually been able to get on with long term!
Respro Cinqro Mask Review: Cycling with an air filter
The Respro Cinqro mask is one of more sports orientated masks from the UK based pollution mask manufacturer. To the degree that the Respro Cinqro really is aimed not merely at commuters but squarely at athletes for whom their lives are fitted around their coaches orders, not the other way round. Athletes who normally shrug at air pollution warning and will still head out to adhere to their training plans.
When it comes to pollution, I’m actually quite lucky. I live right on the edge of a housing estate, coming out to the main road I’ve about 70 meters and then I’m in fields. Now that might sound like a bit of a useless comment, talking about a city pollution mask, but it is designed to highlight that not all use cases of face masks are immediately apparent:
I don’t need a mask to go running myself, but I am aware of friends who have used Respro masks in the past to allow them to go running in the summer whilst minimising the effect of the pollen. You might ask in such cases why not used save some money and buy
The problem there is industrial masks are made for a specific job. Filtering dust and chemicals at a low of exertion. If you add in a run, or a cycle, suddenly design limitations of cheaper masks become apparent. The air inflow
You see I’ve used a couple of “sports masks” in the past from 3M, and then a cheap one from Decathlon, a previous Respro Techno mask, and even a Cambridge Mask Company mask. Each mask got used for a couple of weeks at the most, as they were fatally flawed for me. Early morning I’d cycle to work, and before the end of the first hill, I’d have my glasses steamed up, not able to see a thing. Whilst a filter mask might be good for your long term health, it doesn’t matter if you’ve crashed and died due to the mask is stopping you seeing what is in front of you!!!
As I say, previously I’d stopped using breathing masks. So let me tell you why I’ve been converted to using the Respro Cinqro mask to cycle into work
Respro Cinqro Mask Review: Device Design
Actually, before we get into the story of using the Cinqro Mask, let’s have a look at what we get for our money
In the box, we have the Respro Cinqro Mask, a separate Hepa-Type & DACC filter and a fitted Hepa-Type particle filter
The Hepa-Type particle filter which is optimized for fine, sub-micron dust whereas the combination Hepa-Type & DACC filter, designed to filter gaseous pollution from cars and other vehicles. I haven’t particularly noticed a significant impact on my breathing using the combi filter. Given that is does more than the single, I’m not sure why Respro
I’me very pro companies educating their customers and a good proportion of the packaging is given over the explaining about the differences between gaseous and particulate pollution
The Respro Cinqro comes in three sizes: M, L, and XL, as highlighted on the arms at the back of the mask which you use to wrap around your head
Part of the key to keeping the seam from glasses is making a good seal against the top of the face. As such I’ve previously opted for a metal nose clip on Respro masks as it has enabled me to grip my nose better. HOWEVER, as I have had issues with all other masks so far, so whilst finding the Cinqro had a nylon noseclip initially concerned me, it turned out the Respro knew what they were doing!
On the sides of the mask are the POWA Elite vents, which have the greatest airflow of any of the Respro masks. By improving airflow during exercise, it unsurprisingly reduces the work of breathing, so minimising tiredness which can occur when exercising with filter masks. More
The filter is attached to the inside of the mask via the valves. They are a simple twist to lock and twist to unlock, so at least changing the filter every month
When you do change the filter, it is worth while putting the mask through the wash as well, to ensure that any ingrained dirty, or possible infectious agents are removed. The neoprene may fade over time, so I only was with filter changes
Respro Cinqro Mask Review: Specification
Respro does have a slight problem with their range. It is too broad. They seem to cover every possible eventually and have a series of lab-tested filters that go beyond both European and USA standards – covering PM 0.3, P3 and N99 filters.
The reason why I say this is a problem is the site and range is frankly confusing. Lot’s of options, lots of names. Whilst there is a mask selector no easy use cases and no easily labels to say – that is the ONE I want. As it is very easy to consider several might do the job you need. Heck, as already mentioned you get two filters where I think only one type is needed!
On which note, if you intend on doing anything even remotely active, and need a pollution mask, you need to Respro Cinqro mask, and it has the following specifications:
- Dust and pollen 2.5PM filter
- Submicron filter
- Powa™ Elite valves
- Nylon unbreakable nose clip
- Three sizes M, L and XL
- Easy Velcro® fastening
- Made from Neoprene – washable
- 4-6 week filter life – replaceable
Respro Cinqro Mask Review: Using a Cinqro Mask
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get a Respro Cinqro mask for cycling. As mentioned earlier, I’ve tried several masks, and have found them all lacking when it came to cycling to work. I purchased a Cinqro mask for my recent trip to Everest Base Camp. The reason being, that the air pollution in Nepal and Kathmandu specifically is some of the worst IN THE WORLD. Whilst the smog hangs around the city due to the mountains around it, in an ironic twist, the ugly smog of the day gives rise to beautiful sunsets in the evening
Whilst the Respro Cinqro has a very specific function in mind, to enable an athlete to be able to train without the worry of pollution in their respiratory system, that meant it was EXTREMELY comfortable walking around the Nepalese capital. My best mate and myself actually wore the masks from day 1
After a couple of days we actually wondered if we were perhaps being a little over sensitive. About 30% of tourists there were masks, and maybe 15-20% of the Nepalese. So we took the masks off. After about an hour of walking around, you’d develop a horrible sensation in the back of the throat and a bit of a cough. Suffice to say the masks stayed firmly in place from then on!
Remember, with the pollution from exhausts, particularly diesel, doesn’t just affect the squidgy bit of the lung we breathe with in terms of getting dust down there. Nitrous Oxide can affect everything from the mouth, and the tubes all the way down to the gas exchanging cells of the alveoli, but not as
In terms of actually wearing the mask, Kathmandu was a good trial, as you a going into shops, and meetings, so pulling the mask on and off continually. The mask
Sounds like a daft thing to comment about but some masks, such as the Cambridge mask go over the ears. As a result they can be a little uncomfortable after a while. But perhaps more importantly might not sit straight if your ears are not level!! Trust me, it’s not uncommon! Few of us are actually symmetrical!
Regular readers will have seen the Respro Cinqro mask popping up in a few other reviews such as the Lumos Matrix helmet review. I think things like that are very valuable to show which kit I have in routine use.
When it comes to commuting on my bike, which is far cry from the dust of Kathmandu, I’ve honestly wondered if I need it. Then I sit at the traffic lights next to a bus with diesel fumes billowing out and I’m glad I’m wearing it. At the moment summer commuting is fine, yes you do get a little sweaty, but I get much sweatier on a simple run, so I know that I’m getting enough air out through the large valves
If you do have problems with air coming out around the filter, Respro sealing will also sell you a Pro-Seal cover to help pull the mask away from your face, improving airflow to the vents, and in turn,/ provide a better seal against your face. That facial seal should further prevent misting of glasses. Currently, I haven’t found any issues when on early morning rides, but if in the depths of winter I fog up again, I know what I’ll be purchasing
Respro Cinqro Mask Review: Conclusion
Ok, Respro masks are not the cheapest on the market, but I would have saved money if I had purchased a Cinqro initially rather than trying to save a little money buying cheaper masks which didn’t work. I think that is going to be my main take away: If you have glasses, and want a cycling filter mask, by a Respro Cinqro. I don’t think I need much more of a conclusion