Respro Cinqro: Pollution Mask Review. We use the Cinqro for more than a year and share our thoughts on how it handles the polluted cities of India!
Cycling is good for health, right? There are times when cycling can be detrimental to your health. We live in an upside down world, where things don’t quite make sense. What should be beneficial, isn’t!
With the ever increasing levels of air pollution in the urban environment, outdoor activity is under threat. Cycling one amongst them.
Does that mean we should give up cycling, considering most of us live and workout in big polluted cities?
Should you put an oxygen tank in your bottle cage or backpack, with a pipe connected to your oxygen mask, à la Bane from the Batman series? That might be a possibility in the distant future, fortunately we aren’t there yet. A simple (or not!) pollution mask can do the trick of keeping you clean from the insides.
With the need of pollution masks in this day and age obvious, I went out and bought the Respro Cinqro mask before the start of winter. After having used this for a year and a bit, this is what I think of it…
I had heard good things about this UK based pollution mask manufacturer and my previous experiences of using masks from Decathlon and 3M were not satisfactory. The only thing holding me back was the price!
While the industrial masks sold appear to do a decent job for basic use, it did not work while on the saddle of a cycle. The physical effort of cycling (or other sports) requires an increase in the quantity of oxygen to the lungs. These basic masks just do not have the ability to provide that and to make matters worse, the carbon dioxide you exhale is trapped within the mask, making you breathless within moments.
The Cinqro is advertised by Respro as a mask for the urban athlete, someone who doesn’t want to give up their training because of air pollution.
In the box
Inside the package is a neoprene Cinqro shell, fitted with two Powa valves and HEPA type filter. There is an additional DACC/HEPA filter packed separately within the box. This additional filter isn’t a replacement, the two are in fact meant for different scenarios.
The HEPA is for particle filtration, while the DACC is what you need for your BIG Indian city! It is meant for vehicular pollution, which you will be getting a face full of. Swap the two filters immediately, since the former is of not much use in urban warfare!
I used the Cinqro for both everyday training rides in the capital of pollution, Delhi, as well as commuting in the same city.
The mask takes some getting used to, as one would expect. It is a strange feeling to have something attached to your face. Once you are past that psychological hiccup, there is no problem.
Winter rides are where this mask shines. A 2 hour morning ride when pollution levels are at its peak did not destroy me. There was a significant difference in comfort levels between using the Cinqro and not. I could wear the mask constantly without having to remove it for the most part. Sections which required peak effort in cycling meant I had to pull down the mask to breathe freely. Anaerobic efforts are near impossible while wearing this.
Respro claims that the mask is suitable for hot and cold conditions. The hot conditions they mention are probably UK summers, not our Indian variety. Wearing the Cinqro even at the start of the Indian summer was unbearable. Stiflingly hot and uncomfortable.
Commuting on my cycle on the other hand was perfect. I could do my 30 km a day commute wearing this mask easily. There was a marked difference, to a point, where I wouldn’t imagine commuting without it in winter. At no point of time did I need to remove my mask. Summer commuting is just about bearable but uncomfortable.
More than a year of usage has seen the mask hold up perfectly. The outer Neoprene shell is as good as new. Maintenance is a gentle wash as with any other item of clothing. The plastics of the Powa air vent looks a bit cheap, but has held up without breakage so far. The nylon nose clip has been bent around a fair bit, yet hasn’t shown any signs of wear, as is with the Velcro used to fasten the mask.
Fitting the mask is a simple affair. The Respro folks have made a video to help you out if you need it.
The joy of purchase of this mask is in its fitting. It is extremely comfortable to wear, the neoprene material does not cut into your skin at all. If you have facial hair, then it does tend to get caught in the filter, but not uncomfortably so. The nose clip does a superb job of sealing it up to ensure there is no inward leakage, which would otherwise make the filter useless. The Velcro straps hold the mask firmly in place without the need of constant adjustment.
This is where it scores over substantially cheaper masks. Firstly, cheaper alternatives use elastics which get fixed onto the ear, biting into the skin making it unwearable within minutes. Secondly, those masks do not seal well, leading to a lot of unfiltered air being breathed in. Finally, you cannot breathe out fast enough while exercising, since they do not have vents. Ultimately forcing you to pull off the mask, rendering them useless.
Pros, Cons and Verdict
- Build quality
- Better adsorption
- Good air dispensation
- Snazzy looks
- Difficult to eat and drink on the bike
- Cannot be used in Indian summers
- Unusable during anaerobic efforts
- Fidgety Powa valves to fix and remove, while replacing filters
After using the Respro Cinqro mask for more than a year, I am satisfied with its overall performance. It allowed me to venture out on my cycle even during the extremely polluted north Indian winters. Without one I wouldn’t have been able to commute by bike.
The Cinqro is difficult to use inside a full face motorcycle helmet. It is an extremely cramped fit and therefore uncomfortable. One can use it for most other regular purposes, while in a car, public transport, for walks etc.
If you are not actively into outdoor sport, you probably don’t need to spend this much money on a pollution mask. The cheaper masks will do reasonably well in keeping the dirty air out.
It is rather expensive, but considering the amount of money that cyclists spend on unnecessary accessories, this in comparison is quite a necessity. The price does seem insignificant when compared to accrued medical bills resulting from air pollution.
The Respro Cinqro mask is available in three different sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large depending on head size. There are seven colours available, black, pink, white, fluorescent yellow, grey, silver and gold for more bling!
It is shipped worldwide, you can order from their website respro.com
Price: 55.99 GBP