Rapha launched the Core collection in March, with a range made up of a short sleeve jersey and bib shorts, in men's and women's versions. The Core jersey certainly isn't cheap at £75 but it offers a realistic entry point into the Rapha range and, most importantly, still offers plenty in terms of performance.

Rapha describe the Core range as offering the "essentials in performance and functionality". The Core jersey still gets classic Rapha styling - understated and with a subtle armband on the left sleeve - but it's a consolidate and distilled piece, which has no airs and graces about it. Still, that's no bad thing.

Rapha Core jersey - review (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Rapha Core jersey - review (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

The jersey seems to follow similar sizing to elsewhere in the Rapha, range though while the cut is still slim, it's a little less fitted than Rapha more race-orientated pieces. It's a very functional piece of kit and feels natural on the bike - you don't notice it while riding and it's comfortable to wear. The arms are a good length and sit close to the skin, even though there's no gripper.

The neck line uses the same soft, ridged fabric as the ends of the arms and, once again, sits comfortably in use. The rest of the jersey (and that is to say almost all of it) is made from a 100 per cent polyester fabric, with the main body made up of five panels which are sensible shaped and cut, allowing enough freedom of movement while retaining a flattering fit.

Rapha Core jersey - review (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Rapha Core jersey - review, pockets (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

  • Specification

  • Price: £75
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Website: Rapha

At the back there are three open pockets which are spacious and capable of holding a day-long ride's worth of supplies. Even though they're generously sized, there wasn't any problem with the pockets swaying or sagging in use. There's also a simple zipped pocket for valuables, like keys or small change. Being Rapha, there's also a short story printed inside and, whether or not this appeals to you, it shows (to some degree, at least) Rapha are still thinking about the minor details when it comes to their 'affordable' kit. It's a small pocket but well placed and big enough to reach on the move without having to become a contortionist on the bike.

The jersey was tested through spring temperatures of eight to 16 degrees and it performed well throughout that range. It's not a windproof or thermal fabric, and the breathability of the polyester means it's better suited to milder temperatures, but it's adaptable enough to be used through a reasonably wide range, particularly when paired with a gilet and arm warmers.

Rapha Core jersey - review (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Rapha Core jersey - review, sleeve (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

There's also a full length zip if you need to regulate the temperature a little. The zipper itself is only small but easy enough to grab and there's a fabric cover at the top to minimise the risk of it catching on skin or hair when pulled all the way to the top.

Conclusion

The Rapha Core jersey is a relatively simple piece but it's great for everyday road riding, whether that's casually cruising round the lanes or a high tempo effort. With six colours to choose from - light blue, red, hi-­viz pink, black, grey and navy blue - there should be something for everyone, and the quality and attention to detail is excellent.

Pros

  • Understated and classy Rapha styling
  • Slim but unrestrictive fit
  • Breathable fabric suitable for a range of conditions

Cons

  • Not a lot to complain about