Rapha Gilet £120
This is not the first Gilet from Rapha: their original Emergency Gilet was just that, a featherweight item that didn’t even have a zip for getting the thing on. Now, Rapha have gone back to the drawing board with the latest incarnation. And in doing so, they’ve designed a Gilet that’s so much more usable in circumstances other than emergencies.
So the new Gilet weighs a little more, gets a full-length zip, and is now made from Epic, a new material that is said to be wind-proof, water-resistant and breathable. In making Epic, instead of taking a piece of material and bonding the water/wind repellent layer to the front, silicone-based polymers are soaked into the fibres of the material, creating a fabric that should be more breathable than materials made in the more traditional method.
With this fabric, Rapha have designed a Gilet that fits really rather well, and there are all the small touches we’ve come to expect from the company. Like the lock-down zip with a chin guard and long section of soft material lining the last five inches of zipping. And the easily adjustable toggles for adjusting the waist. And to avoid rising damp, the back is mesh lined with the middle section nothing but mesh for even quicker moisture removal. For stowage you’re given two large cargo pockets at the rear, with flaps over the top, and a small zipped pocket around the front large enough for your house keys/mobile phone/energy gel. And when you find the weather turns and the sun makes an appearance, the Gilet packs up really small and easily fits inside a jersey pocket. For extra visibility the rear Rapha logo is reflective.
The price puts it in the same ball park as an Assos Gilet, but there are of course more than a few cheaper options if you browse the the clothing rack in your local bike shop. The Rapha design though is without a doubt the most stylish Gilet you can lay your hands on; the Epic fabric, the great fit and all the little touches ensure this Gilet isn’t merely a case of style over substance.