With summer well underway, and our minds focussed by RideLondon on cycling in the nation’s capital, we called in clothing from Rapha.
The clothing brand, now supplier to Team Sky, has a cycle club in the West End, and its headquarters in north west London.
We’ll be testing the Super Lightweight jersey and Lightweight bib-shorts as recent (and, hopefully, continuing) conditions demand.
Here’s a detailed inspection of the fit and fabrics of each before the serious business of testing begins.
Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey
The Super Lightweight Jersey is, as the name suggests, a slight garment, and suited only to high summer on our own sun-rationed shores.
The fit is close and more suited to climbing goats than track sprinters, but not quite the second skin of the Pro Team kit we tested last year. The sleeve, especially, has a slightly more accomodating fit than the jerseys in which Froome et al ply their trade.
The 100 per cent polyester fabric is woven extremely thin, and so we’re expecting excellent breathability. The side panels are mesh.
Three rear pockets line the tail, with a fourth, zipped pocket on the exterior of the right hand side, equipped with a metal ring zip and a reflective strip.
Inside, the collar and the zip guard are lined, and there’s a thin, silicone strip on the hem.
The Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey is available in red, white, or blue, in sizes X-Small to XX-Large, and costs £100.
Rapha Lightweight bib-short
The Lightweight bib-shorts are another aptly named garment, equipped with braces in a lightweight, polyester mesh.
The braces are comparatively narrow, presumably in the name of lightening the load, but breadth spreads pressure more effectively, so we’ll be interested to see how these fare in the comfort stakes.
Of less concern in this department is the lycra used for the leg which is soft, both to the touch and when worn. It’s treated with sun block, according to Rapha, and carries an SPF 50 rating.
Early indications suggest the pad will perform well, too. Cut in the classic love heart shape, the sections beneath the sit bones and at the front are perforated for breathability.
The deep, elasticated hems are lined internally with three thin silicone strips. Externally, the left leg is finished with Rapha’s now trademark contrast band, available in white, red, or blue.
The Rapha Lightweight bib-shorts are available in six sizes from X-Small to XX-Large, and cost £140.
We’ll be testing the Super Lightweight Jersey and Lightweight Bib-Short for the remainder of the summer. Check back soon for a full review.