Gear News

Rapha winter clothing – first look

Jacket, jersey, lined short, leg warmers, and collar go under the microscope

Rapha Winter Jersey

The recently tested Factor Bikes Vis Vires simply oozed quality from the moment it emerged, butterfly-like, from its travel case. Rapha’s Winter Jersey repeats the trick.

Its Sportwool fabric (a mix of merino, polyester and elastene) is wonderfully soft, and the cut, while larger than some we’ve tested, is by no means baggy. The ‘sulphur’ (some say grey) colourway is further evidence of the innate good taste that separates Rapha’s clothing from garish team kit and high-viz commuter nastiness, and which has spawned a legion of imitators. The trademark band is present and correct on the left sleeve.

Rapha’s Winter Jersey has three tail pockets, but not in the usual three-in-a-row configuration

The Winter Jersey gives no indication of being a triumph of style over function, however, though it is unquestionably stylish. Two huge vents, 30cm long, and one either side of the full-length chest zip, should offer effective cooling. We’ll find out in the weeks ahead and report on their effectiveness or otherwise in our review. At the tail, Rapha has modified the traditional three pocket configuration by placing two side-by-side. Above them is a robust-looking, ring-pull zip, which gives access to a deep, central pocket. We’ll let you know how this fares in the subsequent review, but our instinct tends to a ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy in the matter of jersey pockets. A zipped, central pocket hasn’t proved useful on other garments where we’ve encountered it (Endura’s Equipe Thermo Windshield Jacket, for example), but we’ll reserve judgment.

A deep collar is a feature of many winter jerseys and here it measures some 6cm. Comfort or otherwise depends much on fabric in our experience (the one failing of the recently tested and otherwise excellent Josette jersey from Café du Cycliste was a certain inflexibility at the collar) and given the softness of the Sportwool deployed here, we’re not expecting any issues. The cuffs follow a similar philosophy: 7cm deep at the front, 6cm at the rear, and so of ample proportions to slide over a glove.

The Rapha Winter Jersey is available in grey or bright blue, and in six sizes from X-small to XX-large. It costs £160.

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