Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket - review - Road Cycling UK

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Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket – review

Packable jackets aren’t generally known for their quality, but Rapha’s Pro Team Wind Jacket bucks the trend

Generally speaking, when the words ‘Rapha’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Team’ are put together, it’s usually a sign that what you’ve got in your hands is top quality, high-performance kit.

However, I’ve always struggled when it comes to packable garments because, by their very nature, they’re designed to be light and easily packable, and thus relatively delicate and susceptible to damage.

That concept isn’t synonymous with quality, and yet I have to admit it: Rapha has done a fantastic job with the Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket.

Seams are strong and flat-stitched, yet to hold and handle, the jacket is a super lightweight wind shell that packs down into a pocket with ease, even though to look at it gives the impression of a much heavier garment. Moreover, it performs like one too.

While packable jackets are not usually high on quality (they are, after all, only an emergency layer), Rapha have done a superb job with the Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

For this new jacket, Rapha sourced a new windproof material with the aim of marrying the two concepts of quality and lightweight performance together, and without wishing to wax too much lyrical on the point, it meets the aim brilliantly well.

  • Specification

  • Price: £125
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Blue, Blue-Green, red
  • Website: Rapha

Donned at the top of a cold Alpe d’Huez morning (and more recently when the weather has been at its British summer best), it’s proved itself well up to the task of keeping the wind off, while also managing to avoid becoming too cold against the skin.

Often, while wind jackets can be good at keeping rushing air out, the fabric itself can become chilly, often feeling cold when your skin comes into contact with it. However, the fabric Rapha has chosen manages to avoid cooling too much, which makes it great for insulating from cold air too.

And yet, it’s incredibly packable, so much so that it easily rolled into my jersey pocket when I about-faced and began my ascent back up. However, should I have wished to keep it on and go for a little customised ventilation, that’s easily achievable through a dual-end Vislon zipper that’s really easy to move about with one hand.

The bottom edge effectively allows you to loosen the hems so you can reach your jersey pockets underneath (Rapha hasn’t included slits in the rearside to reach in), while the whole length of the zipper is backed with a strong windproof tab to keep out unwanted draughts.

However, don’t get the impression that there’s no breathability here. While the main fabric itself can shift small amounts of moisture (and incidentally is able to bead water off pretty effectively should you get caught in an impromptu shower), the vast majority of the breathability comes from the mesh back, which allows lots of built-up heat to escape.

While I wouldn’t have wanted to climb the Alpe with it on, I’m in no doubt that if I’d sat spinning an easy gear I’d have found a happy equilibrium, much like I did when subsequently riding around my local roads back home.

A mesh back offers plenty of breathability, while the main fabric beads water away

Rapha has also put lots of thought into the cut, with a high meshed neckline and low, dropped back that helps you feel cocooned and protected from the elements, along with lightly elasticated cuffs to stop ingress up your arms too. It’s slim but with enough space inside for your body to be able to warm the air inside. And there’s added reflective detail in the branding and piping too.

Design-wise, I think it’s a bit of shame that the available colours don’t feature Rapha’s love-it-or-loathe-it chartreuse or (in particular) a plain black, but nevertheless the Pro Team font is visible on the lower back and arm, with some detailing around the neck area too and it looks good in the blue on test – unmistakably Rapha. And, it returns from the wash looking like it’s come straight from the shop too – not something you can say about lightweight wind jackets every day.

Conclusion

As ever with Rapha’s Pro Team products, quality and performance is the real cornerstone of the experience. It’s more of the same with the Lightweight Wind Jacket – a high quality packable wind jacket that does what it says on the tin, in Rapha’s inimitable style.

Pros

  • Windproof
  • Slim cut
  • Long cuffs and hems
  • Unmistakably Rapha

Cons

  • No black option
  • Expensive

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