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Six highlights from Rapha’s 2016 autumn/winter collection

From the rugged Classic Winter Jacket to the watt-saving Pro Team Aero Jersey, here are six of our picks from Rapha's autumn/winter range

There’s no shortage of new kit from Rapha for autumn/winter 2016, so we recently stopped by the London-based brand’s HQ to check out some of the highlights for the season.

With a whole host of new pieces on show, we’ve picked out six of our highlights from across the range, from the rugged Classic Winter Jacket to the watt-saving Pro Team Aero Jersey, and from the premium, pro-inspired Shadow Jersey to the affordable Core Rain Jacket.

Here are six pieces which caught out eye from Rapha’s latest collection.

Rapha Classic Winter Jacket

The Classic Winter Jacket (£260) is a new piece from Rapha and is essentially a combination of the old Classic Softshell and the Hardshell Jacket. As a result, Rapha are pitching it as something of a do-it-all winter jacket “The ideal garment for winter base miles: wear it on training rides in the wet, or all-day adventures in the cold,” they say.

The jacket is made from a new fabric, Polartec’s Power Shield Pro, which is said to be windproof, waterproof and breathable, plus the seams have been taped to stop water working in.

Some of the Classic Softshell’s DNA remains, including the offset zip, shoulder patches and fit, but otherwise this is a completely new addition. You’ll find three rear pockets to store those winter riding essentials, alongside a waterproof valuables pocket.

The waterproof theme continues with a waterproof zip, plus an adjustable shock cord on the hem and elasticated inner cuffs to keep the elements out. Still, if things do warm up, there are underarm zippers to let some air in.

The jacket is available in four colours (chartreuse; dark orange; dark grey and black), as well as a limited edition version in what’s best described as a maroon/purple tricolour design. Whatever colour you choose, the drop tail is made from a reflective material.

Rapha Brevet Windblock Jersey

Rapha’s Brevet range is designed for long-distance riding and bike-packing and, as a result, it has been developed with versatility in mind. Breathability, durability and reflectivity are themes which run through the range on garments also designed to be quick-drying.

The Brevet line-up has been expanded significantly for autumn/winter 2016 and now includes the Brevet Windblock Jersey – which has become a favourite of ours. It’s a clever piece of kit, made from a lightweight but warm and breathable merino wool, with a windproof panel laid over the front.

That makes the jersey a versatile piece for those middling days when the weather’s neither cold nor hot, which, in the UK, is a fair amount of the time. The front panel does a fine job at keeping the chill off your chest, but the rest of the jersey is allowed to breathe and disperse heat.

There are five pockets in all, with the normal arrangement of three pockets on the rear, plus two zipped pockets on the front. They’re quite small, so you’re not going to get a huge amount in them, but are well-placed for those valuables you want to keep close to hand.

The jersey comes in three colours (purple, navy or black), with reflective stripes on the front and back. Yours for £145.

Rapha Brevet Insulated Jacket

The Insulated Jacket (£150) is a brand new addition to the Brevet range and is aimed at long-distance riders who want warm, packable protection on multi-day bike-packing adventures.

The jacket utilises Polartec’s highly breathable and quick-drying Alpha insulation, which we’ve previously seen in the Sportful R&D Light Jacket. Polartec say Alpha was designed to regulate core body temperature during both ‘static and dynamic activities’, and we were certainly impressed with how Sportful put it to use.

The down-like insulation gives the Brevet Insulated Jacket a padded look and feel, but unlike a natural down, Polartec Alpha is a synthetic material so it won’t hold water, and Rapha have also added a water repellent coating to the outside of the jacket to provide an extra line of defence against the elements (it’s wind resistant, too).

The side panels are made from a brushed fabric to add a little more warmth, and they have plenty of stretch to help accommodate full jersey pockets underneath. The jacket itself doesn’t have any pockets, other than a small zipped valuable pocket on the rear.

The jacket only comes in black, though the two bands which run around it are made from a reflective material; as are the Rapha logos on the front and back.

Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Shadow Jersey

Rapha launched the Shadow Jersey last year and now it’s available in a long sleeve version. If you’re not familiar, Shadow is Rapha’s take on the wet-weather jersey – designed to be windproof, water resistant and breathable, with a close, race-inspired fit.

In fact, Wout Poels used the long sleeve version of the Shadow Jersey when he won the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in sleet, snow and rain, so it has some pedigree.

The key with the Shadow Jersey is to offer wind and rain protection, without compromising on fit and, crucially, maintaining a level of breathability which just isn’t possible with a conventional waterproof fabric, in order to cope with the demands of high-paced training and racing.

The Shadow fabric has a DWR (durable water resistant) coating, applied twice during to the manufacturing process. Rapha say the stretch-weave of the fabric adds compression to create a race fit, while micropores within the fabric are there to move heat and moisture away from the body.

Other little touches include taped seams over the shoulders, placed to provide extra protection from driving rain, as well as drainage holes in the rear pockets. The long sleeve jersey costs £240, while the short sleeve version is £220. The Shadow range also includes bib shorts (£260), arm warmers (£70), knee warmers (£75), leg warmers (£85) and a hat (£50).

Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Aero Jersey

The Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Aero Jersey is designed for fast riding in mild to cool weather (this isn’t a piece for deep winter).

It’s based on the original Aero short sleeve jersey but Rapha have used a new fabric, worn by Team Sky riders since early 2016, on the sleeves to give this jersey the same aerodynamic performance as mesh fabric used on its short sleeve counterpart, while also offering additional stretch to give the arms a close fit.

Other nods to aero include the low-profile collar, deep-cut neck and a chest panel adapted to give an aggressive race-cut fit.

Rapha haven’t completely forgotten about practicality, though, with three rear pockets and a zipped pocket, plus a full-length, reflective zip. Still, as an aero, long sleeve jersey, this is something of a niche piece.

Rapha Core Rain Jacket

From niche to mainstream, Rapha introduced the Core range in March 2016 and it’s been well received as the London-based brand’s most affordable clothing to date. We were impressed by both the jersey and bib shorts when we reviewed them earlier this year.

The Core Jersey is now available in a long sleeve version but it’s this Core Rain Jacket which caught our eye in the autumn/winter collection. It’s £100 and made from a lightweight, packable and waterproof material.

The seams are taped, while Rapha have used an AquaGuard zip to further boost the jacket’s waterproof credentials. The jacket is perforated with six holes under each arm, to allow some heat to escape if you’re riding hard.

Like the rest of the Core range, the styling is understated, while the jacket available in four colours (chartreuse; red; navy; black).

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