Rapha’s latest garment in their ever-expanding range is the Winter jersey, a long sleeve item at home as a mid-layer or, when it’s cold and clear a top layer. Pop a base layer underneath and a waterproof shell in one of the three rear pockets and you’ve got the perfect winter setup for current British conditions.
Merino wool has made welcome inroads into many items of clothing over the past few years. It’s a lovely material, soft and warm: perfect for cycling. Rapha are a fan of Sportwool – 26% merino wool, 70% polyester and 4% Elastane – and it’s not hard to see why: you get the best of both worlds; the high performance of polyester with the added comfort of merino.
We’ve been wearing the Winter jersey on a number of rides and in range of different conditions, and it’s proved to be a valuable item. Its beauty is the sheer warmth it provides. And if it gets a little stuffy inside, two long zipped vents with mesh lining open up the chest to tons of cool air. With a light windproof shell over the top we’ve found the right setup for when it’s really cold, much like it is right now then.
As we’ve come to expect from Rapha, there’s some great features and fantastic attention to detail in this latest garment. The shape and fit is great, it contours to your body and is very snug. There’s a dropped tail out back, and the front is slightly higher than normal so you don’t get that annoying excess material rumpling up when you’re on the drops. The tall fronted collar means more of your neck gets covered, particularly, again, when you’re on the drops, and a small piece of material covers the cold metal of the lock-down zip. Finally, the cuffs are cut longer on the tops of the arms so they slightly extend over the top of your hands. A nice touch. Three deep pockets will carry more than you’d dare to take with you, and one is zipped for storing valuable items – like your mid-ride cake perhaps…