To cut things short for the reader who has already spent the time reading our review on Rapha’s winter core tights, I measured up, looked at the size chart and ordered. What we wanted to test is the idea that Rapha’s no thrills clothing will live up to the quality and comfort of Rapha’s more expensive offerings. Again just to fill you in the kit turned up in the tell-tale black packet, each item inside is in its own bag and you also get your receipt in a nice card envelope, very posh.
Now my top half isn’t as slim as I would like it to be but then again like many others my weight does fluctuate so if you’re looking at getting any clothing, make sure you measure yourself before ordering. I have looked at reviews other people have put on Rapha’s site and I am constantly amused when people say "the large didn’t fit, it's too small, get a size up when you order”. Don’t take things for granted is my advice, don’t assume that someone else size fits you then this should be the same, as after all to assume makes an ass out of u and me. And even if for some reason it still ends up wrong remember that you can just swap it for the next size up or down.
The jacket fitted as I had expected, the sleeves are a good length and even with arms outstretched my wrists are still covered and the added internal cuffs should keep the wind out. If you want to be even warmer there is just about enough space to fit a jersey under as well if it gets really cold. There are a few design nods that you will find on more expensive Rapha kit, the zip has a nice hood at the top to stop it annoying your neck and there is some reflective detaining on the ends of the sleeves for night time visibility. The area that seem a bit different is on the back pockets, the side ones are not angled for ease of use but to be fair I didn’t find that a hindrance and the large rubber gripper should keep things in place even when the pockets are loaded up.
For this test I had paired the tights (without pad) with a set of Castelli team shorts and lightweight Rapha base layer. It was on the warm side for my first ride, 12c and the wind was not too strong, sometimes you just get it wrong and you need something versatile. The jacket was good when I was warming up but as soon as the pace picked up I did get a bit hot, nothing that a quick open of the zip didn’t help with. But then again this is a winter jacket, and 12c is probably not what it was intended for. My next ride was a bit cooler and windier, a nigh time ride with other Rapha clad people from the archive store in Shepton Mallet, I can happily say I remained comfortable for the entire ride. I was dressed in the same kit as on the previous ride so I could get a good idea on how well the jacket did its job the front is made with what Rapha describe as a 3 layered laminated material, (basically its 100% polyester) this is supposed to be water and wind resistant and yes it certainly kept the wind out, as did the soft wrist cuffs. The rear of the jacket is a more breathable fleecy material to help regulate your temperature, and again it does this well but the one thing on the ride I couldn’t test due to the weather was how water resistant the front would be, so for this I used my shower and it’s a big thumbs up from me in that department.
When we get down to the boring question of price then the simple answer is it's £120 and that’s on the mark for a jacket of this quality, but when you consider that if you get another item and get it in one of Rapha’s core bundles then you can save 20% on the price its even better value for money. Your only problem may be getting hold of one.
Colours: Red, Navy, Black