Rapha Pro Team Jacket  £200.00

9/10

Superb fit, fabric, features & looks make this a stunning jacket for brisk riding

Contact  www.rapha.cc

by David Arthur   December 31, 2013  

Rapha's Pro Team jacket combines a supremely good fit with a softshell material that fends off bad weather with ease. For cyclists who like to ride hard and fast all the time, the breathability and protection of this jacket is outstanding.

Yes it's expensive, but it's a serious investment for winter training if you're determined to not let the wind and rain stop you. And in this blue it looks really good; in my opinion it's the best-looking jacket Rapha has ever made.

Rapha use Polartec's Power Shield Pro softshell material for the front-facing panels in the chest, arms and shoulders. It's 99% windproof, and that 1% is the critical detail that gives this jacket its performance when you're going hard. It keeps most of the wind out, but lets just a little through and this gives the jacket superb heat management.

Meanwhile, providing insulation is a Super Roubaix material on all the rear facing panels. It's not as windproof as the Polartec stuff, so it lets a lot of the excess heat escape, further helping to keep your temperature under control. You can thunder down the road and you won't overheat in this jacket.

The fit is excellent. Though it's called a jacket, it has the fit, softness and comfort of a jersey, yet provides the protection you want from a jacket.

As for sizing, it's from Rapha's Pro Team range so it's really designed for racing snakes, though it is available right up to XXL. It's a slim fit, shaped nicely around the waist and shoulders, but with no hint of tightness or restriction of movement. For reference, the jacket pictured is a size small.

I often struggle getting jackets that fit comfortably. Small enough around the waist, but then too short in the arms. Not so with this jacket, the size small fitted everywhere just right. Enough length in the arms that the cuffs were comfortably placed at my wrists, and didn't ride up during cycling.

I always say it, but it's really worth trying this jacket on before you buy, as it does come up a bit smaller. That excellent fit and lack of bulk means there isn't any excess material to bunch up and billow in the wind. It's nice and streamlined.

There are a host of nice details that makes it a lovely place to spend a couple of hours. There's a high collar with a nicely off-set zip, and a little 'zip garage' so the puller doesn't irritate your neck. The elasticated cuffs form a good seal around the wrists and the slimness of the fabric means winter gloves slip right over the top easily.

You get three large rear pockets providing ample cargo space for a decent training ride, plus a small zipped side pocket for your house keys. Oh and there's a handful of reflective details scattered around the jacket too. It's these details that show that Rapha have invested time and effort in getting it spot on.

The Rapha Pro Team Jacket's performance in a range of conditions has impressed me. Wind, rain and the cold are easily dealt with. It's not technically waterproof, but the leading panels have a water repellant treatment, and there are taped seams just in the front panels, which for all but the wettest days means the jacket does a pretty fine job at keeping you dry.

It's not the warmest jacket I've ever tested, but then it's not really aiming to be the warmest jacket. It does rely on you for its warmth, riding at a steady and brisk pace, generating heat to keep your temperature up. You notice this if you stop for a mid-ride coffee or at the end of the ride, the chill can descend quickly. Keep moving though and it's fine.

That sounds like a criticism, and it might be if you're riding at leisurely speeds - other jackets will better cater for such riding - but I never once felt cold while riding at a brisk pace, which I do on most of my rides anyway. I feel the cold and generally keep the tempo high just to keep myself warm.

The breathability is really the jacket's trump card though. It can be really tricky getting the right jacket and the right layers to keep you warm, but avoid overheating, if you're riding fast in all weathers. The Pro Team jacket manages it better than most I've tested. Paired with a base layer to suit the conditions and a long sleeve mid-layer, I've found the perfect combination to tackle the typical range of weather and temperature conditions.

I've found a short base layer and long sleeve mid layer is good for roughly between 7 and 12 degrees, with a switch to a long sleeve base layer you can push into temperatures that plummet down to near freezing. In really heavy rain, a lightweight waterproof over the top keeps you protected. In that way it's a very versatile jacket that copes with anything the British winter can throw your way. And I reckon it'll be just the ticket when spring eventually rolls around, with the removal of the mid layer.

Which just leaves the price. Yes, it's a lot of money, but considering the level of performance, the comfort and excellent fit, quality of construction and the details, it's a solid investment. If you're a performance or racing cyclist and you want to invest in a jacket that will properly regulate your temperature, the Pro Team is a sound choice. It also looks great too.

Verdict

Superb fit, fabric and features make this a stunning jacket for brisk riding. Looks smart too.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Jacket

Size tested: small, bright blue

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

A protective softshell outer layer with the comfort of a jersey, the Pro Team Jacket offers insulation, breathability and windproofing in a lightweight and streamlined design. Created for high-tempo riding in colder conditions, the jacket is ideal for winter training.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Polartec® softshell membrane on chest, shoulders and arms (exclusive to Rapha).

Super-Roubaix rear and underarm panels

Race fit with side panels

Reflective armband and trims

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

First class. Been punished loads, I've even crashed in it, and it still looks brand new.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

For fast brisk riding the Pro Team strikes the perfect balance between insulation and breathability, backed up with decent weather protection.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

As I've mentioned, it's stood up to plenty of punishment, even been crashed, and there's not a mark on it, and the stitching is all solid.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

Super light build makes it feel more like a jersey than a regular jacket.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Exceptional.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

I'm giving it a good mark for value. Though £200 is a lot of money for a jacket, the Pro Team jacket offers outstanding performance and it costs less than similar jackets from the likes of Assos and Castelli, if of course the price is an issue when you're spending this sort of money.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

For fast paced riding the Pro Team gets the balance of weather protection and breathability just right.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Everything really, it even looks great in this blue

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

There's really nothing I can fault.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Already have.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

A superb jacket. Thoroughly recommended.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I got this in black about 2 weeks before the blue came out (grrr...still looks good though) and while I agree it's a excellent jacket, the review does show how we're all different.

I also ride at a brisk pace (and run hot) most of the time, and i find this jacket pretty hot at 6 degrees upwards. At 2-4 degrees its perfect - and thats with a short sleeve baselayer.

It fits really well and is super comfortable too...and as for the price I cant complain as I got it as a present Wink

posted by StoopidUserName [25 posts]
31st December 2013 - 17:10

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I've one. Very warm so best on chilly days. A weeny bit long in the arms for me but I probably have short arms.

£200 for something that you'll still be wearing in 2025? You get what you pay for.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1011 posts]
31st December 2013 - 19:33

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go the chartreuse (yellow) one 3 years ago, best piece of kit I own. I use it autumn to spring with layers underneath. only time it struggle is proper rain, but that's not what it's designed for. would definitely recommend it & I'll be buying another when this one finally dies (which it shows no sign of yet).

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

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posted by Coodsta [95 posts]
1st January 2014 - 12:36

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Lovely looking Jersey/Jacket, but 200 quid?!! Reading the review, the Rapha seems to perform exactly the same as the DHB Windslam Blade, except for when you ride fast in the Blade if you overheat you can open the pit zips, but unlike the Rapha if you're going at a slower pace, you don't get cold.

I got bought the Blade for Christmas and it has been awesome. Been out in our recent Stormy weather, wind rain, cold. String vest underneath and a merino has covered all conditions. All for more than half the price of the Rapha. Big Grin

posted by LeighNichol [4 posts]
2nd January 2014 - 22:59

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Compared to the price of some mountaineering jackets it is probably not too over priced.

Je vie dans l'espoir constant

Strathlubnaig's picture

posted by Strathlubnaig [113 posts]
3rd January 2014 - 0:23

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pro team jacket looks brilliant. given the choice of that or the winter jersey for low temp rides- anyone got an opinion of which to go with?? Not worried about waterproofness- just a top that gives protection to cold weather that is breathable and that I won't overheat and end up in a puddle of sweat at the end of a ride!

Philly Applause

philly's picture

posted by philly [14 posts]
3rd January 2014 - 20:05

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Has it changed at all since the last time you reviewed it?

posted by Nick T [727 posts]
6th January 2014 - 22:43

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