Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet jersey  £195.00

8/10

Warm, comfortable & packing loads of high visibility with a separate hi-vis gilet included

Contact  www.rapha.cc

by David Arthur   January 22, 2014  

The Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet jersey and accompanying hi-vis vest provide lots of warmth on a cold winter ride and the reflective stripes will boost your visibility when riding in the dark. The jersey can be worn as a top layer or as a mid layer when you need to layer up, making it a really good bit of clothing for your cycling wardrobe.

The Long Sleeve Brevet jersey and hi-vis vest were a new addition to Rapha's winter clothing range this year, born out of the company's passion for long distance events like Paris-Brest-Paris. It was actually that event, the legendary 1,200km Audax, that inspired the creation of the jersey when several Rapha employees decided to take it on. As it takes anywhere from 50 to 90 hours to complete, the Audax requires a fair chunk of night time riding, and French traffic law requires a reflective vest be worn when riding at night. A short sleeve version of the Brevet and matching vest was developed, and laterly spawned the long sleeve version.

Like most of Rapha's jerseys, it's made from Sportwool, a luxuriously soft merino and polyester fabric. It's brilliant at providing insulation, is soft next to the skin and doesn't pong when you've been riding for a long period of time, or consecutive days. Which is a good thing if you've got some big rides lined up.

I've been happily wearing it over a short sleeve base layer on warmer days, and when the temperature plunges it makes a good mid layer. Granted, you lose the visibility benefit when you cover it up with a jacket, but the vest can be worn over the top. Rapha has often been (unfairly) criticised for its lack of reflectivity in its clothing, but it has done a superb job of countering such criticism with this combination. While stylish isn't perhaps the right word, it's without doubt one of the better looking hi-vis garments available.

Looping around the torso section of the jersey are two fat stripes. The pink panel provides daylight visibility while the white panel is a perforated Schoeller fabric that is reflective. There are extra reflective details elsewhere, on the armband on the left arm and a tab on the rear of the jersey.

Visibility can be boosted further with the Brevet Vest. The vest echoes the design of the jersey, with a bright pink colour and reflective band around the torso. As well as boosting visibility, and very definitely raising eyebrows when you pull it on in the office, the windproof front panel offers good weather protection. To help dump heat when the pace warms up, there are mesh side panels. As with Rapha's jackets, the full-length zipper is offset.

You can't buy the vest on its own, the only way to get one is to buy the Brevet jersey. While they're obviously designed to be worn together, there's nothing to stop you mixing it up. I've been wearing the vest over any jacket I've been wearing on night rides, and using the Brevet on its own for daytime rides, or wearing under a jacket on a cold ride.

The jersey, as you'd expect from a piece born from a 1,200km ride, has plenty of stowage capacity. There are the regulation three rear pockets, with a large zipped ballast pocket providing a suitable place to stuff the gilet when you don't need to wear it, without using up one of your three pockets. An additional zipped and waterproof chest pocket is the perfect place for a brevet card. My minor gripe with the pockets is that they're placed just a little too high, which makes reaching into a pocket for some food when you have a jacket over the top a bit of a stretch.

As it's a jersey design with long rides in mind, I tested it on a recent 200km Audax. With the ride starting before the sun had risen, and me and my companion arriving back at the car park just as the sun was setting, the extra visibility afforded by both the jersey and gilet came into their own. The brevet pocket kept my brevet card from getting soggy so I could get it stamped at the various control points, and the pockets were plenty large enough to carry my rations for the day.

Now, that price tag. That's no getting away from it, that's a lot of cash. Howevet, it does get you a fully equipped and very capable jersey that is versatile enough to be used in the depths of the winter and right into spring and autumn. And you get a high visibility vest included with the price, which can be paired with the Brevet as intended or used with other clothing. You could easily spend quite a bit more on jersey and gilet from a few other brands. It's also, in my opinion, one of the better looking hi-vis options I've yet seen. It won't suit everyone's tastes, but if it does yours, it's a top quality jersey with an appealing hi-vis benefit.

Verdict

Warm and comfortable and packing loads of high visibility with a separate hi-vis gilet included.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey

Size tested: small, 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?

Based on the short-sleeve jersey rigorously tested by Rapha riders at Paris-Brest-Paris, the long-sleeve version has been created for endurance rides where additional visibility and storage are important but where extra insulation is required. It has three large cargo pockets, as well as a zipped ballast pocket for carrying a complementary hi-vis Brevet Vest and/ or an extra jacket.

The front of the jersey also has a zipped chest pocket for carrying a brevet card. Designed specifically for riding in low light, the jersey has two high-visibility stripes around the chest, one in pink, another in a perforated white Schoeller fabric. Other visibility details include a reflective armband on the left arm and reflective tab on the back of the jersey. The jersey is highly breathable and versatile enough to be used from autumn through to spring.

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

Brevet Jersey

Breathable, insulating Sportwool™ fabric

Three large cargo pockets

Large zipped ballast pocket

Hi-vis chestbands and armband

Water-resistant chest pocket to carry brevet card

Brevet Vest

Windproof front

Offset zip for comfortable layering

Reflective stripes around middle

Reflective Rapha logo

Mesh panels for breathability

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very high qaulity.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The Brevet works so well because it's hugely versatile, and can be used with a variety of layering approaches. As a top layer it's warm and the vest keeps the wind off your chest. I've knocked a point off because of my minor gripe about the high pockets.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

It's been getting a huge amount of use, daily rides and longer weekend rides, and it's been put though the washing machine countless times, and it's in perfect nick.

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

Yup, no concerns with comfort, Sportwool is just a notch above other fabrics in comfort terms.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

You do get a hi-vis windproof vest thrown in with the long sleeve jersey (which you can't buy on its own) so that boosts the value.

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

Keeps you warm without ever getting too hot, has loads of pockets, is durable and the high visibility is a bonus when riding at night or just in poor lighting conditions.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The incorporation of reflective details while still maintaining some semblance of style.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The pockets are a smidgen too high up the back.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

If you've got your eye on some Audaxes, or simply want a warm and high vis jersey and gilet for commuting and training, the Rapha Brevet is a good option that won't disappoint.

Overall rating: 8/10

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,

 

25 user comments

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£150 in the sale. Not all colours and sizes left though.

posted by Benway [64 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 9:23

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Ignoring the cost and that it is Rapha, is the reflective actually that visable? Looking at the photo of the rider on the bike the reflective is quite high, would it actually reflect and be visable to a following car?

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posted by mrmo [861 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 9:43

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Saw a couple on LEL, and was pretty jealous. Reflectives were certainly picked out in my lights, and give I'm lower down on a recumbent I reckon car drivers would have no problem at all.

posted by Darkerside [56 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 9:51

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A review for a product that is now unavailabe from Rapha. Very useful.

posted by DeanF316 [76 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 10:23

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DeanF316 wrote:
A review for a product that is now unavailabe from Rapha. Very useful.

It's still available in the 'clearance' section, but in limited sizes.

posted by wwfcb [57 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 10:44

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To expensive, sportwool, not 100% merino? Oh the irony coming so soon after the Road rats review.

posted by belgravedave [157 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:07

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I was the lucky recipient of one of these, in Chartruese, for Christmas (god bless my wife), and I have to say I'm mightily impressed with how warm this jacket is, whilst having the usual excellent venting qualities from Rapha thus preventing overheating.

The fit is excellent, but as per the article the pockets are a little too high. In addition to this, as is bizarrely common with Rapha jackets, the zip pull is ridiculously small and thus incredibly hard to manage with winter gloves. Given their attention to detail, I can't quite understand their design process or apparent lack of testing in this area.

posted by kitsunegari [16 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:31

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I feel Rapha will never be accessible for the average cyclist, guess I better get a new job.

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [112 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:32

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Totally agree that the pockets are too high. I've been riding with this for several months and have had no problems, except the pocket height, with it. Yes it is expensive but it is a well made piece of kit that should last. The reflective parts are good but it still doesn't stop some drivers from seeing you but hey ho.

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posted by cidermart [446 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:38

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Miles253 wrote:
I feel Rapha will never be accessible for the average cyclist, guess I better get a new job.

That's the whole point! Their branding and positioning certainly works though.

George at Asda could start doing bike kit but would people find it as desirable? Nope.

I am surprised, given that Rapha's "heritage" is largely a construction, that a brand with real history (where they can use pics of various past icons like Merckx, Hinault, LeMond or whoever actually using their stuff etc) doesn't heavily publicise an uber-premium range to compete.

posted by allez neg [401 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:46

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I've got one and it's glorious. It's seeing me through the cold with a base layer underneath and has rendered all my other long sleeve jerseys inc Castelli and others unusable. You get what you pay for. The quality is sublime.

Favourite item in my cycling wardrobe by far.

posted by ajmarshal1 [142 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 11:53

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I've just got the Mrs a Rapha jacket, I know they're expensive, but I haven't found any other cycle specific jackets that offer the same quality AND look ok when going to the pub after work. There are alternatives, but only ones that are in a similar price range or more. For her, although it's massively expensive, she's now cycling to work and it's comparable to two tanks of fuel for the car.

So, yes they are expensive. But, it depends what you're looking for.

posted by robthehungrymonkey [26 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 12:32

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robthehungrymonkey wrote:
I've just got the Mrs a Rapha jacket, I know they're expensive, but I haven't found any other cycle specific jackets that offer the same quality AND look ok when going to the pub after work. There are alternatives, but only ones that are in a similar price range or more. For her, although it's massively expensive, she's now cycling to work and it's comparable to two tanks of fuel for the car.

So, yes they are expensive. But, it depends what you're looking for.


I think this captures the difference between cost and value quite well.
I've not got any Rapha stuff (and doubt I ever will) but if you like using it, use it often, and use it till it falls apart rather than changing every season then I think you can easily get your money's worth out of things like this. Especially when you think that people often spaff loads of money on fuel, spendy coffees etc. without a second thought.

posted by Chuck [294 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 12:36

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Quote:
… comparable to two tanks of fuel for the car.

Good point, well put.

posted by ped [149 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 13:07

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I bought one of these in size medium at the Rapha Store in Soho last week with my xmas vouchers for £150. There are still some left in store even though its sold out online. For those who live in london and want one of these, its probably worth giving the store a ring.

posted by Scoob_84 [106 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 13:16

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Quote:
Paris-Brest-Paris.....1,200km Audax, that inspired the creation of the jersey ......... it takes anywhere from 50 to 90 hours to complete

Or 91 hours and 40 minutes in my case but I was wearing a cheap polyester technical T-shirt so that might have been where I went wrong.

posted by slugwash [27 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 14:55

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Whilst it looks nice, the London price make me laugh! And to be honest I'd be somewhat embarrassed wearing something that expensive.

Don't worry if it's out of your budget too, there are loads of other options which do the job equally as well for a fraction of the price, you'll cycle just as far just as fast, and no one will think you're a city banker..............

posted by caaad10 [91 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 16:16

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Darkerside wrote:
Saw a couple on LEL, and was pretty jealous. Reflectives were certainly picked out in my lights, and give I'm lower down on a recumbent I reckon car drivers would have no problem at all.

I have one of these jersey's and I can assure you that the reflective stripes light up light a Xmas tree when you have something like a car light on them. It's great in that the material looks white, and quite normal, by day and them is superb for safety at night. I rode out with this on late last Sunday. Whilst there was still light the bright pink made me feel seen, and in darkness the white bands took over.....(also helped that I have 500 lumens on the front bars).

One correction to the article...this was in last years line up as well, in long sleeve....but did not get restocked until this season. I know because I got mine then.

posted by brackley88 [47 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 16:20

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Nowt wrong with working in a bank...in a city...my mum does...and she cycles...and she is ever so nice.....imagine the reverse: "dont worry if its too cheap for you, there are much more expensive options available that will make you go just as fast and no one will think you work in a factory...."

...and I say that as the grandson of coalminers in south wales....and I wear a ton of Rapha that I enjoy wearing and have worked bloody hard for...and I am not a banker...

posted by brackley88 [47 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 16:23

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I finally took the plunge and coughed up for Rapha - £7.50 for a pair of socks, half price. Think I'll stick at that though. Too cold still to report on their quality but they look pretty in the kit drawer.

BTW why do all the Rapha videos show guys plugging up hills in impossible heat, torrential rain or snowstorms and grimacing? I like to enjoy my cycling.

posted by Bexleyhillbilly [33 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 18:47

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caaad10 wrote:
Whilst it looks nice, the London price make me laugh! And to be honest I'd be somewhat embarrassed wearing something that expensive.

Don't worry if it's out of your budget too, there are loads of other options which do the job equally as well for a fraction of the price, you'll cycle just as far just as fast, and no one will think you're a city banker..............

How would you know how it performs if you're 'too embarrassed to wear it'?

I'm fortunate enough to be of the mindset that I really don't care what other cyclists wear or ride and in turn really don't care what people think about my kit or steeds.

Still. Rest assured it's a brilliant jersey that performs excellently in my horrible Northern weather hundreds of miles from London.

posted by ajmarshal1 [142 posts]
22nd January 2014 - 21:42

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I have the short sleeve version of this and it's my favourite item. Stylish, comfortable and extremely well fitting. Given the fact you get a high-viz as well definitely brings the price down.

Any my other half always goes on about 'cost per wear' - basically the more times you wear something the more value you get. I have a couple of other jerseys I wear very infrequently. This and my other Rapha stuff will get plenty of wear.

Then add on the crash guarantee, helpful service, ebay resale value and then decide if this is an outrageous 'long term' expense.

Cycling is an expensive hobby, like golf, sailing and so on. But these items are meant to last and never go out of fashion.

posted by Shamblesuk [44 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:01

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caaad10 wrote:
Whilst it looks nice, the London price make me laugh! And to be honest I'd be somewhat embarrassed wearing something that expensive.

Don't worry if it's out of your budget too, there are loads of other options which do the job equally as well for a fraction of the price, you'll cycle just as far just as fast, and no one will think you're a city banker..............

I'm not a banker, and I don't live in London – but I do like high quality kit and am more than happy to pay for it.

So off you pop to Lidl, I’ve got EPS to fit to my C59.

posted by iamelectron [93 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:53

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Although I wouldn't be able to justify buying one myself, it's good to see a British company doing well, helping to make cycling an aspirational pastime, and contributing to a reduction in the UK's trade deficit too. For the quality, I personally think it's worthwhile to spend a little more, especially if it enhances the whole cycling experience. So fair play to Rapha, I say.

But dear oh dear, road.cc.

"Rapha has often been (unfairly) criticised for its lack of reflectivity in its clothing, but it has done a superb job of countering such criticism with this combination."

Sorry, but I'm still struggling to stop laughing. Look at the side picture - how much reflective material can you really see? For clarification, look at my avatar, which shows a pic taken from roughly the same angle, and which clearly demonstrates the need for rather more reflective material. Look at the positioning of the rear reflective panel on the gillet - when the rider is "on the rivet", in a streamlined position, just how much of that panel would be seen by drivers? And finally, why is the reflective arm band on the left arm, rather than the right arm? Surely Rapha's renowned attention to detail could extend to knowing that we cycle on the left in the UK? There must be enough margin to have left hand and right hand versions.

As journalists, shouldn't you be raising points like these too? Honestly, this "review" sounded like the sort of stuff spouted by estate agents, and yet some of your reportage is well researched and pulls no punches.

"While stylish isn't perhaps the right word...."

Come on guys, your constant negative quips about reflective clothing, drip fed to impressionable young cyclists and mamils, trying to achieve the "look", is a little depressing frankly.

I know, if everyone wore hi-viz then you'd have less to write about, but instead of cheezy, possibly unwise, comments about hi-viz, why not fill those spare column inches with less controversial copy.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [420 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 18:03

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"Howevet, it does get you a fully equipped..."

I assume "Howevet" is pronounced in much the same way as "Brevet". If so, it sounds very suave and French, and I shall make sure to add it to my repertoire of... words like "repertoire" immediately.

posted by Quince [41 posts]
1st February 2014 - 9:43

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