Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey  £100.00

8/10

Light and comfortable jersey for hot days

Weight 140g   Contact  www.rapha.cc

by zzgavin   August 21, 2014  

Rapha, that Marmite of cycling brands, make the Super Lightweight jersey for the heat of summer. I rode in it on a few hot days in the UK in July and August. With temperatures up to 30°C it handled the conditions it is designed for with aplomb. It feels like a base layer with pockets; light and comfortable, perfect for hard riding on sunny days.

The Rapha Super Lightweight jersey is all one colour, a very bright yellow in this case, with different fabrics used in specific places. Rapha say these are proprietary synthetic fabrics developed exclusively for them. They have treated the fabric with anti-bacterial coating, which means it doesn't start to smell like a plain polyester jersey can do in summer.

The materials are really comfortable and the jersey fit my body well and stayed in place with a decent gripper on the base. The sleeves are a looser cut than I expected and hemmed, rather than being the laser-cut close-fitting fabric of more racy jerseys. The sleeves contribute to the light feel of the jersey and they don't seem to flap noticeably when riding. Under the arms there are large sections of mesh to aid cooling and the jersey is noticeably shorter in the body compared to a regular jersey, which keeps your midriff cooler.

There are the usual three pockets on the back and these are taller than normal pockets, making up for the lightweight nature of the fabric. So a pump is easily contained in the middle pocket without the typical Rapha pump pocket. I found the carrying capacity of the jersey a bit compromised compared to jerseys made from a heavier material. Items in the pockets of any jersey have a tendency to pull it down at the back. The lightness of the fabric exacerbates this and the jersey can pull at the front of the collar, which is quite tight and is quite high compared to a stock summer jersey. There is an unfortunate trade off between having things in your pockets and having the zip done up, but given the hot conditions it is aimed at, this is less of a drawback than expected.

I felt cool and dry wearing this jersey in situations when I know I would normally be feeling hot and bothered. Whether working hard on my own on a hot summer's day in the Essex lanes; pretending I'm in Le Tour; or fast loops at the local road circuit the jersey felt comfortable.

The only real problem is that, because of the mesh construction, the jersey is not rated for sun protection, unlike most jerseys that have an SPF 50 rating. This means that you do need to put on sun screen on your upper body, especially the shoulders and upper arms. Remember those pictures of a sunburned Chris Froome earlier this year? He was using a skinsuit made from a much lighter fabric but there is still a risk of sun burn from the mesh fabric used in this jersey, especially on the bony areas of the shoulders.

The Rapha Super Lightweight jersey is also somewhat see through. I tested the Chartreuse or fluorescent yellow colour, though, which doesn't suffer from this as much as the white version. It's also available in pale blue and there are matching lightweight bib shorts for each colour.

Verdict

Light and comfortable jersey for hot days

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey

Size tested: Medium

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?

Very lightweight jersey for hot and humid conditions

With a newly refined pocket construction for more stability and support, the Super-Lightweight is designed for riding in the heat of summer. Made from three synthetic technical fabrics developed exclusively for Rapha, the main body material is comfortable against the skin as you perspire and also fast drying. Mesh side panels add more breathability and soft cuffs and collar maintain comfort.

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

Extremely lightweight proprietary Fabrics

Rear pockets with reinforced construction

Breathable mesh side panels

Highly breathable with exceptional moisture transfer

Anti-bacterial treatment

Weight of medium size jersey: 125g

Shoulder panels positioned for a better on bike fit

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

A bit tight around the neck, but comfortable elsewhere, deliberately short in the body

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Cool on hot days and stable to ride in, deep pockets for keeping your stuff safe

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Washes well and still looks as new, does not seem to pluck or mark

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

Really quite light at 125g, but not the lightest out there.

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

Nearly a ten for comfort, just the tightness at the neck knocking a point off for me.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

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

Good jersey for riding in hot days.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Cool feeling of the fabrics against my skin, decent pockets.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Lack of sun protection, tightness at collar.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, looking forward to riding in France wearing it.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Reasonably good value for money, if on the expensive side, the materials are genuinely cooling to wear compared to other jerseys.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 193cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Condor terra-x  My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Brompton

 

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

At £70 in the sale at the moment, a 'relative' bargain.

posted by sorebones [111 posts]
21st August 2014 - 15:13

19 Likes

Brilliant jersey. Not quite as lightweight as the castelli climbers jersey, but works well in anything up to 35 degrees. It also works well as a practical jersey you can wear on any ride, which the castelli climbers doesn't as the pockets aren't great and it's completely see through!

posted by samwstraw [27 posts]
21st August 2014 - 16:30

20 Likes

Bit late to be reviewing lightweight summer jerseys isn't it?

posted by TheDoctor [79 posts]
21st August 2014 - 17:16

25 Likes

Surely the best time to review something is when you've used it for its intended purpose? Anyway stock up now for the Indian Summer/next year as the sale's on.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [563 posts]
21st August 2014 - 18:14

1 Like

Just be glad they got the review out before the item was discontinued.

posted by Nick T [818 posts]
21st August 2014 - 18:19

14 Likes

One thing that bugs me on mine is the sleeves, like all the regular Rapha jerseys the cut suits a more relaxed position - when you give it the beans with your teeth on the bar, the sleeves ride up like no ones business. I also managed to snag the wafér thin fabric on the first trip.

posted by Nick T [818 posts]
21st August 2014 - 18:27

16 Likes

Nick T wrote:
One thing that bugs me on mine is the sleeves, like all the regular Rapha jerseys the cut suits a more relaxed position - when you give it the beans with your teeth on the bar, the sleeves ride up like no ones business. I also managed to snag the wafér thin fabric on the first trip.

That's my experience as well. I've been using mine since spring and it has been great for the heat and humidity here in Texas, but it's already got loads of snags on it and looks a bit tatty now. I'd go for one of Rapha's sportwool jerseys every time, but it's just too bloody hot here. Horses for courses, I suppose.

posted by pwake [310 posts]
21st August 2014 - 19:48

9 Likes

The wife has one and she loves it. I have the Castelli climbers jersey (good in its own way), but this is way cooler (looking).

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1175 posts]
21st August 2014 - 19:55

15 Likes

Have one in blue with white stripe. It's my favourite Summer jersey but recently had an issue on a sleeve where the tissue has been slightly damaged by a contact with a bush.
It's no doubt the most elegant cycling jersey around.

Fabio/NW Italy

posted by fpollero [2 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 6:41

3 Likes

Depends on which hemisphere you live in Wink Rapha's sales do tend to come around at exactly the right time down here.

davecochrane's picture

posted by davecochrane [102 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 8:39

4 Likes

It's cool!!!, but a little expensive, for me. Wave

posted by xoldi [1 posts]
27th August 2014 - 12:20

1 Like

Just under a pound per gram for fancy polyester. F hell. I like nice stuff but this doesn't even look good!

posted by BeatPoet [5 posts]
4th September 2014 - 22:04

0 Likes

Why the black arm band?.. are you going to funeral?

posted by Mick Tray [1 posts]
19th September 2014 - 14:55

0 Likes

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