First things first: this jacket works. The first time we used it was on a 200-mile super-mountainous ride in the Pyrenees when it rained for hours on end, and it kept the water out without any trouble. A couple of months, several wet rides and a few spins through the washing machine later and it’s still doing the business.
Rapha’s Rain Jacket is made from slightly stretchy nylon with a textured inner coating that doesn’t easily stick to your skin if you wear it over a short-sleeved jersey. It will eventually become tacky, but not instantly. The fabric does a top job of stopping the rain getting in and the most exposed seams have high-quality taping to prevent leakage. The narrow side and underarm panels are less waterproof and the seams here aren’t taped although, to be fair, rain and spray don’t come directly at these areas all that often.
The cut is slim so you won’t be bothered by flapping – even if you’re heading down the Tourmalet – and the fact that the fabric has a bit of give means it doesn’t feel restrictive when you’re stretched out. The tail and arms are long to keep you fully covered and the neck is high and close fitting to prevent any draughts creeping in up there.
Rapha always do details well. The full-length water resistant zip, for example, is offset and comes with a fleece-lined guard so you don’t get scratched underneath your chin. The neoprene cuffs are interesting too, keeping your wrists warm and cold air out, although you can’t open them up if the climate inside gets humid. The hem drawcord is one-hand adjustable and the rear pocket – which, again, has a waterproof zip – is big enough to hold your wallet, keys, spare inner tube and so on. Reflective logos and a little bit of reflective piping add to your visibility too.
Breathability is pretty good, the fabric itself letting a lot of sweaty vapour through, especially those side and underarm panels. There are no extra vents, though, so you rely on the front zip for most of your air conditioning.
Our large-sized jacket weighs in at a reasonable 194g, and when you don’t want it on, it’ll roll up small enough to slot into a jersey pocket without any trouble. That makes it suitable for sporty types on fast road rides – or anyone else who just wants to travel light. It’s certainly become our rain jacket of choice over the past few weeks – and we’ve got loads to choose from because they tend to last yonks.
There’s a big-eared, long-trunked herbivore in the room, though, in the shape of the price tag. £190? That’s very nearly a quid a gram! Is this jacket worth it? Depends what you’re after. You can get a similar level of performance for much less cash. If you’re after a bargain, this ain’t the one.
But this is a cool-looking waterproof ¬– and that’s not an oxymoron in this case. Plus, it’s made to a really high standard. If you’re as interested in style as you are in function, then take a good look. Go for the grey version rather than the cream, though, if you’re the fussy type – and, let’s face it, you are. Light-coloured clothing on wet rides? It won’t stay pretty for long.
Lightweight, stowable and highly reliable waterproof with a whole heap of style – but a heavyweight price tag
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Rain Jacket
Size tested: Large, cream
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Too pricey for me
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 39 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.