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Verdict: 
Lightweight, stowable and highly reliable waterproof with a whole heap of style – but a heavyweight price tag
Weight: 
194g
Contact: 
www.rapha.cc
Rapha Rain Jacket
8 10

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.

Verdict

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

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

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

Overall rating: 8/10

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 youthful 45-year-old 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.

11 comments

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handlebarcam [543 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Is it really stylish? Looks like any other off-white cagoule to me. Just because it comes from Rapha, doesn't mean it is automatically the epitome of style.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I've never been a fan of the Rapha black armband thing. Black arm bands mean you're in mourning not that you spend extortionate amounts on Kagouls.

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michophull [126 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

It's very smart but far too expensive for me for something I'll only wear when it's raining.

Can anyone recommend something with a similar cut but a lighter price tag please ? I'd ideally like something which folds up small and isn't a boil-in-the-bag job  39

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demoff [327 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Sorry but it looks like a dishcloth. Should I ever be in the market for a £190 waterproof I want something nicer looking than that.

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davewyman [1 post] 5 years ago
0 likes

First this:

"It's very smart"

Then this:

"Looks like a dishcloth"

There's this:

"Looks like any other off-white cagoule to me"

But then there's this:

"'I've never been a fan of the Rapha black armband thing."

So Rapha's offering looks like ordinary rain gear, but then again, it's unique with it's armband. It's a handsome garment, while at the same time looks like a dishcloth.  37

I'm going with the review and my own experience with Rapha kit. It's expensive, it looks unique, and it works.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

hold the front page: 'Differing opinions expressed on internet forum shock'

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dave atkinson [6144 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

differing opinions about rapha, too. what're the odds?  4

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RouleurTwo [20 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

It does work and work very well but it does need reproofing after a few soakings and a wash or two. The arms are particularly vulnerable. That probably applies to all "waterproof" clothing. But it is by far the most breathable of any waterproof garment i've owned and like all Rapha products is thoroughly well thought out. I fear the tester has not had it long term and when you invest 200 quid in a rain jacket you need to know-how long it will last so the "test" ain't that valid. I'm about to reproof. I'll post results.

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Mat Brett [599 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

We've tested this jacket on a hydrostatic tester, put it through the washing machine five times and retested it on a hydrostatic tester. We've worn it over a period of several months in the UK and ridden in it over Peyresourde, Aspin, Soulor, Aubisque, Tourmalet and Osquich.

Every waterproof needs reproofing after several washes to replace the DWR coating that gets washed off.

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step-hent [718 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Any ideas on what best to use for reproofing? Mine needs doing after about 9 months use. Has been great up to this point and is wearing very well (meaning, not showing signs of wear).

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italiafirenze [70 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Don't you tumble dry some of them to reproof?