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Verdict: 
Want to go faster? Rapha's revised Aero Jersey might help you, but at a cost...
Weight: 
116g
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Rapha Pro Team Aero Jersey
8 10

Rapha first moved into the aero clothing arena with its Pro Team Aero Jersey developed in conjunction with Team Sky two years ago, and for this season the jersey has been completely updated with new sleeves and revised pockets. It's a very close fitting and fast feeling jersey that doesn't sacrifice comfort in pursuit of low drag, and performs well in hot weather.

Updates to the new version include new sleeves, which have a textured material that Rapha says creates turbulent flow. Rapha has wind tunnel tested the jersey but hasn't released any figures on its improvement over the old design.

> Buy this online here

Long sleeves are fashionable at the moment and these are the longest short sleeves I've yet tested. They're comfortable but they really mess up your tan lines! There's a large Rapha logo on one sleeve that is certainly bolder than we're used to seeing from the British company.

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - sleeve.jpg

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - sleeve.jpg

A large part of the jersey's aero performance comes down simply to the close fit. Rapha describes it as having an 'aggressive, race-ready aero fit' and that's certainly the case when you first slip into it. Rapha has shaped and stitched together the various panels to ensure the Aero Jersey hugs every contour of the body, and the very stretchy fabric enhances the way it conforms to your body. A smooth fabric is used on the front and back panels, and all seams are offset to reduce drag. There are no ripples of excess fabric to catch the wind.

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - back.jpg

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - back.jpg

The fit is good and isn't overly compromised because of the focus on aerodynamics – it's not quite as restrictive as stretching on a skin suit, for example, but it's not quite as relaxed as a regular jersey. For that reason it's a jersey you'll want to wear when racing or riding as fast as possible, say in a chaingang or very fast club run, although, that said, I found it comfortable for a 100km ride the other day... But it certainly wouldn't be my first pick for a steady social ride. It's tighter fitting than most regular jerseys, but compares well to other aero jerseys.

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - riding.jpg

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - riding.jpg

A close-cut collar fits seamlessly when the smooth glide Vislon zipper is done all the way up. It looks a bit 'un-aero' when you're standing up, but that's because the jersey has been designed to fit perfectly when you're sitting on the bike, and when you are hunched over the handlebar the collar is a lot more comfortable than when standing upright for a photoshoot.

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - collar.jpg

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - collar.jpg

Rapha has also revised the pockets, with a gusseted construction for the three at the rear that provides more than enough capacity for your essentials and avoids any sagging. An extra zipped pocket is ideal for safely storing the keys to your house/car. There's also reflective piping and a mesh panel below the pockets to help with visibility and cooling respectively.

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - pockets.jpg

Rapha PRO TEAM AERO JERSEY - pockets.jpg

As with all Rapha jerseys, the Pro Team Aero isn't cheap, but the price does reflect the research and development that has gone into the jersey, and the quality of the fabrics, construction and finish are right up there with its most expensive rivals in this sector. You can, though, pick up the Castelli Aero Race jersey for £100 (and probably cheaper if you shop around).

> Buyer's Guide: 15 of the best summer cycling jerseys

I recently tested the Pro Team Flyweight Jersey, which costs £10 less and is lighter too. It offers a slightly more relaxed fit, with looser sleeves, that makes it a more sensible choice for long rides when you're not focusing on being as fast as possible. Both jerseys perform well in the heat, and there's not much to separate them. If you have the money, I'd suggest picking the Flyweight for casual riding and the Aero for racing and fast riding.

Verdict

Want to go faster? Rapha's revised Aero Jersey might help you, but at a cost...

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Aero Jersey

Size tested: Small

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?

Rapha says: "Developed using wind-tunnel sessions with professional riders and then ridden to victory at the world's greatest races, the Pro Team Aero Jersey is the most aerodynamic cycling jersey Rapha has ever made. With an aggressive 'aero fit' suited to racing in the drops, this jersey is designed for high speed training and competing in warm to hot conditions. Upgraded features for 2017 include a high-stretch woven mesh fabric (same as the Pro Team Long Sleeve Aero Jersey) that offers a more comfortable fit on the arms than the 2016 version, a VISLON® zip that is easier to use with one hand and a smartly gusseted triple rear pocket construction that expands to store more ride essentials. A reflective piping is included on the rear, as is a breathable mesh panel under the pockets to help with airflow and temperature regulation.

"Rapha worked with a world-leading aerodynamicist in early 2016 to ensure the fast performance of the jersey. The front and back fabric is smooth and dense to help improve airflow, while longer short sleeves made of the textured mesh fabric create 'turbulent flow'. This breaks up the air where the arms encounter wind resistance, thus enabling more efficient motion. Offset seam positioning and minimal pattern pieces reduce drag further, as does a close fit. This cycling jersey represents the leading edge of Rapha's performance technology, and the beautiful science of speed."

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

Rapha lists these features:

Jersey weight: 127 grams (size medium)

High-stretch, smooth performance fabric on body

Aerodynamic stretch textured sleeves for speed and comfort

Triple rear pocket with smart gusseted stitching for greater storage space

Mesh panel inside rear pockets for improved ventilation

VISLON® zip for smooth glide and easy one-handed operation

Aggressive, race-ready 'aero fit'

Close-cut race fit collar

Offset seams placed at back of jersey to reduce drag

Reflective piping on rear pocket

Large rubber print Rapha logo on left arm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

There are more affordable aero jersey options available...

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Even this light blue is easy to look after, it doesn't mark easily and goes through a regular wash.

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

Feels and looks fast!

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's comfortable despite the close fit, and if you feel fast then you'll be faster, right?

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Long sleeves mess up your tan lines...

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Aero jerseys aren't for everyone, but if you value speed and want to reduce your drag, the Rapha Aero Jersey is a very good option.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

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, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

12 comments

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [864 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Valbrona wrote:

I think the Bangledeshi child labourers that might have made this got the neck measurements a little wrong, perhaps confusing their cm's and ins.

 

You didn't read the review or look very closely at all of the photos did you?

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don simon [2301 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

What is it with these long short sleeved shirts?

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Chris Hayes [251 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

I'm saving my money for the forthcoming Emporer's Aero Jersey....woven from the most technical thread, so light, so aero and made from such beautiful colours that only the discerable cyclist can see it..... Of course, the benefits are totally invisible to the masses....

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drosco [428 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

Further weight savings from your wallet.

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matthewn5 [1201 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

First longer socks, now longer sleeves? What next?

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abedfo [11 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

"But at a cost...." shock, the mark up on these jerseys is unreal.

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Leviathan [3057 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Can we have some more realistic target market 90kg models. (Free samples welcome.)

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velo-nh [156 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I like half-sleeve jerseys.  For some reason, they tend to fit skinnier guys like me whereas the traditional shorter short-sleeve ones fit too loose and lead to jersey ballooning.

 

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bendertherobot [1520 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Honest question. What's the offset of the wrinkles in the jersey compared to the increased flow of the sleeves?

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StoopidUserName [448 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

£105 in the sale...

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hughsain [18 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Spexcel do a very flattering imitation in a multitude of colours for <£20.

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asdfqwerty [40 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

In defence of longer sleeves, I have them on some (not Rapha) kit and find them more comfortable and better fitting than short sleeves.