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Verdict: 
A lovely warm and windproof jersey packed with details, just don't look at the price...
Weight: 
395g
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Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey
8 10

If what you want for winter cycling is a thermal long sleeve jersey with the cosy insulation and softness of merino wool, backed up by fully windproof front-facing panels for providing a barrier against windchill, then look no further than the Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey. It sure is expensive but it's a superbly made luxurious winter jersey.

  • Pros: Blocks the wind, superb quality, fit, comfort
  • Cons: Very expensive

It's a very simple jersey, but it's a simplicity that works wonderfully on the bike at this time of year. A long-sleeve merino wool blend provides ample warmth for chilly autumnal/wintry rides while a windproof material is seamlessly stitched to the chest and arms. It's how well it's put together and performs in unpredictable weather at this time of year that marks it out as an excellent choice.

> Buy this online here

The windblock fabric ensures adequate shielding from sharp cold winds and also a reasonable degree of shower protection, while the non-covered back panels let excess heat escape. I found it managed temperature really well, keeping a steady and comfortable microclimate around my upper body on cold rides with lots of wind and hills.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - riding.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - riding.jpg

Of course, what the Windblock jersey does is replicate the old gilet over a jersey combination. There are benefits to the integration of windproof material though, the most notable being that your arms are also covered as well, which a gilet obviously doesn't. So more protection when it's cold and windy.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - lining.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - lining.jpg

It's also quieter than a gilet and you can still access your pockets – a good thing on long rides – and there's better heat management because your back is covered only by merino. It just makes dressing before a ride easier and quicker.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - back.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - back.jpg

As with most Rapha clothing, it's made to a very high standard, which is just as well considering the price. Take the seams: they're pressed and bonded to provide additional protection in these vulnerable areas and feel very comfortable as well. The cuffs are angled and sit nicely around the wrists and work well with the assortment of long-finger gloves I tested the top with.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - cuff.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - cuff.jpg

There's also a high collar for neck warmth and a hole in the rear pocket to thread a headphone cable through with a couple of loops to hold it in place.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - collar.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - collar.jpg

There are pockets galore: three regular rear pockets provide ample storage capacity, and are well positioned to make accessing contents easy (I've found the pockets on some Rapha jerseys too high; these are perfect). Then there are two zipped pockets, one on the back and one at the front. Yay for zipped pockets! The rear one has a large O-ring puller so it's easy to use with gloves.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - pocket.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - pocket.jpg

You have a choice of three colours; black, rich burgundy and the chartreuse pictured here. The latter is a good pick for providing extra visibility on gloomy days, though it certainly won't prevent close passes... There's a sprinkling of reflective details for nighttime riding.

The fit and sizing are very good. That's a size small in the photo and it's a looser fit than Rapha's racier Pro Team range and compares well with its other Classic and Core clothing. It's reasonably close fitting, enough that it isn't baggy and the pockets don't sag, but roomy enough for a thicker baselayer and for leisurely ride comfort.

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - pockets.jpg

Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey - pockets.jpg

There's an obvious similarity to the Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock jersey, which also combines wind-blocking front panels with a merino-based jersey. The key difference between the two is in the thickness of the merino jersey. The Brevet has a lighter construction, making it better suited to early autumn and late spring. In my testing I found the Windblock jersey was warmer on cold rides, making it a better choice for winter riding.

It's really good for mild to chilly weather as it manages heat and sweat well, and you can play about with your baselayer to straddle a wide range of temperature and weather conditions. It can also perform a mid-layer role and be paired with a hardshell jacket when you need extra protection. I wore it with a waterproof jacket for a very cold and saturated 100km ride recently and I finished warm and dry.

> Buyer's Guide: 10 of the best winter cycling jerseys

What the Windblock does is provide the protection of a windproof jacket and the warmth of a merino jersey, and is better value than buying each separately, as you certainly could do.

I'd liken the performance, fit, comfort and insulation to the Sportful R&D Strato. The Sportful has the benefit of zipped vents at the front, and the arms are not covered so it's more breathable in warmer weather. Both are very good at providing insulation and wind protection for autumn, winter and spring riding.

At £160 it's really top whack, and £40 more than the Strato, but I love the chartreuse colour for providing extra brightness without melting your retinas, the fit, comfort and quality are of the highest order, and the zipped pockets are definite pros in my book.

Verdict

A lovely warm and windproof jersey packed with details, just don't look at the price...

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Winter Windblock Jersey

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says: "Protecting against wind chill is the first step for any winter cyclist. Made using a windproof fabric on the chest, shoulders and arm panels, the Classic Winter Windblock Jersey is ideal for those cooler weekend rides and chilly training sessions. All the internal seams are pressed and bonded to provide further protection against the wind, while a breathable merino blend helps to keep your temperature regulated when working hard. A drawcord with adjusters on each side makes the hem of the jersey adjustable to lock in heat, and reflective tabs on the wrists and pockets provide visibility in darker conditions. Classic styling meets winter versatility."

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

Rapha lists:

Windproof

Reflective elements

Debossed logo on arm band

Drawcord on hem

Three cargo pockets

Zipped side pocket

Headphone loops

Merino wool blend

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Extremely well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Provides brilliant cold weather warmth and windchill protection. Also works as a mid-layer.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Has been just fine so far.

Rate the product for fit:
 
10/10

Fit is perfect.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

The merino wool is soft next to the skin and very comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's very expensive, even compared with rivals – including Rapha's own Windproof Brevet (though there are differences) – but it's two tops in one, a merino jersey and half a wind jacket...

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

Very easy to look after, goes through a regular wash just fine.

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

Protects and insulates you on cold winter rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfortable, warm, great fit, zipped pockets and bright yellow!

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's expensive compared with other tops that offer similar performance.

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 overall score

The Windblock is a lovely jersey that does everything you want in a winter top. If it wasn't so expensive it would rate a bit higher, but it's hard to ignore the price when there are cheaper tops that work just as well

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.

4 comments

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Rapha Nadal [679 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

I don't understand how this jersey appears to be so yellow in pics but it's more closer to green when it arrives in the post?!

Cracking jersey, and blooming warm, but I miss the vent zips of the old version.

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Freddy56 [280 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

my deepest condolences for your loss.

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TheSmallRing [1 post] 1 week ago
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£160 is on par with other good quality windproof jerseys. 

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Paul__M [39 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I'd still remain with a jersey with meshback gillet, cause that can be stashed and so covers a wider range of use. But if your wardrobe and piggy bank are big enough...