The long sleeve jersey from Rapha is primarily designed as a piece for autumn and winter training and racing use. It is constructed from ‘merino rich’ Sportwool fabric (52% merino/48% polyester), and is designed to have the temperature maintenance and odour resistance properties of merino, together with the higher moisture wicking capacity of synthetics.
It’s a very attractive looking jersey, available in three colours, with the petrol blue/peacock type “blue” being particularly fetching. All are accented by the signature Rapha armband on the left sleeve. The outer of the fabric has a pleasant sheen to it, without being overtly shiny and the overall effect is stylish but understated.
The cut is well proportioned, with good length in the torso and sleeves, meaning it should suit a variety of heights without too many problems. Sizing available covers a pretty diverse range of women’s builds, and the size Medium I tried was spot on for a good 12. The fit is neat and contoured without being oversnug, and lends itself well to the possibility of layering. Cuffs are broad and comfortable, and are capable of being pushed up the arm a bit if overwarm. The collar is a good height and soft to wear, with no zip chafing. Hem grippers do a good job of preventing the jersey from riding up the body, even when down on the drops for a protracted period. There’s also a hem drawcord which does seem slightly like overkill with the neatish fit at the hem anyway.
Features include three classic gently elasticated pockets at the rear, with the central one containing a nifty pump sleeve and one of the others houses an eyelet for an MP3 headphone cable, should you be someone who likes tunes while you ride. The right hand pocket also has an extra zipped pocket with protection against moisture, a decent enough size to house all but the very largest smartphone. There’s a reflective tag at the bottom of the zip pocket too.
Created for stand alone use with coldish conditions in mind, the jersey is ideal for autumn riding. It will however, happily cope with a variety of temperatures and conditions, either layered up underneath, or over the top, or possibly both when the mercury really drops. The merino mix fabric is soft next to the skin, but wicks moisture well and dries fast enough to maintain a good stable riding temperature. In use it was comfortable and pleasant to wear, and with a reasonably versatile level of warmth and insulation.
It’s well made and with great attention to detail, but ultimately, £130 is looking a lot for a 3 season jersey, when other products, using similar fabrics and aimed at a similar purpose are much cheaper, such as the Shutt VR top at £89 and even the more expensive Smartwool only coming in at £105. There’s only so much you can do with a jersey, and this one does it all, but still doesn’t warrant the extra money I’m afraid.
All the bells and whistles, but ultimately still just a straightforward long sleeved jersey, and as such, it looks expensive.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: M
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?
Aimed at female road riders and racers for autumn and winter training.
On its own, better suited to autumn use, but with layering ideal for a variety of conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made from Sportwool (52% merino/48% polyester)
Fully lined zip with lockdown puller
Large cargo pockets
Pump sleeve pocket
zipped valuables pocket with lining
Gripper at hem
Sizes XXS-XL (approx UK6-16)
3 colours- Blue, cream, black
Really well made with good quality components
Nice quality fabric with good surface should repel pulls and snags.
Merino content will protect against odour accumulation.
Neither light nor heavy weight. Merino based fabrics are rarely as light as their synthetic counterparts.
Very comfortable to wear, whether next to skin or as part of layering system.
Looking very expensive when compared with jerseys using similar technology and fabrics.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Was extremely comfortable, maintained a good temperature, well cut and generally did what it was supposed to.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fabric, colour, style, features, attention to detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, given the extra cost involved over other similar products.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Extremely well made, nicely cut and implemented design with good looks and style, but just costs too much for what you get.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,