Rapha's Pro Team Jersey is a light and airy performance top with some well thought out features, it's also Rapha's first foray away from Sportwool and in to synthetics, even so there's the usual Rapha caveat: it doesn't come cheap.
Most of the panels on the Pro Team jersey are made from a lightweight polyester/polyurethane fabric that allows good ventilation and wicks sweat well. It doesn't cling to your body much when it does get damp and dries out really fast - one quick descent usually does the trick.
There are lots of mesh areas too. The side panels are mesh, extending right around to the underside of the sleeves, as are the cuffs, the lower back below the pockets, and most of the collar. These areas let air through virtually unhindered and, again, they don't get clammy even when you're piling on the power in hot weather. The collar is low cut - in cycling jersey terms - extending just a couple of centimetres higher than the main body of the jersey and the full-length front zip provides yet more cooling when you need it.
The cut is race-orientated so there's no excess fabric to flap in the wind, and all the panels are very stretchy so you don't suffer any discomfort from that figure-hugging fit. In fact, this is a really comfy jersey all round. The seams on the raglan shoulders, for example, are bonded rather than stitched so you can barely feel them at all.
You get a few neat little finishing details too. The elasticated waistband comes with a silicone gripper inside that keeps it in place pretty well and there's an elastic loop in one of the rear pockets for holding a mini pump. It's just a small thing but I found it really handy. There's an internal zipped pocket around the back as well for holding your phone, keys, cash or whatever.
Sometimes, when you put a lot in the rear pockets of a stretchy jersey, the back gets pulled down really low, but I didn't find that here. It sticks at the right height even with a full cargo on board.
The Pro Team jersey features an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial treatment. It's silver ion technology; you'll sometimes find something similar in socks, helmet pads and so on, and there's good science to say that it works. After several weeks of use, this jersey certainly hasn't developed that lingering locker room smell associated with the buildup of bacteria.
The Coldblack technology used in the dye is designed to absorb less heat than usual too. That's impossible to quantify unless you have one jersey that features it and one without. For whatever reason, this is a notably cool jersey, though, so who's complaining?
The Pro Team Jersey is also available in cream with a black armband - a reverse of the model pictured - and in Rapha Condor Sharp team colours (same price).
Neat styling and classy features in a lightweight performance jersey
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Jersey
Size tested: Black, large
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 say, "A lightweight, high-performance race jersey cut for an aggressive position on the bike. Developed in close collaboration with Rapha Condor Sharp pros, the jersey is made from high-wicking technical fabric that incorporates coldblack technology. Used specifically for this jersey, the fabric's dyestuff absorbs less heat, staying cool against the skin in hot weather. Mesh side and rear panels give added breathability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The fabric has a sun protection factor of 50+.
I found the jersey a touch loose at the waist, although that's because it was a little too short in the body for me.
There are more expensive short sleeve jerseys out there from the likes of Assos, De Marchi and Castelli, although this is definitely a pricey option. You could get a cycle jersey for £30 if you like; it depends what you're after. As well as the impressive fabrics and features, you're also paying for the Rapha styling and branding; whether you think those things are worth paying for is down to you.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a very good jersey for hot weather riding - no doubt about that.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the fact that it kept me cool and comfy even when going full-on up the climbs.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I needed the body to be a couple of centimetres longer or the waistband a couple of centimetres tighter - but that's just a matter of personal fit. Go to http://www.rapha.cc/pro-team-jersey/#sizing to make sure you get the right size.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I probably wouldn't spend this much on a summer jersey, even a very good one. Maybe as a treat
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they had the cash
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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.