Following on from the success of Rapha's first female specific products last year, the company have released a few more items into the wild one of which is the short sleeved Women's Club Jersey. This is a quarter zip companion to the Women's Classic Jersey, and comes with a few different new features, and without others (no arm warmers).
Made predominantly from Sportwool fabric (40% merino/60% polyester) to give the best of both merino and synthetic performance, the Club Jersey is soft and wearable next to skin, but designed to wick moisture quickly and effectively when required. The jersey also features a mesh 'eyelet' fabric down the sides and around the arms for additional ventilation and moisture transfer in hotter conditions. Three pockets at the back make for useful storage space, the central one of which contains a pump sleeve and there's a small zipped valuables pocket to one side. The rear half of the hem has a gripper tape to keep the top secure, and there's a reflective tab. The cut is slightly more relaxed than that of the Classic, but still contoured and streamlined, with a shaped tail. It's a design that could suit every style of ride, from weekend fitness rides through to long events and races.
There's no denying this is a good looking jersey, with low key 'serious' rider looks. Matched with that though, is a genuinely good level of performance. The top breathes well, keeps the body magnificently stable in temperature, no matter what the ups or downs and shifts dampness quickly. The mesh panels are very effective in hotter conditions. As a result, this is a jersey that could happily see wear in spring, summer or even warmer autumn conditions. The merino content of the fabric does mean it 'fluffs' slightly, but that's part of the character of wool, and the Club has a much softer, and more pleasant feel than the Classic I tried last year.
Is it worth £95? That's hard to say. It's well designed and beautifully made, with some great attention to detail. Plus it gives great ride comfort, to the extent that you barely notice its existence. It's available at the moment (August 2011) in Rapha's summer sale at £65 and I'd say it's definitely worth that.
A superbly comfortable jersey made from a very wearable fabric. Nicely featured and well cut.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Women's Club Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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 riders seeking comfort and performance in the heat of summer.
Fabric breathes well enough and keeps body temperature sufficiently stable to be useable in Spring and Autumn conditions too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sportwool fabric main body (40% merino/60% polyester)
Wool/synthetic blend mesh 'eyelet' fabric at sides and around arms.
3 rear pockets (central one with pump sleeve)
1 zipped security pocket (lined)
Quarter length front zip
Rear half of hem with gripper
Available in sizes XXS-XL (UK6-16)
Really well made using excellent materials and components.
So comfortable during riding that you don't give a thought to what you're wearing. Wicks moisture well and merino content regulates body temperature effectively.
Merino content does make fabric go a little 'fuzzy' but purely cosmetic. Washed correctly, this jersey should last for years.
Heavier than some summer weight jerseys but merino and synthetic blend fabric gives superior hot weather comfort even so.
Expensive, but an investment that will see a lot of use and give many happy comfortable rides.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, cut, fabric, details
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, apart from the price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. Especially in the sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. Or buy as a gift.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Well featured, well made and extraordinarily comfortable.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
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,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.