Before I start talking about the Rapha City Rain jacket here's a large space for all you Rapha haters to fill without having to make the effort of scrolling down to the bottom to the comments section and saving you the bother of even reading the review (actually they will have scroll down to the bottom - ed - so might as well read the review on the way… except on Facebook where they can jump straight in… i'll stop now).
Right then, now that's out of the way, the Rapha Rain Jacket comes to you inside a really quite vibrant pink waterproof draw-stringed storage bag so whilst resting between jobs it can rattle around protected inside a courier bag, Rapha say it's to keep the jacket from damaging other belongings in your luggage but it's more likely to stop it being scuffed, frottaged and covered in awkward sandwich stains, or to stop the jacket getting tainted by any cheap tat you might put in there with it.
The jacket is obviously designed to be ridden in, the rear is tailored long for fit on the bike and there's a zipped stowaway pocket back there hiding a storm tail that can be pulled out for extra protection against spray, and because it's in the same vibrant pink as the storage bag, extra visibility too. The storm tail also has a reflective Rapha logo printed on it so you can let the headlights of those who trail in your wake know how much you've spent on your jacket. And let's not forget it's farrrrrr more stylish than plebeian mudguards. All of this is kept cinched tight to the waist with an elastic drawstring on the hem.
The arms are long enough to not leave a wrist-gap when stretched out on the bars and the cuffs are tailored to extend down the back of the hand for further coverage and secured with a Velcro wrist-strap. It took until the third ride to notice that the wrist strap is reversible with the alternate side being in contrasting neon pink reflective material, oh my. A little note of stylish safety, especially when indicating, and it matches the bum-flap. Internally the ends of the arms have light neoprene baffles for extra warmth and to stem the flow of cold and water past the wrists. Nice.
The collar is cut high up onto the neck, fitting right under the chin and all the way along the hair line at the back providing as weatherproof barrier round the neck as you can without resorting to a dry-suit. For comfort the waterproof zip is offset to the right so it doesn't rub annoyingly under the chin and it has flaps both inside and out to further halt wind and rain, while the inside of the collar is lined with a lightweight fleece. Snuggly.
Despite the claims of a high breathability fabric extra ventilation is provided by vents between the shoulders underneath storm-flaps and a perforation of holes under the armpits, again protected by a flap.
Storage is minimal on the Rain Jacket, there's a single pocket in the front on the left, understated and just right for putting gloves in when at the cashpoint or keys once the bike is locked, there's a small internal chest pocket that's about the right size for some credit cards and other small valuables. Out back there's a single right-handed pocket, with a waterproof ring-pull zip for ease of fumbling, again, it's not a large pocket, just there for essentials and the Rapha essential/pointless bit of sewn-in bon mot.
Also wonderfully minimal is the branding, with the just the Rapha logo embossed on the left sleeve, the dark blue is a colour that works better in the pub or office than on the bike where a lighter colour might be nicer for dim days, dark nights and myopic motorists. It's perfect however for those who want to look smart on the bike, or have to look tidy wherever they arrive without draping dripping faded and grubby dayglo yellow-wear, moist from both the inside and out over the back of the door. It's the sort of thing they can manage in other countries whilst cycling, why can't we do it here?
The Rapha City Rain Jacket has clearly been designed by someone that has had enough of wet and rainy city riding and commuting, everything fits just–so and all the damp gaps in the other rain jacket's armour have been plugged by this Rapha one. The neck sits high enough to stop those annoying rain drops that fall straight down the back of the neck on more capacious garments, the arms are long enough to prevent that cold and tedious inch of wrist-gap left by those jackets designed by someone that doesn't get in the drops and the overall cut of the City Rain Jacket is snug enough that it doesn't flap about in the wind and rain, yet roomy enough to fit 'normal' clothes underneath, and despite being so comfortably sealed against the elements the jacket thankfully breathes so well that you don't get just as soaked from internal precipitation.
Having a Rapha City Rain Jacket in the wardrobe, or hidden in the bike-bag, brings a wry smile to any rainy day when you look out the window at enough water smashing out the sky to sink the bravest heart and drown most waterproofs and realize that it's mostly irrelevant with the Rapha jacket on. Step out into the tempest and the jacket will shrug it off; light drizzle means nothing, rain is merely a tedious annoyance and in the usually lethal to jackets combination of gale force wind and sideways rain the Rapha City Rain Jacket performs flawlessly, keeping all of the wet out and letting all of the sweat out, making the epic entrance to the coffee shop both stylish and dry. Impressed.
The Rapha City Rain Jacket is a lovely bit of schmutter, the fit is absolutely spot on when hunched over the bars, but still stylish when propping up bars. Details are essential yet minimal and put there by someone that does a lot of urban riding, and the fabric and design of the jacket keep the rider completely removed from any moisture. Yes this Rapha Jacket is expensive, what do you expect, although if you're quick the current £180 Rapha winter sale price will help a bit on that score, ultimately whether you think it's worth it or not probably depends on how much you don't want to arrive somewhere looking like you've just cycled through the rain.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha City Rain Jacket
Size tested: Dark Blue, 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?
Rapha say their City Rain Jacket is stylish cycling functionality designed for very wet conditions. Created with a more urban aesthetic than the lighter-weight Rain Jacket, this piece is durable, windproof and highly water-resistant. The jacket comes with a waterproof bag to keep the jacket from damaging other belongings in your luggage.
That ticks all my boxes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof fabric, fully-taped waterproof seams, highly-breathable membrane, zip-away, high-visibility storm tail and neoprene cuffs for warmth.
It's not a light stowable jacket, but then it's not designed to be.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfectly, it made riding in the rain a pleasure, almost.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, the waterproofness, the pink bits. It not looking like a cycling jacket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, apart from the price, natch.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, in the sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.