Where do Rapha find their wool? It says 100% extra fine Merino on the label but we know for a fact that no normal wool is this soft. They must have a whole flock of sheep hidden away somewhere that are fed exclusively on marshmallows and soufflé. And, if wool like this exists, why did we have to endure that Brillo Pad stuff for years?
Anyway… This really is a lovely top. It feels super-comfy next to your skin and keeps you nice ’n’ warm on cold mornings. The cut is close though not quite racy, with a dropped back, long sleeves and a high, zipped neck to keep the breeze out. Unlike the previous version, this incarnation has three pockets in the lower back for storing your ride essentials but, apart from those, it’s not especially bikey-looking – even the same-colour embroidered arm logo is subtle. Oh, and you get velvet taping to stop the collar seam rubbing. Velvet! Really!
The wool stays odour-free much, much longer than polyester or nylon, and it doesn’t retain any nasty niffs after washing – you can just sling it in the machine along with everything else and it comes out just fine. As long as you don’t get too sweaty, you could easily wear it on the commute into work and keep it on all day and nobody would object. That’s what the Fixed range is really designed for: urban riding and all-day wear, although the addition of those pockets adds extra appeal for the long weekend jaunt.
The only downside is that wool does take on more moisture than most synthetics when you work up a sweat… even the posh stuff from Rapha’s special sheep, though not nearly as much as standard wool. It still keeps you warm when it’s damp but there’s no getting away from the fact that it can get heavy. Hang on, one more downside: the price tag. Sizes S-2XL Colours Black, navy