Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Merino Jersey  £130.00

9/10

A seriously luxurious-feeling long-sleeved casual riding top that'll look good on or off the bike and is actually pretty good value for money.

Weight 260g   Contact  www.rapha.cc

by Leonie Jennings   December 1, 2013  

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Merino Jersey

The Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Merino Jersey is, strangely, an awful lot like the short sleeved merino jersey from Rapha that we reviewed last year, but, erm, with long sleeves. This is a jersey designed to bridge the gap between performance cycling wear and casual kit.

The first two things you notice about this top are how good it looks and how very good it feels. Unusually for Rapha, the price is on a par with most merino wool tops of a similar quality (an Icebreaker Tempest, for example) and is actually much higher quality and softer than most. You can get cheaper merino jerseys, but to make them cheaper they have to made from cheaper, scratchier wool.

That makes Rapha's merino jersey genuinely good value for those with a love of the fabric's wonderful woolly warmth. The merino used in this top is super soft and super smooth, with none of the itchy side effects that many associate with wool.

 

As a result of this softness, there is a risk of snagging, making Velcro its worst enemy and requiring careful selection of coats and bags. It stretches gently and gives a contoured fit without being over snug, and the body and sleeve length are generous enough to please all but the very tallest woman.

The button-through collar looks good and makes for some ventilation options, but in use this isn't really required anyway, as the merino does a great job of keeping the body a stable and comfortable temperature.

It also looks much more like a soft, cosy jumper than a cycling or outdoorsy top, so it doesn't feel wierd to wear it down the pub or in a cafe that doesn't have 'velo' in the name.

A single buttoned back pocket with hi viz logo is the only place to stash keys or money, and it's not that secure, but anything else (such as zips etc) would cause problems with the fabric I suspect. You'd be better off using a bag of some sort.

Available in sizes XXS to XL, with M being roughly equivalent to a UK12.

Verdict

A seriously luxurious-feeling long-sleeved casual riding top that'll look good on or off the bike and is actually pretty good value for money.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Merino Jersey

Size tested: Medium, Dark Moroccan Blue

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 looking for a stylish casual jersey option that offers performance elements too.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

100% merino wool

Machine washable (cool)

single button fastening rear pocket

Hi viz patch (optional)

Available in sizes XXS to XL

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Hard to fault the quality of the merino or the construction.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

It's incredibly comfortable and great to ride in

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

No problems with the durability of the merino itself, but it is prone to being pulled by velcro attachments or snagging on rucksacks etc. Best worn on its own without stuff potentially rubbing on it.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
10/10

Very comfortable indeed, both in terms of the fabric itself and also its performance when riding.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

On a par price-wise with similar quality merino tops and it will last for years (provided it doesn't get eaten by velcro) so pretty good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Style, colour, fit, fabric, quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Well made and attractive. An excellent casual riding jersey.

Overall rating: 9/10

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,

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

"On a par price-wise with similar quality merino tops and it will last for years (provided it doesn't get eaten by velcro) so pretty good value."

Sorry, but if its 'On a par price-wise' with similar quality items, then it isn't good value. Being good value would imply it is cheaper than similar quality items. 'Fair value' is probably the wording you were looking for, though at £130 I wouldn't even call it that. If you shop around you can find similar items discounted to much less than half that price.

Here's one at £40.00 for example...

Bontrager Commuting Womens Shirt Long Sleeve Wool Grey
http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/bontrager-commuting-womens-shirt-long-sle...

And another at £50.00 ...

On-One Merino Womens Perform Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey 200g
http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/CLOOMPLJ/on_one_merino_womens_perfor...

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
1st December 2013 - 13:48

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Too pricey for me, but they must sell 'em or they wouldn't be knocking 'em out at that price.

You pays your money, you takes your choice....

TDL

tourdelound's picture

posted by tourdelound [80 posts]
1st December 2013 - 16:09

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What does "actually pretty good value for money" even mean?

Or put another way, would you pay £130 for something exactly the same material and craftmanship but without the Rapha tag on it?

Doubt it. Paying 30% more for the label means "value for money" is a laugh.

posted by smaryka [16 posts]
2nd December 2013 - 12:29

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"what does 'actually pretty good value for money' even mean?"

Reading the review, something I usually find helpful, the reviewer says:

"Unusually for Rapha, the price is on a par with most merino wool tops of a similar quality (an Icebreaker Tempest, for example) and is actually much higher quality and softer than most. You can get cheaper merino jerseys, but to make them cheaper they have to made from cheaper, scratchier wool.

That makes Rapha's merino jersey genuinely good value for those with a love of the fabric's wonderful woolly warmth. The merino used in this top is super soft and super smooth, with none of the itchy side effects that many associate with wool."

I think that explains what the reviewer means. I'm just guessing though....

posted by fatsimonstan [31 posts]
3rd December 2013 - 12:24

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Also, VFM may be represented through less tangible things - I got a Rapha t shirt yesterday and went to the very nice Soho CC branch, had a good mooch round and poked and prodded the Team Sky Pinarello they had, and the shirt I got came with a beautifully printed mini catalogue and was packed in a reusable Rapha fabric musette. The entire shopping experience was great from the moment I walked thru the door to when I finished my flat white and left. They were playing the Roubaix on the telly too.

Yes, their stuff is often staggeringly pricy but the whole experience of buying my shirt was great, in stark contrast to my colleague's efforts in buying an Xmas jumper from primark.

Rapha stuff has a certain classiness and desirability about it that is hard to define even though you know the whole brand concept is a bit pretentious and synthetic.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
5th December 2013 - 0:35

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