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Rapha Classic Soft Shell jacket



Posh winter riding jacket with a high level of performance and chic styling

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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This winter jacket might be expensive but it’s extremely comfortable, packed with useful features and the attention to detail is excellent.

Made from a softshell fabric (81% polyester, 10% spandex, 9% Hytrel membrane), it’s not absolutely waterproof but it takes a while before even heavy rain starts seeping in through the seams – it’ll hold off drizzle and even a shower without too much trouble. There’s a little give in the material so the slim fit doesn’t feel too restrictive and it’s rough ’n’ tough enough to stand up to the odd knock it’s bound to receive during everyday wear.

Lengthy pit zips add to the reasonable breathability while the high, close-fitting neck, elasticated cuffs and drawcord waist provide you with plenty of sealing against the elements. You get hand covers/thumb loops that extend out to stop the sleeves riding up – you can just tuck them away inside if you don’t know want to use them – and plenty of storage space comes courtesy of three pockets in the lower back, one containing a sleeve for your mini pump, and a bonus zipped pocket back there for your valuables.

The butt-flap folds away inside the back of the jacket when there’s no road spray to worry about, the left shoulder has padding for a courier bag strap, and the front zip is offset and comes with a chinguard to keep things comfortable. There are a zillion other features too, all good, and the quality is first class right down to the non-rattling zip-pulls. Buy one of these and it’s sure to be right up there among your favourite bits of bike kit – it’s just a question on whether you want to spend £240 on a bike jacket.

Available in red and black and in sizes XS-2XL.


Posh winter riding jacket with a high level of performance and chic styling test report

Make and model: Rapha Classic Soft Shell jacket

Size tested: L

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Did you enjoy using the product? Definitely

Would you consider buying the product? Too pricey for underprivileged bike journos

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 184cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized Tarmac Pro  My best bike is: Van Nicholas Aeolus

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, mtb,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, 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 Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

that's the Rapha Gentleman's cap- review coming soon

Sanyi | 14 years ago

To the reviewer

Who is your cap made by?

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