The Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet jersey and accompanying hi-vis vest provide lots of warmth on a cold winter ride and the reflective stripes will boost your visibility when riding in the dark. The jersey can be worn as a top layer or as a mid layer when you need to layer up, making it a really good bit of clothing for your cycling wardrobe.
The Long Sleeve Brevet jersey and hi-vis vest were a new addition to Rapha's winter clothing range this year, born out of the company's passion for long distance events like Paris-Brest-Paris. It was actually that event, the legendary 1,200km Audax, that inspired the creation of the jersey when several Rapha employees decided to take it on. As it takes anywhere from 50 to 90 hours to complete, the Audax requires a fair chunk of night time riding, and French traffic law requires a reflective vest be worn when riding at night. A short sleeve version of the Brevet and matching vest was developed, and laterly spawned the long sleeve version.
Like most of Rapha's jerseys, it's made from Sportwool, a luxuriously soft merino and polyester fabric. It's brilliant at providing insulation, is soft next to the skin and doesn't pong when you've been riding for a long period of time, or consecutive days. Which is a good thing if you've got some big rides lined up.
I've been happily wearing it over a short sleeve base layer on warmer days, and when the temperature plunges it makes a good mid layer. Granted, you lose the visibility benefit when you cover it up with a jacket, but the vest can be worn over the top. Rapha has often been (unfairly) criticised for its lack of reflectivity in its clothing, but it has done a superb job of countering such criticism with this combination. While stylish isn't perhaps the right word, it's without doubt one of the better looking hi-vis garments available.
Looping around the torso section of the jersey are two fat stripes. The pink panel provides daylight visibility while the white panel is a perforated Schoeller fabric that is reflective. There are extra reflective details elsewhere, on the armband on the left arm and a tab on the rear of the jersey.
Visibility can be boosted further with the Brevet Vest. The vest echoes the design of the jersey, with a bright pink colour and reflective band around the torso. As well as boosting visibility, and very definitely raising eyebrows when you pull it on in the office, the windproof front panel offers good weather protection. To help dump heat when the pace warms up, there are mesh side panels. As with Rapha's jackets, the full-length zipper is offset.
You can't buy the vest on its own, the only way to get one is to buy the Brevet jersey. While they're obviously designed to be worn together, there's nothing to stop you mixing it up. I've been wearing the vest over any jacket I've been wearing on night rides, and using the Brevet on its own for daytime rides, or wearing under a jacket on a cold ride.
The jersey, as you'd expect from a piece born from a 1,200km ride, has plenty of stowage capacity. There are the regulation three rear pockets, with a large zipped ballast pocket providing a suitable place to stuff the gilet when you don't need to wear it, without using up one of your three pockets. An additional zipped and waterproof chest pocket is the perfect place for a brevet card. My minor gripe with the pockets is that they're placed just a little too high, which makes reaching into a pocket for some food when you have a jacket over the top a bit of a stretch.
As it's a jersey design with long rides in mind, I tested it on a recent 200km Audax. With the ride starting before the sun had risen, and me and my companion arriving back at the car park just as the sun was setting, the extra visibility afforded by both the jersey and gilet came into their own. The brevet pocket kept my brevet card from getting soggy so I could get it stamped at the various control points, and the pockets were plenty large enough to carry my rations for the day.
Now, that price tag. That's no getting away from it, that's a lot of cash. Howevet, it does get you a fully equipped and very capable jersey that is versatile enough to be used in the depths of the winter and right into spring and autumn. And you get a high visibility vest included with the price, which can be paired with the Brevet as intended or used with other clothing. You could easily spend quite a bit more on jersey and gilet from a few other brands. It's also, in my opinion, one of the better looking hi-vis options I've yet seen. It won't suit everyone's tastes, but if it does yours, it's a top quality jersey with an appealing hi-vis benefit.
Warm and comfortable and packing loads of high visibility with a separate hi-vis gilet included.
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Make and model: Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey
Size tested: small, 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?
Based on the short-sleeve jersey rigorously tested by Rapha riders at Paris-Brest-Paris, the long-sleeve version has been created for endurance rides where additional visibility and storage are important but where extra insulation is required. It has three large cargo pockets, as well as a zipped ballast pocket for carrying a complementary hi-vis Brevet Vest and/ or an extra jacket.
The front of the jersey also has a zipped chest pocket for carrying a brevet card. Designed specifically for riding in low light, the jersey has two high-visibility stripes around the chest, one in pink, another in a perforated white Schoeller fabric. Other visibility details include a reflective armband on the left arm and reflective tab on the back of the jersey. The jersey is highly breathable and versatile enough to be used from autumn through to spring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Breathable, insulating Sportwool™ fabric
Three large cargo pockets
Large zipped ballast pocket
Hi-vis chestbands and armband
Water-resistant chest pocket to carry brevet card
Offset zip for comfortable layering
Reflective stripes around middle
Reflective Rapha logo
Mesh panels for breathability
Very high qaulity.
The Brevet works so well because it's hugely versatile, and can be used with a variety of layering approaches. As a top layer it's warm and the vest keeps the wind off your chest. I've knocked a point off because of my minor gripe about the high pockets.
It's been getting a huge amount of use, daily rides and longer weekend rides, and it's been put though the washing machine countless times, and it's in perfect nick.
Yup, no concerns with comfort, Sportwool is just a notch above other fabrics in comfort terms.
You do get a hi-vis windproof vest thrown in with the long sleeve jersey (which you can't buy on its own) so that boosts the value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you warm without ever getting too hot, has loads of pockets, is durable and the high visibility is a bonus when riding at night or just in poor lighting conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The incorporation of reflective details while still maintaining some semblance of style.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pockets are a smidgen too high up the back.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you've got your eye on some Audaxes, or simply want a warm and high vis jersey and gilet for commuting and training, the Rapha Brevet is a good option that won't disappoint.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.