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A lightweight cycling jersey designed for the hottest weather, the new Rapha Pro Team Climber's jersey offers excellent function in hot weather conditions with stupendous levels of breathability making it much more comfortable compared to regular jerseys when the going gets warm, whether climbing or riding on the flat.
Rapha's Pro Team clothing range is the product of a close partnership with Team Sky, and many of the garments have been developed at the request of the team to suit the many demands of racing around the world in a wide range of conditions. Racing in hot weather is a particular challenge, hence the Pro Team Climber's Jersey.
For the construction of the jersey, Rapha has used what it calls an eyelet-based mesh for the front, which is claims provides a better structure than an open mesh fabric. There's a much more open mesh used in the side panel, and the shoulders and back panel are made from a solid fabric, to help resist sunburn, a potential risk when wearing such a meshy jersey.
The jersey is light on the scales, my size small sample is 104g - but that's somewhat heavier than the 70g Adizero Jersey or the 91g Castelli Climbers' jersey. Despite being heavier than its rivals, the Rapha Climber's jersey still has a very floating feeling, you hardly notice it on.
I've been able to get some riding in on the mountains of Majorca and Italy recently to put the jersey through its paces, and there is a tangible difference when compared to a regular jersey used in the same conditions. On the longer climbs when sweat is dripping off your body, the jersey simply keeps you cooler and heat retention is noticeably lower. It makes hot sweaty climbs a bit less uncomfortable. I didn't notice it helped me get to the top any quicker though.
It's definitely a jersey for hot weather, as I had to resort to a gilet during the early morning phase of the ride when the previous day I had gotten away without a gilet with a regular weight jersey. That's the difference the lightweight fabric makes. It is a jersey designed for very specific conditions so it's not quite as versatile as other jerseys in Rapha's range. It makes a lot more sense than if you live in the mountains than if you live in the Cotswolds.
The fit is excellent, as I've come to expect from the Pro Team range, but it's clear it's been designed with skinny professional athletes in mind. It's figure hugging, very well fitted, but there's no restriction around the shoulders when climbing out of the saddle. There are two stabilising bonding lines running up the rear of the jersey and these, along with a high stretch fabric on the outside of the pockets, ensure that the pockets don't sag to your buttocks and beyond even when fully laden.
A full-length zip is a essential on a climbing jersey so you can open it all the way for the full pro look, and extra cooling of course. Rapha has neatly added two small tabs of heavier material to the end of the full-length zipper, which makes it easier to locate and zip an open jersey back up again at the top of the climb.
Despite the lightweight construction, it's a very durable jersey, and has been through multiple washing machine cycles and used in some grubby conditions, and the daring coral colour still looks box fresh.
It's a very nice jersey - and I love the colour - with an excellent fit. The lightweight fabrics see the Climber's jersey excelling in the heat, which is fine if you anticipate riding in some hot weather or live in the mountains where its benefits are more pronounced.
Lightweight jersey that excels in hot weather and mountain climbs, but heavier than its rivals
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Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Climber's jersey
Size tested: Small
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?
The Pro Team Climber's Jersey is made for hot and humid days when riders strive to stay cool. By testing various mesh fabrics with Team Sky, Rapha's developers have found a blend of open and eyelet meshes that maximise breathability, keep weight low, and maintain a good fit when unzipped.
The main panels of the jersey are made from an eyelet-based mesh, which gives a better structure to the jersey's fit than an open mesh, while retaining high breathability and a low weight. Two stabilising bonding lines run up the back of the jersey to reinforce the back panel, preventing it from stretching when the pockets are full. An open mesh is used inside the pockets for ventilation, and outer section of the pockets is made from a high-stretch fabric to secure the contents of the pockets – this allows a rider to keep a jacket, gilet and warmers in the pockets for use in changeable conditions. The back of the jersey is finished with reflective details, giving an element of visibility in the long and often unlit tunnels of the mountains
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Combination of mesh fabrics
Very low weight
Cut-out glasses wipe
Reinforcing bonded lines
It's light, but not as light as its rivals.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works exceptionally well in hot weather and copes better with hot climbs than most regular jerseys by being incredibly breathable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent fit and very breathable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's not as light as its rivals in this category.
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?
It's a very nice jersey - and I love the colour - with an excellent fit and lightweight fabrics that sees the Climber's jersey excelling in the heat, which is fine if you anticipate riding in some hot weather or live in the mountains where its benefits are more pronounced.
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 worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.