Rapha's high-vis Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey manages to not only keep you seen in low light but also looks good and performs magnificently.
The Brevet jersey comes in three flavours: black, pink and green. We tried out the green, and the first thing that strikes you, as well as those around you, is how super-high-vis it is. Under artificial lighting it's bright green – it looks as per the photos on Rapha's website – but as soon as you step outside, the colour seems to get even brighter.
I wouldn't normally wear a fluorescent top – it's just not my style – but Rapha has managed to create something that really does make you feel safer, and at the same time looks like a high-end garment.
The jersey is made of the familiar polyester and merino blend that Rapha likes to use, but here, interestingly, it isn't called Sportwool, though its 61% polyester, 39% merino blend is the same proportions as the Sportwool used in Rapha's Classic Jersey.
The fabric is noticeably soft and warm against the skin as well as being light, flexible and breathable. I've been wearing it over a Rapha merino baselayer for most of my rides and have yet to overheat or feel the need for additional layers. Having said that, the Brevet jersey fits closely enough that you could layer up over the top, and has enough stretch that you could wear an additional baselayer underneath without it feeling too tight.
The fabric also seems to cope very well in the wash. I have to carry my bike up and down a flight of stairs each day, which resulted in a rather unfortunate black oil smear on my arm. This came out in the wash without the need for any fancy detergents and after four or five washes the jersey is still looking fresh and new.
The tailoring is just right too. The collar is snug without being too tight, the sleeves are, unusually, long enough for me, and the rear of the jersey sits nicely at the base of the back, held in place with a line of gripper elastic. You can also adjust the tightness of the waist by tightening two elastic draw-cords with friction locks at the sides, a system that might be familiar if you own other Rapha jerseys.
The jersey features three large cargo pockets that are deep enough that you don't feel your belongings are going to bounce out of them and positioned well enough that you don't need to be a contortionist to reach into them. It also has a large, internal 'ballast' pocket designed to accommodate the Brevet Gilet, which I found useful for stashing food and rubbish. Its mesh interior made me reluctant to trust it with my phone, wallet or keys, though...
The front of the jersey also features a small zippered pocket for your 'brevet card'. I guess that sounds more appealing than 'credit card', but in reality it's actually a very useful home for the latter, which means you can leave your wallet at home and don't have to fumble around in your back pockets at the cafe stop.
The jersey is touted as being "designed specifically for riding in low light" and, as already mentioned, the green version certainly achieves this. In addition to the high-vis fabric, the white 'Schoeller' fabric band around the chest and arm on the green and pink versions is reflective.
The black version is a more toned-down affair, and although it does have grey reflective bands, I can't imagine that overall visibility is as good as the other two options. It'll probably turn out to be the more popular version among Rapha's traditional client base, but I would urge anyone who is undecided, or has a significant other who likes to point out that "you aren't very visible in that black Lycra", to try the green or pink. High-vis and as stylish as you would expect from Rapha, it's a great addition to your wardrobe.
A stylish and comfortable jersey with bags of storage and available in colours that will satisfy the most safety-conscious
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey
Size tested: Small, Green
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?
Rapha says: "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 the 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. 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?
Three large cargo pockets
Large zipped ballast pocket
Zipped brevet card pocket on chest
Reflective stripe and armband for high visibility
Robust fabric for durability and warmth
Full-length, fully lined zip
Drawcord with friction locks
Soft gripper on hem
Full-length, fully lined zip
After six trips through the washing machine the jersey is still looking "as new" and I was very impressed with its ability to shed oil-stains.
Last year's version came in a bundle with the Brevet Gilet for £195. This year the price (and the inclusion of the gilet) has dropped to a slightly more digestible £140. It is still one of the more expensive jerseys out there, but you do get Rapha quality and styling!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The jersey performed exceptionally well. Its comfort, styling and even its colour were all great. Pair that with the performance that we've come to expect from a Rapha product and you are left with a very nice bit of kit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very impressed with its ability to make me feel stylish in a 'high-vis' jacket!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Rose Xeon CRS Road at the moment 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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides