Rapha's Core Jersey joins the Core Bib Shorts, reviewed here, in its new 'affordable' range. Although £75 is still not what you might call super-cheap, it is a fair bit less than other Rapha jerseys and, crucially, bar a couple of personal fit issues, it's very good.
It takes design cues from the Classic range and strips it back, eschewing the signature contrast stripe on the sleeve and instead opting for a subliminally stitched version. Elsewhere, you find same-colour stitching and a fabric that more closely matches the Pro Team jerseys than Rapha's wool-based offerings, just without the skintight fitting.
It's a great compromise that includes decent features and fabrics from Rapha's previous designs and research. It has a slim yet not restrictive cut, with a long back and sizeable pockets. Each of the three open pockets and the zipped fourth are easy to reach, although when the pockets are empty the jersey can ride up. I found this occurred especially when I had a jacket on over the top, even though the silicone grippers around the waistline are prominent and feel high quality and grippy to touch.
The zip is a slim affair, but feels solid and seats itself very well when you're doing it up. Slightly amiss, for me anyway, is the neckline; it feels a little restrictive when the zip is done all the way up to the top and you're down on the drops. That tightness then passes around the shoulders.
I found the same thing with the first iteration of the Pro Team Softshell jacket, so perhaps this first edition of the Core jersey will be finessed in terms of fit following more customer feedback.
It is true to size – I usually wear a large in Rapha kit, and this broadly matches that. And sleeve length is absolutely perfect – it's incredibly comfortable around the biceps and triceps, and sits perfectly against the skin thanks to the slim cut. It's small things like this that help reassure you the designers at Rapha know what they're doing.
The Core jersey comes in pastel blue, pink, black and the navy blue we had on test. For the record, the navy blue washes out very well and doesn't crease easily while drying, retaining its fit and quality looks as if it were new after multiple washes. As long as you keep oil away from the brighter colours, the jersey should last you a good few spring-through-to-autumn seasons without letting you down, wicking sweat well while also remaining fresher on longer rides thanks to an antibacterial treatment applied during the manufacturing process.
Taken in the context of Rapha's wider range, £75 isn't bad value. Sure, it isn't 'cheap', but if you want the kudos of riding the Rapha label, with good quality and a generally good overall cut and design, it's a very appealing option.
Still not super-cheap, but it's good value (for Rapha) and typically good quality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Men's Core Jersey
Size tested: Large
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: "[The Core] Cycling jersey cut using a soft, light stretch fabric. It is shaped to fit the body perfectly in road-bike positions, with raglan sleeves and side panels for stability. Colour-matched throughout, the jersey uses high-spec finishing details, such as ribbed collar and cuffs, a concealed zip pocket and a deep, laser-cut rear gripper lined with soft silicone. Made of a fabric that has been treated with an antibacterial process, the jersey stays fresher for longer during your rides. With subtle Rapha branding and a low-profile left armband, the Core Jersey includes only the essentials."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Side panels and raglan sleeves for a perfect fit
- Soft and highly breathable matt fabric to keep you comfortable in all conditions
- Colour-matched trims throughout
- Ribbed tipping on collar and cuffs
- Deep-cut, silicone rear gripper to hold jersey in place
- Three rear cargo pockets with secure storage capacity for all rides
- Additional zip-pocket to keep valuables secure
- Subtle tonal branding
- 100% Polyester
- 84% Polyester
- 16% Elastane
Very well made.
Very good feeling fabric, just a couple of niggles with the fit and it riding up.
Rapha has used its knowhow here - the jersey washes well and looks like new after multiple cycles, although lean against a wooden surface at a coffee stop at your peril.
A little tight around the neck and shoulders with the zip done right up, and slightly baggy around the waist.
Sizing is about right overall.
Nice and lightweight - will suit UK spring, summer and autumn weather.
Good value when measured against other Rapha jerseys, and compares well with other good quality summer jerseys.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does the job, basics and all.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good pricing, good looks, and decent pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fit needs finessing for my liking.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a very good summer jersey, with the Rapha name on, for £75.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding