An extremely comfortable jersey with great wind-resistance and enough breathability to cope with a wide range of temperatures, the Rapha Brevet Windblock Jersey offers the added bonus of large reflective stripes, which all combines to make it ideal for early morning or late evening training rides, murky commutes, bikepacking or Audaxes.
Since escaping the big smoke and moving out to the countryside, I've embraced high-visibility and reflective clothing like never before, and I've become a fan of Rapha's Brevet range. Why? It manages to combine style with high-visibility in a way that few other clothing brands have managed yet. What started out as a jersey when some Rapha employees wanted to take part in the 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris Audax a few years ago, the Brevet range has since expanded to a complete range alongside Rapha's Classic and Pro Team offerings.
To create this versatile garment, Rapha has taken a lightweight merino jersey and added a windproof panel to the front, using the same fabric as its Brevet Gilet. It's as simple as that, but it's a design that works well in a wide range of conditions. The merino provides good insulation on colder rides and the natural anti-odour properties make it ideal for daily riding, whether it is regular commuting or a multi-day adventure race or cycle touring.
The addition of the windproof front panel negates the need to carry a gilet. That's ideal for those rides when you want to travel light, or don't want to carry spare clothing and sacrifice pocket space for other essentials like food. Talking of pockets, you get five of them, plenty of cargo capacity for all the stuff you might want to carry on a long or multi-day ride. That's three regular sized pockets and two zipped pockets. One of them located on the front is ideal for a small essential you want easily to hand; I mainly used it for my house keys.
While the front panel stops the wind, the exposed merino wool on the arms and back provides enough breathability to prevent overheating. It's a slightly lighter weight merino wool than the original Brevet jersey, which means the jersey works at higher temperatures: I tested the jersey up to about 15 degrees and it was okay, but then I do run cold. Above that temp, it started getting a bit moist. Keep it in low double figures, and preferably in the single digits, though, and it's right at home. The layering you opt for underneath the jersey makes a difference, of course, as does the pace at which you are riding. The lightweight fabric also ensures the jersey dries quickly during and between rides.
A pair of bands, one high-visibility and the other made from a reflective material, loops around the front and back. Together they provide a huge amount of visibility, both during the daytime when it's overcast or when you're riding in the dark. There are some small reflective details, on the collar, sleeve edges and zipper. Combine with a good set of lights and you really are going to stand out on a dark ride, though the amount of forward rotation in the saddle does impact the effectiveness of the rear stripes to an extent.
The jersey was tested and developed during the 2015 TransContinental race, the ideal place for such a versatile piece of clothing that is able to cope with any sort of weather you might encounter, as well as helping you to stand out on the road. If you're planning a bikepacking adventure or a traditional cycle tour, choosing clothing can be tricky because you need kit that can adapt to rapidly changing weather, be light and comfortable, resist bad smells after several days in the saddle, and offer some visibility.
The Rapha Brevet Windblock Jersey meets these requirements extremely well. And even if you're not going adventuring, it's ideal for the daily commute, evening training rides, the club run or chillier weekend rides. This is one of those garments that, wet weather aside, works well in a vast range of situations, making a pretty good investment if you want one jersey covers most of the bases.
Windproof, insulating and highly visible jersey ideal for commuting, touring and bikepacking
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Brevet Windblock Jersey
Size tested: Small, Black/Black
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?
Inspired by the Rapha Brevet credo of 'pack light, travel far', the multi-functional Brevet Windblock Jersey fuses into one piece the all-day performance of a lightweight merino jersey, with the wind protection of a gilet. An overlaid panel made from the fabric of the Rapha Brevet Gilet is stitched on to the front, meaning that you won't need to carry a windbreaker on tours in milder conditions, or all-day endurance rides. With reflective and hi-vis Brevet stripes on the front and back, and a total of five pockets, this is a versatile, multitasking piece. The prototype of this garment was tried and tested during the Transcontinental race in 2015 - a 4,000km journey across Europe.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind-resistant polyester panel stitched on to front
New quick-drying, lightweight merino fabric
Reflective and hi-vis Brevet stripes on front and back
Zipped pocket on front-left of jersey for valuables
Triple rear cargo pocket for easy-access storage
Concealed zip compartment on rear
Hi-vis, ribbed tipping on collar, sleeve edge and zipguard for visibility and comfort
Silicon gripper on rear hem to hold the jersey in place
Excellent fit and shape provided you get the size right
If you're slim, you might want to downsize - I have to wear a size small
It's light enough to dry quickly and be comfortably breathable
The merino wool is very soft on the skin and it's a comfortable jersey for any sort of riding
We're being treated to more and better high-visibility clothing with each passing year, but none look quite as nice as Rapha's Brevet Jersey
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems, it can be washed in the shower or machine washed just fine
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well in a wide range of conditions, keeps the wind at bay and breathable enough for warmer days, and enough insulation for cooler temps
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Highly reflective yet still looks stylish
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It doesn't cope well in the rain
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
A stylishly reflective jersey ideal for a wide range of conditions and riding styles, the amount of use I've had out of it makes it a good investment for the cyclist who values staying warm and dry and standing out on the road, while doing it with a bit of style
About the tester
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.