I'm a big fan of wearing a gilet and arm warmers, and was sceptical about how useful the Rapha Women's Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock Jersey would be – a lightweight merino jersey with a kind of 'sewn-on' (and therefore non-removable) gilet – but I'm completely smitten by it. It blocks wind, doesn't overheat, and is perfect for late winter and spring rides. The only problem I have is making sure I can get it washed and dried overnight so I can wear it day after day.
I confess to being predisposed to liking Rapha kit, but I really wasn't sure about this combination. The Classic Gilet has been a constant companion in milder weather for years, and I couldn't really see how not being able to remove that extra layer would improve things...
At some point, I suppose, I won't want to wear a gilet, but for the temperatures we've been experiencing of late, from low single figures to mid-teens, the Brevet Windblock has been nigh-on perfect. I've worn it mostly with a long-sleeve baselayer, testing it on days when I've thought it would be too cold – it wasn't; and days when I thought it might be too warm – it wasn't.
I did swap to a short-sleeve baselayer the other day when the temperature was forecast to get higher still, and felt fine in the middle of the day but slightly chilly towards evening.
It's very light – much more like wearing a jersey than a jersey and gilet – and what I really like is that there's no 'cold spot' at the top of the arms, which you can get with a gilet and arm warmers. This is because there are polyester panels on the front of the sleeves as well as the body, which really do their job well.
The sleeves are slightly loose-fitting and I was concerned they might be flappy in the wind but they're not, and the slight roominess means enough space underneath for a long-sleeve baselayer. It's like a lighter, looser version of the Souplesse Jacket.
The polyester panels are shower-resistant too; on numerous showery occasions I've not bothered with an extra layer because the jacket has kept light rain out and me warm.
The rest of the jersey is merino (well, 87% merino, 13% nylon), so no rain-repelling there, just plenty of warmth and softness. I've only worn it briefly without a baselayer – it's been too c-c-c-cold – but although only some of the seams are flatlock stitched it's perfectly comfortable, and no issues with the stitching from the horizontal stripes across the back.
As well as the typical three pockets across the back of the jersey – which stretch and swallow lots! – there are two zipped handwarmer pockets at the front, useful for keys, coins, Brevet cards...
Other points... The windproofing at the front extends right up to include the collar, and the full-length zip has a full-length baffle and garage at the top to tuck it away in. The zip is my one and only complaint, or, to be more precise, the zip-pull: it's just too small to grab easily and operate, especially with full-finger gloves.
Stick a bigger tag on the zip, Rapha, and I'd be tempted to give this a full 10 out of 10. Okay, it's a bit pricey too, at £145, but you probably expected that. And you are getting a jersey and gilet in one... it's almost a bargain. I think it looks fab too, and it's available in blue.
Excellent combination of windblocking, warmth and style
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Women's Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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: "A versatile, multi-tasking jersey designed to offer wind protection and supreme breathability for adventures, with highly reflective stripes and five pockets for ample storage."
I love it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polyester panel stitched onto front and over shoulders for wind-resistance on the leading edge
Quick-drying, lightweight merino fabric for comfort and performance
Reflective and hi-vis Brevet stripes for visibility on all-day rides
Zipped pocket on front-left of jersey to secure valuables
Three rear cargo pockets giving ample storage for long rides
Hi-vis ribbed tipping on collar, sleeve edge and zip guard
Silicon gripper on rear hem to hold jersey in place
87% merino wool
32% glass fibre
Machine wash 30°C
Wash dark colours separately
Do not bleach or dry clean
Do not tumble dry
Do not iron
All seems very well made. Seams aren't flatlock stitched throughout, but no issues because of that.
Does its job superbly.
I've had some bobbling with merino in the past, but no sign of that after quite a few washes. All stitching sound, nothing to worry about so far.
It's not figure-hugging, but it's a nice cut all the same.
Spot on for me.
It's a lightweight merino jersey with a gilet sewn on, so heavier than a lightweight poly jersey, but lighter than the standard long-sleeve Rapha Brevet (men's small, 313g).
I've tended to wear it with a baselayer, so next-to-skin comfort has been more dependent on that; but in terms of a comfortable temperature it's excellent.
Not bad at all considering you're getting a jersey and gilet in one...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy; the usual. It dries quickly too – handy for overnight washes so it's ready to wear the next day.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The warmth and windblocking, and the look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The too-small zip puller, especially when wearing full-finger gloves.
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
I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did – it performs superbly in a range of temperatures, looks great, and can only be faulted for having a too-small zip puller. It's a bit pricey, but it's two-in-one...
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.