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There's little not to like about the Rapha Lines Souplesse Lightweight Jersey II. It's very good quality, fits brilliantly, and works really well at keeping you cool and comfortable on the hottest rides.
I have to say, initially I wasn't a fan of the slightly dizzying, eye-catching pattern, but it has grown on me to become one of my favourite pieces of kit.
While the pattern does at first look a little crazy, it definitely stands out, and the pink Rapha logos on the left sleeve and rear of the jersey add some nice detail. If you're less taken by the pattern, it's also available in a plain fuchsia pink or green should you prefer.
With plenty of stretch to the lightweight polyester and elastane material, the jersey has a flattering, streamlined race fit. Adding to the comfort are the mesh sleeve cuffs, which sit flush against the skin without being over-tight.
This jersey is designed for use on hot days and I was lucky enough to test it during some glorious British sunshine. Although this may not be as warm as the 'hottest and most humid temperatures' that Rapha says the jersey has been tested in, it was plenty humid and well into the mid-20s.
The jersey is incredibly light – it's the lightest in the Souplesse range – and breathable, wicking away sweat well and keeping me relatively cool and dry. I had no issues with chafing, and although the gripper on the rear hem looks more of a token gesture than a functional piece of rubber, it stayed in place nicely, no doubt helped by the cut and fit of the jersey.
A perforated panel on the rear, mesh lining to the pockets and a mesh-lined collar keep the weight low while also helping to keep me cool. I particularly like the low shaping of the collar, which sat comfortably against my neck; while a high collar is great for extra protection in the winter, this is just what I want from a summer jersey.
I almost didn't notice the zipped rear pocket in among the stripes – large enough for most smartphones and handy for valuables. In addition, three slightly expandable rear pockets allow ample space for food, discarded layers and tools.
As you might expect from Rapha, the Souplesse Lightweight Jersey is at the higher end of the price range, costing £120. I would say this isn't extortionate for a jersey of this quality, and it is a good looking and high performing piece of kit.
Size-wise, I wore a small, which Rapha equates to a women's 10. I'm an 8-10 in most clothes and I'd say this was a perfect fit. The incredibly stretchy fabric means you could probably afford to go down a size if you're unsure or between sizes.
I really struggled to find anything to complain about with this jersey – it's extremely light, comfortable and breathable, with ample pocket space, making it ideal for long summer rides. If you're happy to pay, it's an excellent buy.
Perfect for long summer riding, it has quickly become a favourite
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Women's Souplesse Lightweight Jersey II
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?
Rapha says: "For fast and scorching summer miles
"Inspired by the work of artist Bridget Riley this special edition cycling jersey features a geometric pattern based on the principles of rhythm and repetition.
"Tested in the hottest and most humid temperatures, the Lines Women's Souplesse Lighyweight Jersey II is the lightest jersey in the Souplesse range.
"Using the same new high-performance, high-wicking fabrics as our Pro Team jerseys, the jersey is light and breathable and has a good stretch which creates a flattering fit.
"Designed for your hottest rides, the mesh-lined collar has been reshaped to increase airflow and a new perforated centre-back stripe helps to keep you cool. A new mesh yoke at the rear and mesh-lined pockets are designed to increase ventilation.
"A semi-sheer fabric on the sleeves feels invisible in the hottest conditions and helps to reduce stark tan lines and a protective finish reduces the absorption of sunlight. Soft lightweight grippers on the cuffs and at the hem keep the jersey in place, and a bonded front hem ensures maximum streamlining.
"Featuring a new, expandable pocket design to create greater space for carrying food and essentials and a zipped valuables pocket on the rear.
"When worn with other products from the Lines collection featuring the same fluid print, a layered appearance creates an optical illusion of its own."
It does everything Rapha claims, and is cool and breathable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rapha lists these features:
Proprietary, lightweight stretch fabric creates a close, streamlined fit
Semi-sheer mesh sleeves save weight and keep you cool in the hottest conditions
High-wicking, breathable fabric allows moisture to disperse from the skin
A central strip of laser-cut perforations on the back aid ventilation
Expandable back pockets maintain shape when loaded with spares or food
YKK's lightest VISLON® zipper
Very well made and some lovely hidden details.
Stayed cool and comfortable on some long, hot and humid rides.
No problems so far.
I found the close cut fit comfortable and flattering.
I wore a small which fitted perfectly (I'm an 8-10). Because of the stretchy fabric, you can probably afford to go down a size if you're unsure.
It's called a lightweight jersey for a reason!
Extremely comfortable to ride in, with no annoying riding up from the hem or excess material.
At £120 it is pricey, but worth it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed at 30 degrees with no problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It kept me cool on hot rides and had ample pocket space for food and other essentials.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Incredibly light and some lovely hidden details.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Honestly don't have any complaints.
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 does an excellent job of keeping you cool and comfortable on long, hot and humid rides. It's also light, stylish and comfortable with plenty of pocket space. I can't find anything to complain about, unless you dislike the pattern.
About the tester
I usually ride: Planet X London Road My best bike is: Bowman Palace:R
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track
Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross. Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.