The Rapha Merino Stand Collar Dot Print jersey is a great jumper for those casual city rides in colder conditions, when you don't want to be in Lycra but you do want a bit more protection than a non-cycling jersey gives. As you might expect, it doesn't come cheap – though it is currently reduced to £98.
The idea behind the Dot Print jersey is pretty simple: it is a high-quality, double knit jumper with a sewn-in windproof layer that keeps you warm when riding in colder conditions. It isn't a cycling-specific jersey, but it has some of the useful elements of one, including relatively good breathability and a zip pocket for whatever you may need.
The main selling point of the jersey is its windproofing, which works really well. It's a fairly basic system – a windproof layer sewn in across the front of the body – but it's effective and keeps the wind out nicely. This is also helped by the high collar, which gives a bit of protection to your neck too, which is nice to have on cold winter night. Tass reviewed the similar women's version before Christmas – though no dots or pocket there, and women get a short zip collar.
As with the women's, Rapha has included a high-vis element with the roll-up cuffs that look like regular cuffs when not rolled. Roll them back, though, and they reveal an area of reflective cotton and a luminous pink strip which helps to be seen at night. The zip pocket is useful, too, something the women's doesn't have.
The jumper has a casual fit but is still designed to suit the sizes you would expect if you were buying one of its cycling-specific jerseys. I have always worn large Rapha tops, and the large jumper here fitted me nicely.
There is little to suggest there's a windproof layer underneath the front when you look at it. The only giveaway is that the jumper does make a little noise when moving about as the smooth windproof layer rubs against the wool. It isn't anything too noticeable unless you are in a quiet place, but when you're wearing it on the bike the only thing you notice is how well it blocks cold wind.
It doesn't come cheap, at £140, but it's a well made and good looking piece of kit that also performs well on casual bike rides.
Overall I was impressed with the jersey. If you need a jumper that looks good off the bike and performs well on it, it's a great choice. Breathability isn't as good as you would find with a traditional cycling-specific jersey, but when you compare it to any similar jumper not designed for riding, it's really good. The windproofing, which is the main selling point, is impressive in keeping the cold out.
A well made and good looking casual riding jumper that's great for when the mercury drops
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Merino Stand Collar Dot Print Jersey
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
It's a jersey designed for casual, urban, cold weather riding with a hidden windproof front panel.
Rapha says, "A knitted jumper with a high collar and concealed windproof front panel, designed with cool city riding in mind."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Concealed wind stopping fabric acts as a barrier to the wind
Back pocket with mini ring puller for ease of use
Fold back double 'signalcuffs' with reflective and hi-vis pink stripes for visibility
Really well made. I'd imagine it would be difficult to conceal a windproof layer without it impacting the shape of a jumper, but Rapha has managed it well.
Performed really well, offering a useful level of windproofing with good enough breathability for casual riding.
Well made and some hardly materials used.
Impressively good fit and shape while incorporating the windproof layer.
It's great that Rapha can create a large jersey that fits me for performance riding and a large jumper that fits in a totally different, but equally effective way.
It's soft, warm and has decent breathability for casual riding.
It isn't a bargain at £140, but it goes some way to justifying the price. It's also currently reduced to £98, but only sizes M and L are available, so you might want to get in quick...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, just shoved it in the washing machine at 30 without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very wel. It's not a jersey designed for high-intensity riding, but for slower, more casual riding it performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The way it looks just as good off the bike as on it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The noise it makes with the rustling of the windproof material against the main material.
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 overall score
It's a very nice, good looking jersey with hidden windproofing, so it does everything you need it to with little fuss. It looks good off the bike and performs well on it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.