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Verdict: 
Excellent technical performance, and it's Rapha style through and through
Weight: 
645g
Contact: 

Rapha's Hooded Rain Jacket II is a fantastic waterproof jacket for about town – on the bike and off it. It's not flawless, though, which is a shame at £230.

  • Pros: Waterproof and breathable, good on-bike fit, good off-bike fit
  • Cons: Sizes a little generously, basic hood system, price

The first thing to point out about the jacket is that it's brilliantly waterproof and breathable, with a hardiness that belies the shots that you see of it here. The fabric is thick, almost softshell-like, and that adds real resilience. Unlike the first version of the Hooded Rain Jacket (Tass reviewed the women's version last year), which was a little more lightweight, this is designed to really fill that mid-weight-outer market space.

> Buy this online here

It's not the slimmest cut, but leaves space for casual clothing or thermal layers to be worn underneath, which is a bonus in cold weather.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - back.jpg

I was a little surprised at how large the large size we had on test actually was. There's plenty of space around the midsection, and although you can draw the hem in with the internal fixing system, it still feels like you have a little too much spare fabric in the jacket itself.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - drawstring.jpg

I tend to fit between a medium and large in tops of varying descriptions, and given the choice I would opt for the smaller size if I knew that I had a thermal weatherproof jacket to fall back on when it's really cold out. The upside is that I've been able to wear it over a knitted jumper when the temperature has dropped, so it's swings and roundabouts.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - zip and hem.jpg

Nevertheless, it works well on the bike and off it, with a dropped tail (which can be extended as an extra splash guard) covering your behind, and sleeves that are plenty long enough with an adjustable cuff.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - cuffs.jpg

Up top, the hood offers plenty of coverage and turns a bit with your head. It wraps down into a cylinder-like structure around the back of the neck and attaches using the pink tab (which has a popper on it) that you can see pictured. It's a simple system, and if rolled up untidily can lead to a little discomfort behind the head – one might argue that being able to roll the hood away into a zipped compartment that doubles as a collar might not be a simpler solution. Taking care with it solves this potential problem.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - hood.jpg
Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - hood folded.jpg

These niggles aside, the Hooded Rain Jacket II is a classy and stylish garment that – a little ironically – isn't obviously Rapha, even to the trained eye. The signature armband and Rapha branding sit subliminally as they're the same colour as the main fabric. The only telltale signs are the pink Rapha-branded tab that wraps over the hood and the tail if you have it dropped.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - sleeve logo.jpg

However, what really stands out is the performance of this almost exclusively urban-orientated jacked. Rain beads off with ease, and after a good six weeks of changeable weather its performance hasn't diminished. The taped seams inside are high quality, while the fabric can shift excess body heat really well – better than a lot of technical hardshell-type jackets I've tried over the past few years.

Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II - inside.jpg

It needs careful washing with a delicate tech wash to maintain this performance – and you'll likely want to take particular care of it anyway because the price tag is typically 'Rapha' at a bottom-clenching £230. For that money it would be nice if the jacket was absolutely perfect in terms of the niggles I've mentioned, but some, like the extra space around the midriff or generous sizing, might appeal to you more than it does me.

> Buyer's Guide: The best kit for casual cycle commuting

Even at that price, it doesn't look bad value when you compare it with Lumo's Regents Parka, though you can go technical-but-casual for a lot less if Galibier's Bedoin Podium suits...

However, the bottom line is that when it comes to doing a technical-yet-stylish job about town, the Rapha does it very well.

Verdict

Excellent technical performance, and it's Rapha style through and through

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Hooded Rain Jacket II

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the jacket 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 next generation of the Hooded Rain Jacket has been designed with a hard-wearing fabric and a raft of technical features to create a robust, protective jacket. The three-layer softshell fabric offers good mechanical stretch for a fit that is comfortable on and off the bike, and when worn on top of a couple of other layers. The high performance membrane and backing fabric are bolstered by fully sealed seams for complete protection in the rain. If you're caught in an intense downpour, the elasticated hem and integrated drawcord hood can be adjusted to provide additional protection. The hood is adjusted using a fully bonded, low profile Cohaesive cord lock and stows away neatly beneath the hi-vis hood retention strap. A full length, two-way zip allows the jacket to be opened from the waist and, combined with laser cut ventilation under the arms, prevents overheating. In a nod to the jacket's predecessor, the zip is bordered on one side by a signature Pro Team placket and lower down by two sleek and secure zipped pockets. A new and improved hi-vis pink drop tail provides added protection against road spray but folds away neatly into the hem. In conjunction with the reflective and hi-vis detailing on the seamless signal cuffs, the drop tail also transforms the jacket into a highly reflective piece for riding in low light conditions."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Features:

- Three layer fabric with waterproof membrane

- Two secure zipped pockets for essentials

- Aquaguard waterproof two-way zip

- Stretch fabric for use on and off the bike

- Embroidered Rapha logo on armband

- Elasticated hem for full adjustability

- Subtle Cohaesive cord locks on the hood drawcord

- Fully taped seams for waterproof protection

- Signature Pro Team velcro placket

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The hood can be a little messy, but other than that it's great, right down to the adjusters.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
10/10

Technically, it's awesome.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
9/10

Nothing to complain about here.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
10/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
10/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
6/10

Okay fit as an outer, but thinner cyclists might find the midsection space a little much.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
6/10

Sizes a touch large.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10

645g isn't that heavy, but it's not exceptionally light either.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10

The cuffs are a bit 'solid', but I was always comfortable in it.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

£230 is very expensive, but there's performance here to justify it. It's a lot cheaper than the Lumo Regents Parka...

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Tech wash all the way.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Waterproof and breathable, works well on the bike and off.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Sizes a little generously, basic hood system.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There aren't any to really directly compare to it, to be honest. The Lumo Regents Parka is £400.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes – it's a great leisure piece.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, I would.

Use this box to explain your overall score

There are a couple of niggles, and it ain't cheap, but the sheer performance of the fabric brings the Hooded Rain Jacket II up to 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016)  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding