Great bit of winter kit whose price will be forgotten long before its usefulness & quality

This one is predestined to get the usual Rapha critics all hot under the collar, so as they’ll be toasty warm enough already they don’t need to read any further. For the rest of you the Rapha Winter Collar is a wool mix tubey-scarf thing (yes, there's brand-name avoidance going on here) to protect the neck from the wind and provide a layer of warmth that a standard jersey or jacket collar can't provide.

An insulated neck means a warmer cyclist, there's some pretty major blood highways running up and down the neck close to the skin and exposing them to a chill wind will cool the blood and therefore the body down, so keeping them covered and cosy will keep a whole body warm.

The Winter Collar is a versatile and easily portable way of carrying an extra bit of lagging around on a ride, like an arm-warmer for the, erm, neck, good for the chilly start of a commute or the last ten miles of a training ride, or worn all the time for the worst of the Winter where it can just be worn low to stop draughts whistling between the jersey and neck gap and then pulled up onto the chin or nose for freezing descents or worn high for the whole ride if it's proper nippy out. And the small but significant psychological effect of being totally wrapped up and snuggy sealed against the elements can't be ignored.

The Rapha Collar's 93% merino wool and 7% Spandex composition makes it both warm and a little bit stretchy. The stretchy bit means you can get it over your head easily and once it's there hook it on your chin to form a wind-free barrier or even higher over the ears if it's really cold, the wool bit means it has all those nice qualities of natural fibre, it feels soft against the skin, it’s warm, it wicks well and it doesn’t need to be washed all the time. This one’s been worn lots, got a bit snotty, kept in a sweaty and muddy pocket for too many rides and snuffled about in the bottom of a courier-bag for long enough and it’s still refusing to smell like a man-made fabric would do after such careless treatment. Although the crusty edge means it could probably do with a wash now.

Rather than just being a simple tube of cloth cut to length like other such garments the Rapha Collar is made from (count 'em) two pieces of material, the seams are flat-locked and the open ends are tidily hemmed and the whole thing is tailored to fit with a longer front to extend warmth further down the chest, you can tell it’s the front as there’s a discreet Rapha logo there.

At £25 this might seem the perfect candidate for your standard knee-jerk Rapha Rip-Off Whinge but as other similar types of clothing cost around £10 for what is essentially a basic tube of printed lycra the price for these items seems suspiciously high anyway, and the Rapha Collar is only slightly more than comparable wool-based offerings but has a better level of finish and added tailoring, although the latter means it's less versatile as an adaptable piece of headwear than the generic neck tubes.

Colours - Red, pink and black.


The Rapha Winter Collar is one of those items that might seem expensive initially but thanks to it's quality construction, warm wooly goodness and the fact that it's likely to get used for most rides between October and March for years to come it will make you wonder how you ever did without it.

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Winter Collar

Size tested: One size, pink

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?

"Made from a rich merino wool blend, the Rapha Winter Collar is a versatile product which is ideal for both winter training and city cycling. An extension of Rapha’s base layer system, the merino fabric provides excellent protection against the cold and is highly breathable. Available in black, red, and pink, the stretch in the fabric means it can be pulled over the head for extra protection on particularly cold days."

We'd agree with all that, a versatile little cuff of material that we've used for both proper cycle rides and just trips to the shops to keep warm. And even as a little post-race num-num comfort-blanket for the neck.

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

Durable Merino stretch fabric, ergonomic design, off set and flat locked seams for comfort. Subtle Rapha branding.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
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Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
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Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The Rapha Winter Collar did its neck warming job perfectly, and it made us smile at the same time, because it's a nice thing.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The non-smelly soft woolliness and the pink.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product


Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I'd still gulp a tiny little bit at the price, but yes. The quality will be remembered long after price has been forgotten and all that.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, I'd also recommend it to anyone if they were after cyclist's gift ideas.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

It’s a snood, a wool snood. In pink if you want.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

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: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.


Coodsta [113 posts] 7 years ago

My darling wife got me one of these for christmas and its defintately worth the money. I've been wearing mine pretty much constantly on & off the bike since I got it. I've been using a merino neck warmer for the last three winters and tailored shape does fit around the neck better and with less bunching up of material. The one downside I can see is the because its shaped it's not so easy to turn into a beanie/headband as a Buff. It's pink, its wool, its Rapha what's not to love/hate(Delete according to your own preferences)

Would I buy one again, yes, would I recommend it to a friend, definitely. if you can get over the fact it's Rapha it's a brilliantly designed bit of kit that will last for years...

Fixie Girl [165 posts] 7 years ago

For not much more than a winter buff I got one as a present too…

It is very girlie in pink not sure I'd have the intestinal fortitude to wear it if I was a guy!


bikeandy61 [544 posts] 7 years ago

I too was a little on the "typical Rapha" jag and I have lots of their stuff. However Buff do a merino version which is £20 so to my mind considering that this is 2 pieces of cloth and is properly tailored (while as stated Buff charge at least a tenner for a simple printed tube of lycra) one has to consider that for once Rapha are putting out a bit of kit that is at a market level price point. Get one now - they'll be £45 next winter when they realise. After all got to make these things so that only bankers get to afford them.

TheHatter [770 posts] 7 years ago

By far the best value item on the Rapha site. I wouldn't part with me and don't regret a penny of the price. Being merino it works well in mild weather right down to sub zero.

Grizzerly [369 posts] 7 years ago

It's a scarf, guys! It's twenty-five quid!

TheHatter [770 posts] 7 years ago
Grizzerly wrote:

It's a scarf, guys! It's twenty-five quid!

yes but its only a scarf in the same way as a Colnago is only a bike

obutterwick [474 posts] 6 years ago

Best purchase I made this winter (my girlfriend got me Rapha arm warmers, too). Wasn't easy parting wih £25 at first, but worth it for the warmth and quality.