Rapha’s long sleeve jersey is made from mid-weight Sportwool, a 50:50 mix of merino wool and polyester, so it’s soft and comfy next to your skin, it’s warm, it wicks sweat away well, it’s resistant to odour…
Basically, it’s one of the stars of the range. You don’t get the warmth of a thick, brush-backed jersey, but it comes into its own on top of a base layer for off-season training rides, and underneath a gilet or windproof shell when the temperature really plummets.
The cut is slim with generous length in the arms and back to keep you covered when you’re stretched forward to the bars, while the neck is a centimetre taller than on our model from last year, which is fine with us – we found it a little low before. You get a baffle to stop the wind blowing in through the zip, a chin guard to stop it scratching, and a drawstring and silicon gripper to hold the hem in place; all of them work well.
There are three pockets round the back, plus a smaller zipped one for stashing your valuables and an internal sleeve for your mini-pump. They’ve added a reinforcing band this year to hold the pockets more stable when they’re loaded up and provide extra durability… not that we had any problems here previously.
The only other obvious change is in the colour options. Red and black stay, but purple and blue get dropped in favour of the beluga (it’s a whale, a sturgeon, or a submarine; something from the deep, anyway) version pictured
Colours: Red/white, black/white, beluga/ash
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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.