Rapha's Lightweight Brevet jersey takes the recipe of the original short sleeve model and makes it lighter. In effect, it's a brilliant summer weight jersey for anything but the freakishly hot days.
Rapha's Brevet jersey came onto the scene a good few years ago now, designed for the rigours of ultra-distance riding and for those not necessarily wanting something that might have spent serious time in a wind tunnel. We reviewed the original back in 2015 (when it came packaged with a matching contrasting gilet) and again later that year when Rapha launched a high-vis version.
Both of those were long sleeve, with a short sleeve version following, and then a Windblock style short sleeve option too. And now we've got the lightweight version for test. Phew. Keeping up? Good.
In short, we've rated each and every one highly (either 4 or 4.5 stars). They've performed really well each time we've subjected them to long days in the saddle, and in varying temperatures and weathers too.
Three sizeable ordinary pockets backed by a fourth large zipped cargo pouch, plus a front zipped one especially for your brevet card, AND a zipped side security pocket provides just about all the carrying capacity anyone could need on their person, while the fit and cut has always been superb for anyone not wanting to feel strangled in ultra-tight Lycra on long days (or indeed, on any ride). The shape of the design has changed marginally, but to me the Brevet jersey remains just as comfortable to wear as it did before, with plenty of space around the shoulders and torso without feeling baggy.
For this lightweight version, pretty much all those plus points remain, because over the past five-plus years the recipe has stayed pretty much the same. Except here, the whole construction is lighter, using a thinner summer-weight yarn that creates a really breathable, cool jersey.
Putting it on, it's noticeably thinner and lighter than the standard short sleeve version, weighing 221g in a large, and when you get going, air can penetrate right through to keep you cool, thanks to the 100gsm fabric on the main panels and mesh-like fabric on the flanks. On some of the warmer days this year, it's performed brilliantly.
Only in the very hottest weather – I'm talking over 30 degrees – do you ever feel like you might want something even lighter. The fabric, which has dropped the merino wool content, is brilliant at wicking moisture, and drying quickly too even when sat still.
When the temperature does dip into single figures on a clear early morning, a gilet – Rapha's Brevet or indeed any other – is a perfect accompaniment to keep the wind off the torso, and I found I could get away without one in anything other than single figures.
Often, the downside of a lighter construction is some loss in hardiness, but in the near two months that I've had the Rapha Brevet Lightweight jersey on test, I've seen no evidence of it here. The fabric isn't susceptible to fraying against rough surfaces, and even in the white colourway still looks fresh. Sun cream, road dust and sweaty marks wash out really well.
In the now traditional, distinctive Rapha style, the 'armbands' come with a second reflective band for added visibility in darker conditions. If you don't like white for the risk of dirtying it, there are three other colours to choose from.
At £120, the Brevet Lightweight jersey is on the expensive side, but when you consider the sheer flexibility of use – long-range all-day rides, audaxes, sportives, general group rides and comfortable solo spins in warm weather – you'll certainly get your money's worth. It's £12 cheaper than the PEdAL ED Odyssey (now £132), which also features good levels of practicality – but there's no doubt in my mind that the Brevet's distribution of pockets is the stronger of the two. Throw in the great fabric for all-day riding, and the Brevet does emerge at the top of the (admittedly short) pile.
It's fast become one of my favourite summer jerseys, and I'll probably only switch to something warmer and rain resistant when I'm reluctantly forced to.
The highly-rated Rapha Brevet loses some weight for summer – and is arguably even better for it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Brevet Lightweight Jersey
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says: "This summer weight version of our Brevet Jersey may shave considerable weight for performance in the heat, but retains all the hard wearing capabilities of the original. It's cooler and more breathable, and wicks moisture away from the skin faster on your longest, hottest adventures. Designed for riding day after day, the jersey can be washed and dried quickly, ready for the next ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rapha says: "Updated for this season, this latest iteration incorporates improved fabrics and a reworked pocket layout to help you venture further and faster in the heat. Pairing an exceptionally breathable, 100gsm fabric on the front and back with lightweight mesh side panels, the jersey regulates body temperature effectively even on rides under the midday sun. Two signature Brevet stripes, one reflective, one hi-vis, adorn the chest while the jersey's armband is also reflective to help keep you seen. A hidden chest pocket is integrated into the top chest stripe and provides the first of three new storage options on this updated jersey.
"Another hidden pocket is positioned on the front of the jersey while a larger, stitched pocket extends across the back section to carry a spare gilet or even a jacket. Each of these pockets is lined with the same mesh as the side panels for optimised ventilation. Three traditional cargo pockets keep another other ride essentials within easy reach. A lightweight, elasticated hem keeps the jersey in place even with stuffed pockets."
Excellent quality, though arguably this lighter polyester-based fabric may wear slightly quicker than the usual merino wool blend.
Rapha says it's perfect for the "hottest" conditions; I'd argue that anything over 30 degrees and you might be wanting a super lightweight jersey.
Very good, and no signs of fraying despite the lighter construction.
For me, the Rapha Brevet jerseys are the kings of the castle – ideal for anyone other than an outright racer.
Large fits me perfectly, as I would expect it to.
It isn't the lightest summer jersey, but that's easily compensated for by other factors.
No grippers on the arms are a plus, while the fabric is very comfortable against the skin.
It's £12 less than PEdAL ED's Odyssey, with better pocket distribution; £120 is a fair chunk of cash, but the Brevet's flexibility of use has always at least partly made up for it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy (even in the white colourway).
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly – almost flawless, to be honest.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit, cool, very comfortable, practical – classy Rapha Brevet style too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much – perhaps the chunky gripper band around the waist, but it's only a niggle.
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
One of the best jerseys I've ever worn or tested. In the summer, it excels.
About the tester
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