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review

Rapha Men’s Pro Team Gore-Tex Rain Jacket

8
£220.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Totally waterproof and very breathable jacket, slightly let down by the cuffs
Breathability close to ShakeDry's
Very waterproof
Excellent fit
Cuffs need more stretch
Weight: 
148g
Contact: 

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Rapha's Men's Pro Team Gore-Tex Rain Jacket is a brilliant option for biblical rain. The breathability is close to that of ShakeDry jackets and the fit is excellent. I would prefer more stretch in the cuffs, though, and I'm not totally sold on the claim this jacket is meaningfully more durable than ShakeDry as that's already impressively durable.

My initial reaction to this jacket was to question why you'd buy it over Rapha's own Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex jacket, which uses the fantastic ShakeDry material. The answer, says Rapha, is for more durability. Gore-Tex ShakeDry is super thin and hydrophobic for unrivalled packability, but it can be quite delicate. Well, that's the claim... My Gore version of the jacket (which uses the same material) has come through every winter since I reviewed it in 2018 without a blemish.

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So, to properly test the durability, along with giving the waterproofing and breathability a test, I grabbed my mountain bike and subjected the Pro Team to a trial by mud. Aside from the fun of sliding around on the slick trails, there is a method to my madness; if a jacket is claiming to be breathable, the low speeds and high efforts of off-road climbing are the perfect way find out.

But first up, the most important feature of a rain jacket is waterproofing. The Gore-Tex Active material is a three-layer design that has a waterproof treatment applied to it. This carries a Black Diamond rating, so it should keep you dry for hours in the heaviest rain and, from what I can tell, it does just that.

I've never worn another jacket as good as Gore's own ShakeDry Stretch, but this Pro Team comes very close. Road rides have left me with much the same conclusion. On one Sunday ride in intermittent rain with two much fitter friends, I was able to leave the jacket zipped up, which was very nice as one of them wasn't running mudguards. I'm not naming any names, Will.

I was getting a constant watering from the sky and the rear wheel of Will, and the jacket shrugged it all off with ease. Breathability is certainly a strong point. I found I was clinging to the wheel on several occasions, and I never felt clammy. If you find your current jacket overly sweaty as soon as your effort nudges up past easy, this could be a very good upgrade.

The durability claim is a little more difficult to test. If you took the Pro Team Rain and one of the ShakeDry jackets and crashed in both, you'd probably need a new jacket both times. I wouldn't say that, if properly used, either jacket is delicate, though this Pro Team Rain is slightly thicker.

Whatever the case, you still have to care for it correctly. The Active fabric is the lightest in Gore's range of three-layer fabrics and comes with some very specific washing instructions; only liquid detergent is allowed, and two rinses are required. You must wash at 40°C, line dry, then stick it in the tumble dryer for 20 minutes to reactivate the water-repellent treatment.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - taped seams.jpg

Do this, though, and it continues to fend off the heaviest rain for hours.

One of the instantly visible benefits to this fabric is the colour. ShakeDry is great if, unlike Dido, you want to wear anything as long as it is black. I really like this green/peach option, as it is certainly more interesting than black. Which is also available, or nearly – it's actually a dark navy with white highlights.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - back.jpg

Rapha includes a double-ended zipper for easier access to jersey pockets, though in my experience, using rear pockets with gloved hands generally leads to the flapping jacket getting tucked into the pocket too. I still, therefore, find it easier to simply go no-handed, pull the hem of the jacket up and get at my snacks that way. Still, each to their own on this one.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - zip detail.jpg

The fit is pretty much spot on, in my opinion. This is a Pro Team garment and thus aimed at racer types. The close fit means there is very little to flap about in the wind, and the cut kept me comfortable on the bike.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - hem.jpg

The tail has a nicely long drop to protect the lower back, but it isn't excessive. The front, meanwhile, is short enough to stop the jacket bunching too badly. The high collar is cut quite close, and it's lined to keep it comfortable against the skin.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - tail.jpg

There is one aspect to the fit that I didn't like, and that's the cuff. It is a very close fit, which is good, but there needs to be some sort of extra stretch here – it's not easy to get on and off on those days where the rain comes and goes. A segment of ShakeDry Stretch here wouldn't go amiss.

2021 Rapha Mens Pro Team Rain Jacket - cuff.jpg

The logos and print on the rear hem, cuffs and front are all reflective to add a touch of visibility.

Value

At £220, the Pro Team Rain jacket is the same price as the Pro Team Lightweight jacket which uses the ShakeDry fabric. Both are properly waterproof, easily packable and very breathable, so I feel like the deciding factor will be whether you want a black jacket or a more colourful one.

Away from Rapha, the Pactimo Men's Torrent Stretch Waterproof Cape is £158, the Le Col Pro Rain Jacket is £240 and the Castelli Idro 3 Jacket is £320, so there are plenty of options whatever your budget.

> 37 of the best 2021 waterproof cycling jackets

Still winning every value argument, however, is the Galibier Tourmalet 3 Jacket at £68. Do you really go out in the rain enough to justify spending more? Only you can decide that.

Conclusion

The Rapha Pro Team Rain Jacket provides waterproofing and breathability that is as close as you can get to a ShakeDry jacket while also being colourful and, supposedly, more durable. Stretchier cuffs would make it a lot easier to get on and off in changeable weather, though.

Verdict

Totally waterproof and very breathable jacket, slightly let down by the cuffs

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Men's Pro Team Gore-Tex Rain Jacket

Size tested: Small

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?

From Rapha: "The Pro Team Rain Jacket is constructed with the lightest and most breathable 3-layer fabric in the GORE-TEX family for complete waterproof protection without compromise on breathability or packability. With a durable woven face fabric, GORE-TEX Active delivers added durability when compared with GORE-TEX Shakedry jackets. A newly developed lightweight waterproof membrane guarantees Black Diamond-certified protection, while a C-knit backer ensures comfort next to the skin."

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

Black Diamond certified waterproof protection

Highly breathable for temperature control during tougher efforts

High collar with mesh lining for maximum weather protection

Contrast RAPHA logos and Pro Team bars

Reflective details for visibility in low light

Set-in contrast armband

Minimal trims throughout for low pack volume

Integrated hanger loop

Main Body:

100% Nylon

Armband:

100% Nylon

Inner collar:

100% Nylon mesh

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
6/10

Cuffs. Make them stretchier.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

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

Very specific washing instructions, but it was fine.

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

Brilliantly. It keeps out the rain and you don't boil from the inside.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

This is as close as a jacket has come, in my opinion, to rivalling a ShakeDry for waterproofing and breathability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

The cuffs aren't stretchy enough. It makes getting the jacket on and (in particular) off while riding a real challenge.

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

It is in the middle of a lot of very good options.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? I'd have to go with the ShakeDry Stretch for the better cuff design.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It misses out on an 'excellent' rating due to the cuffs, as they make intermittent weather a bit challenging. But otherwise, this is a very good waterproof jacket for fast riding.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7  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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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