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The Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gilet is really good at keeping the wind off your chest, without making you too warm when climbing. The design is simple and stylish and includes some useful features such as the double-ended zip. Weighing only 88g, it fits easily into any jersey pocket, making it a versatile item for wearing from spring through to autumn.
While the front of the gilet is thin but windproof, the rear is made of a mesh fabric, with an element of stretch to ensure a tight fit.
Rapha's Pro Team clothing is meant to be close fitting, and I found this gilet strikes a good balance of being tight but still comfortable when worn on top of a jersey with full pockets. The fit and elastication around the shoulders mean there's no flapping in the wind, without it being too tight or restrictive. I'm 182cm tall, and the medium sized gilet was spot on.
An elastic hem at the rear, with good gripper on the inside, stops the gilet from riding up.
The gilet itself has no pockets, but one of my favourite features is its double-ended zip. It potentially costs you an extra second or so when initially trying to get the gilet on, but makes accessing jersey pockets super-easy.
I'm a big fan of Rapha's simple but stylish Pro Team range, and I really like how this gilet looks. The Rapha logo and branding is minimal, with a small logo on the front and rear, in addition to the six discreet 'convict stripes' that signify the Pro Team range.
I really like the green gilet on test, too; at the time of writing it isn't currently available, but other colours include burgundy, black and two shades of blue.
Despite being a featherweight, the gilet packs a punch against cold winds. I really noticed how well it kept me warm. Usually I would wear this at the start of a ride, before I'd really warmed up, then stow it in a rear pocket after a coffee break if the weather permitted.
It's not the warmest – I tested it mostly in temperatures that generally didn't get much below 12°C; any lower and I'd be looking for something a little warmer. It isn't waterproof either, but with it being so easy to keep in a back pocket, I was happy to take it with me if the skies were looking grey.
The mesh back is effective at preventing overheating; I never found that I got particularly sweating when climbing – an issue I've certainly had with other gilets.
The Pro Team Lightweight gilet retails at £90, which at first glance feels pretty steep for a very small bit of fabric, but you can get a lot of use out of it, which helps justify the price.
Rapha also offers an Explore Lightweight gilet for £85, which is even lighter at 56g, though this is looser fitting and aimed at a different usage.
Overall, the Rapha gilet is a great item of clothing. I'm a gilet-wearer anyway and already own a few for different temperatures, but I've found the Pro Team Lightweight especially useful because of how small it packs down and how little it weighs. It's no problem at all to have this stowed in your pocket, and when on it looks really good and performs very well.
Super-light, super-packable gilet that performs very well and looks super-stylish
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Men's Pro Team Lightweight Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says, 'A lightweight, packable gilet for early starts and cold descents.
'The Pro Team Lightweight Gilet is a thin outer layer perfect for riding in cold conditions and pit stops at cafés. It can be packed down easily and stowed away in a jersey pocket until the temperature drops. The long-awaited update to a longstanding piece in the range, this gilet has a mesh back, providing just the right amount of ventilation, allowing you to ride hard without overheating. A slightly raised collar provides added protection from cold winds. Designed with comfort and performance in mind, the armholes have been redesigned to fit the contours of the shoulders preventing the gilet from riding up and are cut specifically for an on-bike position. As well as a reflective logo on the collar, there are also reflective stripes on the bottom front panel for added visibility in low light.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lightweight and packable
Easily fits in a jersey pocket
Reflective details on collar and front panel
Silicone directly applied to hem to keep gilet in place
Pro Team 'convict stripes' on front placket
Very high quality construction.
The windproof fabric on the front of the gilet provides a good level of wind protection, while the mesh rear combined with the double ended zip provide good breathability and ventilation.
No deterioration in performance in eight weeks of use, despite it often being packed into a pocket.
At a slim 5ft 11in and 70kg I am usually between small and medium for Rapha tops. The medium gilet was the right size for me, especially when I had a jersey with full pockets underneath. The length was good too.
At only 88g, the gilet was barely noticeable.
The gilet is worn over a jersey, so no real contact against the skin. The collar is good, the top of the zip well protected. I didn't experience any discomfort.
At £90, it's on the expensive side, but I'd be happy to spend this much on something I use so regularly that performs this well and looks stylish, adding to the value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washable at a low temperature, carefully given the lightweight fabrics.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed very well. I used this gilet on morning and evening rides where I was unsure whether I would need an extra layer. It gives good wind protection, particularly at higher speeds. I didn't overheat when climbing, and also found it really quick and easy to take off and fold into my jersey pocket, while waiting at a set of traffic lights for example.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Protection against wind without overheating, the double-ended zip makes accessing jersey pockets easier, and the plain design and colour. It also packs down into a jersey pocket very easily.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap, but sits alongside gilets from the likes of Endura and Chapeau! which, though not as light, do offer more weather protection.
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
The gilet is really good – superlight, easy to pack, stylish looking and a great fit. It's not cheap, but the quality is high and it performs really well, ideal for unpredictable weather for at least three seasons of the year.
About the tester
I usually ride: S-Works Tarmac 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, cyclo cross, club rides, Gravel on a CX bike