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Rapha + Outdoor Voices Jersey

7
£120.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Comfortable and high-performance jersey with innovative storage for long days in the saddle
Relaxed fit
Pockets aplenty
Innovative feature to hold jersey in place when pockets are loaded
Expensive
Weight: 
1g
Contact: 

The Rapha + Outdoor Voices Jersey is perfect for those reluctant to pull on a skin-tight top but keen to experience fabric that performs on the bike. With ample storage space and a comfortable, relaxed fit, it's ideal for long days on a variety of terrains, though the price will put some off.

Although the range is targeting women who want adventure and fun over racing and speed, the jersey has what Rapha calls a 'pro fit', saying it's 'designed to sit close to the skin, with a high stretch fabric that hugs the body' and describing the fabric as 'aero'. (If Rapha's collaboration with Outdoor Voices passed you by, you can read about it here.)

> Buy this online here

I'd say its cut is akin to what a more casual roadie or gravel/adventure rider might look for, with plenty of length in the body, and the sleeves don't stop short either. The sleeve cuffs fit comfortably, too, and don't leave a mark.

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - cuff.jpg

I tested a medium, falling into a small chest-wise and a medium waist-wise, and had plenty of breathing room, though not to the extent that the jersey was baggy. (It's not me in the photos.) It's not an all-out racing jersey for sure, and most of my testing was done while gravel riding and on mini-tours.

It's lightweight and very breathable, perfect for summer riding. The 88% polyester, 12% elastane composition makes for a soft, stretchy fabric that feels comfortable even without a baselayer. Rapha points out that it is dyed and sublimated, so there should be no white out when the fabric is stretched (as can sometimes happen with cheaper jerseys).

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - back.jpg

The fabric washes well and dries out very quickly too. The panel that sits behind the pockets, together with the tail, has a slightly more open weave in comparison to the main fabric of the jersey – a thoughtful detail that offers extra breathability for the part that is pressed against the body when the pockets are loaded. And there are a lot of pockets...

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - pockets.jpg

First, three conventional pockets at the rear are roomy and well positioned; then there is an integrated see-through phone pocket sitting on top of the central pocket, big enough for an uncased, 6-inch smartphone. The flap over the top of this pocket doesn't make access easy, though, so I'd say it's best to pack it before putting on the jersey.

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - pocket.jpg

Also, stuffing the central pocket isn't ideal if you are using the phone pocket for its intended purpose – I couldn't get my phone out if I did this. I found the see-through pocket more useful for keys and coins.

Lateral zips give access to a storage 'sleeve' that sits behind the three rear pockets, but there's a limit to the amount of kit you can fit into it before things start feeling rather uncomfortable on the lower back.

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - zip pocket.jpg

Finally, there's also a loop in the phone pocket to attach an included accessory case to.

With all this storage going on, Rapha has placed two strips of tape inside the jersey to help support and stabilise it, particularly useful if pockets are unevenly loaded. And, quite simply, it works – impressive on a relaxed fit jersey.

Other details and finishing are what you would expect from a jersey in this price bracket: as well as a full-length zip guard, there's a garage to prevent neck irritation, reinforced pocket joints, matching sleeve and pocket binding, and a suede-like lining at the collar.

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - zip.jpg

Although the jersey is designed for long days in the saddle, it's not that great when it comes to reflective detailing: a Rapha + Outdoor Voices logo on the upper right shoulder and, oddly, one on the inside zip guard.

2020 Rapha and Outdoor Voices jersey - sleeve logo.jpg

The green option I tested is no longer available, but red and pale blue are, the latter without the terrazzo pattern.

Value

In-house comparisons might suggest that the jersey is a little overpriced. Okay, it's no surprise that Rapha's 'more affordable' Core range jerseys, both standard and lightweight models (male versioned reviewed here), are half the price, but its Classic Flyweight Jersey is still £30 cheaper too.

That said, it's £6 cheaper than Ashmei's Croix De Fer, and £10 less than 7Mesh's now-£130 Ashlu (Tass tested last year's, last year). 

> Read more road.cc reviews of women’s cycling jerseys

You can, of course, pay less: Lusso's Merino Plum Jersey doesn't have the same storage, but it's £50 less than the Rapha.

Conclusion

The Rapha + Outdoor Voices Jersey is versatile and performs well on a variety of terrains, and its comfort, storage options and novel stabilising features are all selling points, though whether they fully justify the price tag is hard to say.

Verdict

Comfortable and high-performance jersey with innovative storage for long days in the saddle

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 Outdoor Voices Jersey

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says, 'This jersey is for those who love to do their moving on a bike, made with a high performance fabric that's cool and comfortable too. Featuring an integrated see-through phone pocket, a matching essentials case for keeping smaller items safe and sound, it's perfect for all-day bike rides where more storage options are required.'

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

Rapha lists:

-Matching essentials case in back pocket.

-Aero fabric with beautiful texture and contrast.

-All materials dyed and sublimated – no white-out stretch effect of cheaper jerseys.

-Matching sleeve and pocket binding.

-Rear pocket features through zip with custom pullers.

-Integrated see-through phone pocket on back pockets.

-Back tape to support pockets.

-Super technical material with high stretch, fast-wicking and breathability.

-88% Polyester.

-12% Elastane.

-140g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Encouraging to see reinforcement tabs at the pocket joints.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Relaxed. Generous sleeve length. Decent tail.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

Stay true to size to get the intended relaxed fit.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Exceptionally comfortable, though fully loading of the pockets may lead to irritation on the lower back.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Expensive, but you get plenty of storage features and 'technology' to cope with loading them all. And there are others that cost more...

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

Easy, no issues with fabric deterioration during the test period.

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

Keeps you cool and comfortable, and can carry more kit than the average jersey, if you want it to.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The relaxed fit, ideal for gravel and adventure riding.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a lot, maybe a bit overkill on the pockets for me.

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

Top end; there are certainly cheaper ones out there.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I can't fault the jersey's performance, construction, fit or comfort, and few offer the same storage, but some of that extra space, even though it is supported and stabilised, isn't as well placed or easily accessible as it could be. It's also pretty pricey.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 173cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Road  My best bike is: Carbon road.

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!

Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 

After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing. 

Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…

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