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Rapha Women’s Pro Team Jersey

8
£120.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Exceptional comfort owing to a slim yet accommodating cut and silky fabric, with pleasing attention to design details
Extra-stretchy fabric on arms and waist
Classy looks
Barely-there feel
Sweat patches galore
Price
Weight: 
140g
Contact: 

The Women's Pro Team Jersey is another Rapha design showing exceptional attention to detail. Featuring lightweight, cooling material in a close yet comfy fit, it's ideal for summer riding – but with its generous (in the right places) cut and snug feel, it could easily transition through seasons with a decent base and a pair of arm warmers. It's expensive, but feels like an all-round good investment.

Designed for versatile summer riding, the Pro Team Jersey sits somewhere between Rapha's super-tight Aero and super-cooling Flyweight. In short, it's designed for summer comfort over aerodynamics – though make no mistake, this is still a race-ready jersey, sitting in Rapha's body-hugging pro fit range, but just a little bit more accommodating.

> Buy this online here

This feat is achieved through a dual fabric panel construction – a departure from the rest of Rapha's women's jerseys – whereby the waist, lower front and arms are made from a stretchier, lighter and more breathable fabric than the rear and upper's UPF40 sun-protected material.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - hem.jpg

The result is a true-to-size fit that specialises in taking any curves in its stride, while continuing to hug the body for an aesthetically pleasing result and barely-there feel. I tested a small and am a size 10, but I find Rapha's smalls fit me better than some, since its range begins at XXS. (It's not me in the photos.) The fabric kept me cool as advertised, yet I still felt surprisingly protected when riding into a chillier headwind.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - back.jpg

The Pro Team jersey gets a thumbs up for comfort which, owing to several factors, I found to be exceptional. First up, its silky-smooth polyester/elastane make-up, which is super-soft against the skin while giving a pleasingly featherweight feel. Secondly, the super-smooth finish of the flatlock stitching, its wide inner seams and the generous zip encasing: a wide flap of fabric which folds over itself to produce a zip garage at the top. These elements work well together to avert any rub when in action; and all of this screams of attention to detail – something I was really impressed by when I tested the Rapha Souplesse jersey too.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - collar.jpg

Comfort is further aided by the Pro Team's cut, by the simple fact that it's generous enough in all the right places – more so than with its race-optimised products like the Souplesse Aero jersey which came up a bit short on length and collar diameter. Conversely, the length of the Pro Team protects the lower back in even the most impressive aero crouch and avoids the curse of midriff peep when chilling on the tops. This is ideal for longer torsoed riders (like me) looking for a premium product, as often women's jerseys – even at the pricey end – come up literally short of the mark, as Emma found with the PEdAL ED Kawa

Continuing the theme of generous cut, the sleeves stop only just shy of my elbows – which works really well for combining neatly with arm warmers. They hug my arms for that neat wrinkle-free finish without being too tight. They are devoid of grippers, but since the seams sit flush against the arm I didn't miss these.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - sleeve.jpg

The low-profile collar is wider than the Aero jersey's and slimmer than the Classic's for a 'just right' feel, and sat flush without being restrictive. At the base, a low profile hem aided by silicone gripper successfully kept the jersey in place.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - gripper.jpg

The only functional downside I can find with this material is just how eagerly it shows up sweat – after a few sustained efforts it developed impressive, and glaringly obvious, rings around the armpits. While this dried out quickly, the material continues to show up sweaty tide marks (lovely) but washes up as good as new every time on a 30°C cycle.

Three pockets, plus a zipped valuables compartment, sit flush across the back, appearing as one panel on the outer and constructed with a mesh interior which was really effective in averting pocket sweat.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - zip pocket.jpg

The outermost pockets are tapered to allow for easier access, and in action their placement makes it super simple to slide even the largest iPhone in and out (literally, they started making them smaller after I got mine), and they're deep enough to cover the entire phone alongside a load of other necessaries for a day in the saddle. When fully loaded there was no sagging, aided by bonded tape that sits on top.

2020 Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey - pockets.jpg

Adding to the clear attention to detail of this jersey's construction, there's also a secret label in one of the pockets with a sense of humour, but I won't ruin the surprise.

The overall aesthetic of this women's jersey is simple and tidy. You get this sense that everything – from the barely-there miniature logos to the Pro Team bar design on the zip placket – has been placed with absolute precision. Its colourway, 'grey blue', is actually lilac, but it's not a shrink-it-and-lilac-it shade, it's indeed greyer and classier than that.

The main design aesthetic on this jersey is the classic Rapha armband on the left arm which contrasts across all three colourways – a nice touch that is subtle enough, yet unmistakably Rapha.

> Buyer’s Guide: 25 of the best summer cycling jerseys

At £120 it sits towards the upper end of Rapha's women's jersey pricing range (£60-£145), and the upper end of the rest of the market too for that matter. Sure, there are plenty of jerseys at half the price, but all too often stitching quality and cut can come up short, as we found with the Altura Icon (£54.99), or the fabric and sizing can be a little off, as Rachael on our sister site, off.road.cc, found with the dhb Blok (£45).

While price is absolutely no guarantee, and you're most certainly paying for the brand here, with the Pro Team jersey it feels like you're getting a design that actually delivers across fabric, sizing, cut and stitching – in other words, all-round comfort and performance. And on a par price-wise, the ashmei Croix de Fer jersey Emma reviewed recently also won her over.

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

It's tricky to tell this early, but the Pro Team jersey also feels built to last. I've washed it several times across four weeks of testing and it's showing no sign of wear.

Overall, the Pro Team jersey is outstanding on fit, feel and function. And, while this jersey might be more relaxed than the Aero range, it hasn't forgotten its elite racewear roots. The inclusion of a team wash name tag is a nice pro touch, if entirely pointless for most of us unless your roomie happens to own the exact same jersey, but nonetheless, I obligingly wrote my name and number on it in biro and it faded after one wash. So if you are in an actual team with a shared machine, invest in a waterproof pen.

Verdict

Exceptional comfort owing to a slim yet accommodating cut and silky fabric, with pleasing attention to design details

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Women's Pro Team Jersey

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says: 'An all-round jersey with a dual-fabric design perfectly suited to summer racing and training.'

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

Rapha lists:

- High stretch fabric that aids heat convection

- Silicone waist grippers

- Full-length zip with easy-glide, lockable puller for easy adjustments

- Low-profile collar to avoid irritation

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

All the elements expected from a high performance jersey – such as stitching, fabric, zip, pockets and panels – with extra attention to detail on the nice-to-haves like logo grippers and a pro label.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Worked well in hot and cooler conditions, though the sweat patches didn't look great.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Early days, lightweight fabric but feels like it's going to last. Washes really well so far with seams staying neatly in place.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Hugs in all the right places without feeling squashed in. Super-flattering, and stays put.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

Bang on for me, nice and long in arms and body.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10

Feels really light for that barely-there feel.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Aside from the cut aiding comfort, the silky fabric feels lovely – with a slight niggle on feeling rather conspicuous when things got sweaty.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's top end, if cheaper than others in the Rapha women's range and performs well for training and feels snug enough for racing… so feels better value.

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

Washes at 30°C and comes up good as new. No sign of deterioration.

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

This does indeed perform like all-round jersey, keeping me comfortable in hot to cooler conditions – and I'd suggest that it can go beyond Rapha's suggestion of using it for summer racing and training.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The silky smooth finish and the snug-but-comfy cut.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The sweat patches. It shows moisture way more than other jerseys I've tested.

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

It's £6 less than another jersey of similar performance, the Ashmei Croix de Fer, and exactly the same as the Rapha + Outdoor Voices (which has a more relaxed fit). Otherwise, it's at the top end.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, lots.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, and I might buy the matching base for autumn.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This jersey performed brilliantly across fit, feel and function – the only downside is how much it shows up moisture, which rather detracts from the overall tidy look, and it's not cheap. Overall, though, I'd still say it's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 172cm  Weight: 60kg

I usually ride: My Scott Foil   My best bike is: Oldie but the goldie, CAAD 8

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Triathlon, Audax

Janine is an Ironman triathlete, GB Age Grouper and an Ironman Certified Coach who has raced multi-sports since 2013.

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