Rapha Jersey, Base Layer and Bib

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Classic Jersey – £125
They Say – ‘For road cyclists, a high-performance jersey is indispensable and performs multiple roles. It protects the rider from the elements, helps to regulate body temperature and stores vital cargo such as food, tools and valuables. The Rapha Classic Jersey has received numerous plaudits since it was first launched in 2004. The jersey combines functionality and cycling performance with Rapha’s trademark styling. It can be worn on its own or as an additional layer. The jersey has three main cargo pockets and an additional pump sleeve in the middle pocket. The right rear pocket has an eyelet to run headphone cables inside the jersey and an additional zipped, valuables pocket keeps contents secure. A set of complimentary arm warmers, designed specifically for use with the Classic Jersey, are perfect for cold mornings and feature a brushed fleece inner and contrast piping.

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We Say – Initial impression was, what a good-looking jersey, classy, understated, classic and well thought out. The sportwool gives a really nice feel to the jersey as merino is very comfortable. I would say it is suited to summer uk riding with spring and autumn probably requiring use of a base layer and/or the included arm-warmers. The fit is excellent with a quality zipper with a nice pink tongue detail and a draw-cord hem allowing for adjustment to prevent wind up the jersey. Three good-sized rear pockets with a little pump pocket, ipod hole plus a zipped valuables pocket. I have tested this jersey for several months now and I really find it hard to find fault with it. I have worn it with their merino base layer and found that it regulated body temperature excellently, allowing air through the layers to cool but not chill and body heat to escape adequately without sweating too much. It has also stood up well in the washing department too with no shrinkage or deformity.

In Summary – This jersey is great and I can definitely recommend it if you can afford one. Rapha even says ‘test this Classic Jersey today with a no quibble 30-day free returns offer. We are confident this is the best jersey in the world and you will be completely satisfied by the unrivalled comfort and style it offers.’ Great classic looks, great feel and fit and it performs impeccably. The only downside is perhaps the cost but like anything, you do tend to get what you pay for.

Short Sleeve Marino Base Layer – £55
They Say – Fine merino for all-day cycling comfort. Any experienced cyclist knows the value of a good base layer. It will keep you cool on scorching hot climbs in July and warm on freezing descents in January. A good base layer helps regulate body temperature whatever the weather, transferring moisture from the skin and proving a vital aid to performance. Rapha base layers are made from 100% merino wool and are naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant. Wicking moisture vapour extremely quickly, they are soft on the skin and itch free. Rapha’s merino base layers come in three styles; sleeveless, short and long sleeve. All the seams have flatlock stitching so they won’t chafe and are positioned behind the shoulders to avoid bag or bib straps rubbing while cycling. The base layers are close fitting and cut long at the back for a better fit on the bike.

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We Say – Initial impressions were a great-looking cream base layer with a really nice vintage-look detail on the collar. The classic look with discreet logos and well-placed details could make this top happily worn on the bike or around the house.

Although vintage looking, it was slightly see-through so I doubt many people would want to wear this on its own off the bike, unless you wore it round the house. I really liked the feel of this base layer with the strong stitching on the arms seams and hem. The merino wool was a great wicking material, which kept me feeling fresh and the XL size fit me perfectly. The arms were a good length and the fabric felt really nice next to the skin. I wore it mostly teamed up with the Rapha Classic Jersey that seemed to regulate my body temperature excellently.’

In Summary – The more I wear this top the more I like it, it has stood up well to washing too. All in all a nice fitting and retro-looking three-season merino base-layer.

 

Classic Bib Shorts – £145
They Say - Award Winning Bib Shorts. A comfortable pair of cycling shorts is the most important clothing purchase any rider can make. Get them right and you can spend hours in the saddle without even noticing them. Get them wrong and every kilometre will feel like a hundred. The Rapha Classic Bibs have been designed for total comfort.

The most important component in any bib shorts is the pad and Rapha shorts use the top of the range pad from specialists Cytech. It has slim, body-contoured padding and a soft, chamois finish. The shorts are made from a soft, matt-black Lycra with great stretchability. The bibs are made from a luxury mesh material with a large cutaway section in the back to prevent overheating. For extra comfort in the saddle, Rapha’s bib shorts have flatlock stitching throughout to prevent chafing and are finished with soft gripper around the legs. The shorts also have a small key pocket and black-on-black Rapha logos and are cut low at the front to make it easy to answer calls of nature.

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We Say – First impressions were good. The Lycra felt and looked very high quality. It had good (and useful!) low front to the bib and the stitching seemed to be strong. I really liked the open design of the back rather than using mesh as although mesh does vent well, an open back will breath even better. If I found that open back was too chilly under the jersey then I just added a base layer. The bib has nice discreet branding with a nifty little key pocket at the base of the back. The leg hem grippers were more than adequate and the seat padding great for the hipbones, they seemed to be perfectly placed for comfort in the saddle. On short rides the bib worked as expected but even on longer test rides I didn’t have any problems with comfort.

In Summary – I really liked the open back design for comfort and performance. Padding was excellent but to be expected at this price level. Overall, reasonably priced and the best bib I’ve tried so far. I would highly recommend.

To find out more about Rapha please check the website out
http://www.rapha.cc

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