Rapha Winter Jersey
I’ve already mentioned my disdain for classic thick winter jackets. Unless you cruise along at walking pace, riding simply generates too much heat for most of them to cope with.
The Rapha replaces those silly, bulky monstrosities with a wonderfully tailored, fuzzy thermal jersey. The fabric used has more of an emphasis on keeping heat in than wind or water out, though the surface is moderately wind resistant. And because it’s cut like a jersey, it doesn’t flap or bulge. You feel faster and sleeker in the Winter Jersey than in a jacket, but you’re just as warm.
The material isn’t very stretchy, so pay close attention to fit. The medium I’ve been using fits around my torso very well, but the arms could be just a tad longer to prevent gaps in between sleeve and glove.
Fit is great in the riding position, and looks quite silly when off the bike. The high front slides up to your belly button when standing, and the long tail drops down to your thighs. Bend over on the saddle and everything sorts itself out perfectly, though. An elastic drawstring keeps the bottom in place.
Styling is quintessential Rapha — you either love it or you hate it. I like the understated logos and classic lines, personally.
The two enormous pockets are great for stashing food for a long ride, or other layers to be put on later.
Have I mentioned this thing is WARM? I took it out on Wednesday just as the cold snap here in Boulder broke (temps went from 2˚ to 27˚) with only a thin base layer underneath and thin vest over top (see next page) and was perfectly comfortable. The Winter Jersey works down to about 35˚ on its own (with a base layer… always wear a base layer!) and well below that with another shell or vest over top.
Two under-arm mesh vents can be opened up, which, combined with the mesh-backed pockets, allow for comfy riding up to about 50-55˚ or so. They’re not quite pit-zips — instead, Rapha has moved them forward a bit to catch more air when in the riding position. This makes them even more effective.
The scoop: Great fit unless you have long arms, warm thermal material keeps lots of heat in and most wind out, zippered vents work very well to moderate internal temperature, huge rear pockets, easily layerable.