The Bike List

Rapha Women’s Classic Jersey £130

Tested by Annabel Fisher, tester for The Bike List

The Classic Jersey is the must have item from this positively infectious and iconic brand. Although well known for its high pricing, Rapha is not just a clothing manufacturer; it is an adventure into an identity created by exceptional quality.

The 'Rapha Experience' that is spreading like wildfire, begins the moment after the postman deposits a subtly branded black bundle through your door. The smart packaging fills you with confidence and excitement, and rightly so. Once uncovered, the contents speak for themselves and at £130, not only do you get a jersey of top-notch standards, you receive a pair of fleece-lined cream arm warmers. Agreed, £130 initially strikes you as a significant chunk, however Rapha products really do challenge and exceed the quality of most competing brands.

Before I even tried the jersey on, I was immediately attracted to the mature and distinct use of colour, which has become standard within Rapha's expanding range. The stitched 'Rapha' detail on the single trademark white stripe around the left arm is exquisite and withstands heavy use and countless machine-washes. The accompanying arm warmers are also equipped with durable branding and a silicone grip that holds them comfortably in place.

Aesthetics aside, the fit is remarkable. Being a notably slight woman, I battle with sizing on an increasingly daily basis, particularly regarding arm width, so you can imagine my delight in wearing this jersey in size XXS that hugs every inch of my torso. The sleeves sit seamlessly around my arms, the collar is tight, but not restrictive, the tapered, adjustable hem flows uninterrupted from midriff to lower back, and the tailored body enhances an aggressive streamline whilst maintaining an elegant shape. With 39% merino wool, the classic jersey is soft to the skin and has kept me significantly warmer this year than previous winters. The material composition also allows for temperature fluctuations, meaning I have been able to wear it during savage training sessions and recent regional races but also on civilised rides complete with lunch breaks.

Speaking of food, there are three main pockets for carbohydrate and sugar storage, the middle pocket being slightly slimmer which also hosts a pump sleeve, and a hidden zipped compartment for valued items. The tasteful position of these pockets is such that they rest in the lower arch of your back, which is very comfortable however proves problematic if you suffer from longer than average arms. On occasions I have required assistance from a fellow rider to retrieve an item from any of the three main pockets due to my physical inability to do so, however, if you are suitably proportioned this should not concern you.

The jersey comes in either red or black in a range of sizes from XX-Small all the way through to X-Large, making the brand accessible to all riders. For the avid cyclist, Rapha is a brand recognised by most, celebrated for its performance and is a statement of class as well as fashion. For the novice or those who simply love to experience fresh air on two wheels, Rapha provides the ultimate experience of comfort combined with style that encourages you through the miles.

This versatile, handsome and multi-functional jersey has been my first choice item throughout the autumn, winter and will continue to be so throughout the year.

At a glance

Verdict Top quality, versatile and very good looking. Should be everyone’s default jersey.
Value
Performance

Rapha says:

The Classic Jersey combines high performance with distinctive styling. Based on Rapha's original cycling jersey, it is versatile enough to be used all year round. Comes with cream arm warmers.

The Rapha Classic Jersey is a versatile product for a range of riding conditions. Characterised by Rapha's pared down styling, it offers high performance and can be worn on its own or as an additional layer on colder days.

The jersey is made from a soft, luxurious fabric which wicks sweat away from the body to keep you warm and dry. The jersey's shaped fit means it is slightly narrower at the waist and wider at the hip, and the fabric has additional stretch for maximum comfort.

The jersey has a full-length zip to help regulate body temperature and a zip guard prevents chafing. The low-profile collar has a bite grip for easy adjustment on the move and the right sleeve has a contrast stripe with Rapha logo. 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 through while a zipped pocket keeps valuables secure.

A drawcord with friction locks allows easy adjustment when riding and a reflective tab makes the rider more visibile in low light. The jersey is supplied with a set of complimentary arm warmers for colder conditions. The arm warmers have a brushed fleece inner and soft gripper tape to hold them securely in place. They are finished with contrast piping and colour-on-colour logos.

Tech Spec:

Fabric

  • Sportwool™ (40% merino 60% polyester)

Features

  • Fully-lined zip with lockdown puller.
  • Large cargo pockets.
  • Pump pocket.
  • Zipped valuables pocket.
  • Bite Grip.
  • Gripper at hem.
  • Comes with cream arm warmers.

Care instructions

  • Machine wash cool: 30°
  • Wash dark colours separately
  • Do not bleach
  • Do not dry clean
  • Tumble dry cool: 1 dot

Sizes XXS - XL