The Bike List

Rapha Women’s Long Sleeve Jersey £130

Tested by Claire Maxted, tester for The Bike List

Autumn, winter and spring time cycling just got 100% comfier with this comfortable, warm and well designed jersey. I’ve been wearing this to death over the winter, and not just for cycling because brilliantly, it also looks good in the pub.

The Long Sleeve Jersey is made from Sportwool, half Merino and half Polyester so it combines the comfy, warm and natural anti-odour properties of Merino wool with the high wicking capabilities of Polyester. This makes the top feel gorgeously comfortable and warm on days when strong, cruel wind threatens to bar any forward progress on two wheels.

The collar increases warmth when fully zipped up, with a fleece chin guard to prevent chafing. The full length zip allows you to ventilate once you start getting warm 10 minutes into the ride and the zipper pull locks down so there is no annoying metal jangling while you ride. More ventilation comes in the form of adjustable elastic in the hem at the jersey’s base which allows you to increase and decrease the ventilation with lockable drawcords.

The arms and back are cut long, great for leaning over the handlebars, and the rubberised strip on the inside of the drop tail stops the jersey riding up. On the back of the jacket are three main pockets, elasticated to keep items inside and large enough to get your hand easily inside while riding. The centre pocket has an ipod pocket sewn inside with a button hole for the wires. One of the side pockets has a secret valuables pocket with a soft inside to keep phones scratch free and secure.

There is one reflective strip on the back of this jersey and the Rapha signature band on the left arm is also highly visible when on dark roads. I would like to see more of these subtle reflective details, say a strip on each arm and at the sides, just to increase visibility on dark nights. I found myself wearing a lumo snap-on band on my right arm as a quick way of beefing up my road presence to cars and lorries, which totally ruined the sleek looks of this jersey, but made me feel safer.

In my opinion it is strange that Rapha’s signature band is on the left arm. Putting it on the right would keep the fashion element pretty much the same (I think) but stand out better to traffic on your right while you cycle on the left. This left arm band statement is the same throughout their entire range of clothing and it just seems quite odd for a company originally set up in Britain where we always ride on the left – why not cleverly blend fashion and function at the same time?

Lacking in visibility or not, I found the Long Sleeve Jersey very comfortable for cool weather cycling. On warm days when you know the weather might take a turn for the worse later on, this jersey is slim-line enough to tie round your waist or pop into a bag or panier for use later. At £130 you are paying for a wonderfully warm, comfy and stylish addition to your cycling wardrobe, but for this price I would also want more of the subtle reflective detailing that Rapha do so well. You can get equally warm fleece jackets for a fraction of the price, but they won’t say Rapha on them, nor will they have the same unique styling. For me, the Long Sleeve Jersey seems very expensive, but it feels great and looks great when I arrive somewhere, but while cycling it requires a couple of very un-stylish lumo bands to make me more visible on cold dark evenings.

Rapha says:

This versatile cycling jersey is perfect for long autumn and winter training rides or cold racing conditions. Cut from a merino-rich material the Long Sleeve Jersey wicks moisture away from the skin quickly yet also maintains body heat. The fabric works naturally to regulate core temperature. Combined with female-specific tailoring, the jersey provides the comfort needed for maximum mileage. The jersey has a slim fit and is cut long in the back and arms for a better shape on the bike.

The full-length zip has a lockdown puller to eliminate rattles and a soft fleece chin guard to prevent chafing. A side-panel construction gives the jersey a cleaner fit across the back and ensures that pockets stay centred, even when heavily loaded. Lockable drawchords at the hem provide adjustments if needed.

There are three main cargo pockets, with an inner pump sleeve stitched into the centre pocket. The centre pocket also has a buttonhole to run iPod cables through and the jersey has an additional valuables pocket with O-ring puller to keep items dry and secure. The back of the jersey has a reflective strip for visibility and a contrast armband on the left sleeve.

  • Sportwool™ (52% merino 48% polyester)
  • Fully-lined zip with lockdown puller.
  • Large cargo pockets.
  • Pump pocket.
  • Zipped valuables pocket.
  • Bite Grip.
  • Sizes - XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL

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At a glance

Verdict An expensive but wonderfully warm, comfy and cosy jersey for cool autumn, winter and spring cycling with large cargo pockets and subtle reflective detail.