Rapha Pro Team Jacket
The Pro Team Jacket is designed for high-tempo interval training in cold weather. When you are riding on the limit in low temperatures, breathability and protection from the elements is essential. Using an innovative windproof Polartec softshell with a perforated membrane and water-repellent treatment on the leading panels, the rear panels are made using Super-Roubaix for insulation and wicking where it matters. The jacket has a higher-cut waist at the front and lower hem at the back for an ‘aero’ fit, while the high collar offers greater protection in cold and wet conditions.
Front panels – Polartec, 70% Polyester, 30% Nylon
Rear panels - Super-Roubaix, 85% Polyamide, 15% Elastane
Race fit with side panels
Elasticated gripper on the rear hem
Front zip pocket
Asymmetric zip with large lockdown puller
Reflective details on sleeves and rear pockets
Intelligent seam construction
Three rear pockets
Zipped inner valuables pocket
Tested Size medium
Center back – 70 cm (27.6 in)
Pit to Pit – 50.5 cm (19.9 in)
Sleeve length – 89.5 cm (35.2 in)
Measured weight - 352 g (12.4 oz)
Retail - $300
Rapha makes some pretty sweet stuff. Not only is it technically solid but also looks cool. They currently sponsor Team Sky in the Pro Peleton and that translates to some excellent R&D for their products. I have a couple of things from Rapha and have been a fan of everything I have tested or purchased.
Rapha was first launched in July of 2004. The brand prides itself on being synonymous with the highest levels of quality, style, and performance. The company was created to celebrate road riding and develop the best performing and most stylish cycling clothes and accessories in the world. Rapha is headquartered in the UK but has offices in the US as well. Everything Rapha does is informed by its passion for the glory and suffering that lie at the heart of the sport. As Rapha says, Road racing is the toughest and most beautiful sport in the world and everything Rapha does is designed to honor that. You got to love that. =)
The Pro Team Jacket is made for high-intensity rides in cooler conditions. I now live in Colorado which I have found makes for excellent testing opportunities. The weather here is mainly dry and cold in the winter with plenty of blustery days. I used the jacket on many of these days ranging from 20-40 mile rides of varying difficulty. Temperatures ranged from -1° C - 10°C (30°F - 50°F).
From the Back
Rapha makes some high-quality stuff, and you can tell with this jacket. The Pro Team jacket is made of a weather-resistant Polartec softshell fabric and a stretchy breathable Super-Roubaix fleece in the back. In the front, the full-length zipper is weather resistant and asymmetric. The zipper puller is larger for easy grabbing and locks down so it will not accidentally slide. The jacket has a drop tail hem so it covers your back wall in the drops and has an elastic gripper on the hem to stay in place. There is a total of five pockets on the jacket. One small one on the front hip, three main drop in pockets on the back, and a hidden zipper pocket on the back for valuables. Inside the back pocket, there is a loop for holding you pump; this is a pretty cool addition.
The Pro Team Jacket is made with several other additions. On the rear pockets and the sleeves, it has been given reflective elements to increase visibility. It has been constructed with smart seam technology to strategically place each seam location. Finally, to aid in its weather resistance, the jacket has been treated with a DWR finish. This helps prevent water and dirt from adhering to the jacket's surface and therefore, helps keep the wearer drier, cleaner, and the jacket lasting longer.
Of course, one element of the Pro Team Jacket that needs to be covered is the look. You got to look good, and if I were to say otherwise I would be kidding myself. Rapha fortunately agrees, and fashion is an important aspect of what they make. This jacket is the sharpest looking jacket I own. It is well-made and equally good-looking in my opinion. I tested the black version, but as of writing this review, there are several other colors you can choose from. The only drawback of the jacket in regard to design is the lack of sustainable fabrics used in the construction. To my knowledge, none of them are sustainable but at least the jacket is well made so you should get more life out of it than a typical jacket.
Soft inside with Gripper Hem
The Rapha Pro Team Jacket has a race fit. This means it is made to sit close to the body for improved aerodynamics and makes getting the right size very important. I am 5'11" and 163 pounds and the medium which I tested fit perfectly. I would normally layer it over another jersey or a baselayer and in both cases, the jacket was snug but not tight. It helped that it is made of a mix of fabrics. The softshell portion is the more rigid of the two materials as the fleece has quite a bit of stretch to it. This allows the jacket to not only move well when needed, but also not be too tight.
As a race jacket, the Pro Team does not have every bell and whistle. Instead, it has some smart features with other left out. One thing that I did notice was missing was an adjustable bungee cord at the bottom hem. The bottom hem has an elastic gripper to stay in place, but I was a bit surprised there were no other adjustments. Now that being said, I never had any issues with the jacket pulling up so maybe the adjustable hem is unneeded.
When speaking of the fit, there are several areas we can focus on. There is the Arm Length and Torso sizing. I felt like the Rapha Pro Team was really good for both. The arms are nice and long with stretchy wrist cuff. This was both comfortable and stayed in place even when reaching for the drops. I also thought the cuffs layered well with my gloves, the interaction never bothered me. Through the torso, the jacket fit me nice and snug. I can sometimes wear a size small but in this jacket, the medium was almost too small. I could layer it over the top of a thin baselayer, but I think it would have felt tight if it wasn't for the stretchy panels on the side and back. Those made it move with me and not be restrictive even though it fit close.
Inside ID Label
Performance of the Team Pro Jacket was solid. The jacket has softshell in the front which does a great job blocking wind and weather. Of course, the flip side of that is it does not breathe as well. For me, I did get a bit warm when the temperatures were on the mild side. To combat that you can open up the zipper a bit, but you lose a little aerodynamics. What I really liked having was the breathable panels. This allowed me to dump heat but of course, there is a flip side to that as well, the weather resistance is not as good. I tend to run on the warm side when I work out so when temperatures were above 50 degrees it was a bit too warm.
What the Rapha Pro Team Jacket has is carefully thought out pockets. There are the typical drop in pockets on the back which work well. What set it apart are the other pockets. There is a zippered valuables pocket on the back and a small front zip pocket on the hip which are the cool extras. I liked throwing my cell phone in the front pocket. The jacket is really well-made and thus far has stood up to all my rides. I think it will be plenty durable, but I do not think I have put it through enough to truly tell. The only thing I would say is that due to the color and styling, it is not the best jacket for being seen. That said, I really like the look and performance, so I just have to put a blinky light on the seat post and call it good.
Back Pocket is hard to see
Overall, this is the best cycling jacket I have tested. Living and riding in both Bend, Oregon and then Boulder, Colorado; this is the jacket you need. It is not good for wet conditions but in the cold, dry, windy climates this is perfect. The fit is nice and snug but not restrictive. It is almost like they measured me when sizing the jacket. It fits that well. The asymmetrical zipper works well but does take a bit to get used to as when open it if offset. The only issue really with this jacket is the price. It retails for $300 so it is not for the occasional rider. If you are looking for a really nice jacket, you will not be disappointed. As always, your mileage may vary.
Breathability on the sides and back
Tight but not restricting
Dark colors are tougher to be seen in