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Rapha Technical T-Shirt



Versatile, loose fitting and breathable, ideal for long rides, adventuring, commuting and mountain biking

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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With a loose fit and breathable fabric, the Rapha Technical T-Shirt is a good choice for long rides, touring, gravel and adventure exploits, bikepacking and even commuting.

  • Pros: Comfortable, loose-fitting, quick drying, relaxed styling
  • Cons: No pockets, but that's sort of the point

Rapha launched the Technical T-Shirt as part of its new Explore range, which includes the Cargo bib shorts with pockets. It's clothing aimed at touring, long distance and gravel riding.

> Buy this online here

For this style of riding it is common to put all your essentials, tools and food in bags attached to the bike (or to use the pockets in the Cargo bib shorts). With no need for conventional jersey pockets, you're free to wear a more relaxed fitting top. Which is what the Technical T-Shirt is.


If you've tried riding off-road with jersey pockets stuffed with tools and food, you might have found the contents can make a bid for freedom on bumpy descents. It's why mountain bikers moved away from roadie cycling jerseys many years ago, and why frame, handlebar and saddle packs are so popular for touring and adventure riding.


The Rapha Technical T-Shirt is made from 100% polyester and the fabric is very thin and lightweight. Micro-mesh boosts airflow and it feels very light and airy when riding in hot weather, helping to keep you cool. There's an antibacterial coating, good for multi-day rides.


The hems are bonded and if you need to increase your visibility when riding on the road the sleeves can be turned up to reveal reflective pink stripes.


I've been doing plenty of gravel bike testing recently, and with all my essentials strapped to the bike I've found the Technical T-Shirt an ideal choice. The cut and fit are good, and it's comfortable when riding along in the tops or in the hoods, with plenty of space to move around in. If you do any mountain biking, it's ideal for that too and pairs really nicely with baggy shorts.

The material is very breathable and copes with high temperatures well; it's fast-drying too, if you do generate a lot of sweat on sustained climbs. Even worn next to the skin without a baselayer it's soft and free of irritation.


The understated look means you can use it for commuting as you won't look out of place wearing it around the office, and if you're adventure riding or touring, you can pair it with baggy overshorts (like Sportful's Giara Over Shorts) and you won't look out of place in a coffee shop or cafe.

> Buyer's Guide: The best casual kit for cycle commuting

At £55 it's not all that pricey, especially when you consider the Ashmei technical T-shirt is £75, although Morvelo's Technical T-shirts are still £30 (Jo tested one back in 2013 and liked it a lot).

I doubt everyone will get the Rapha Technical T-Shirt, but I really like it for riding when I'm less interested in pace and speed and more in exploring and going the distance.


Versatile, loose fitting and breathable, ideal for long rides, adventuring, commuting and mountain biking

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Make and model: Rapha Technical T-Shirt

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says, "The Technical T-Shirt was designed to change the way we think about dressing to ride. Using the same feathery light micro-mesh fabric as our Flyweight Jersey, it is the perfect loose-fitting top for exploring, whether that be city streets or mountain peaks.

"A gradient knit structure not only wicks sweat away from the skin but also disperses the moisture over a greater area, creating a incredibly fast-drying shirt. The textured fabric combined with a loose fit helps the t-shirt stand off a rider's skin for improved heat convection and airflow, allowing you to stay cool and look good in hot conditions. Turn-up sleeves reveal reflective strips hidden in the hem, which combine with a reflective logo on the chest for a stand-out yet stylish look. Paired with the Cargo bib shorts, the Technical T-Shirt offers a whole new option for long days in the saddle but is equally at home off the bike."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Rapha:

100% polyester

Featherlight fabric for hot weather

Wicking and micro-mesh to encourage airflow

Antibacterial coating

Bonded hem and integrated neck hanging loop

Concealable high vis signal cuff in sleeve hem

Reversible reflective cuffs

Reflective logo and back tab

Lightweight construction

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How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very easy, goes in a normal wash.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Light and breathable with a comfortable feel.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Relaxed fit and breathable.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not much to dislike for its intended purpose.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

All the technical sweat-wicking performance of a normal cycling jersey in a looser more relaxed fit; it's a good, versatile top for those occasions when you don't want or need a tight-fitting jersey.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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