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Verdict: 
Versatile, loose fitting and breathable, ideal for long rides, adventuring, commuting and mountain biking
Weight: 
99g
Contact: 
Rapha Technical T-Shirt
7 10

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.

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_riding.jpg

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_riding.jpg

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.

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_back.jpg

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_back.jpg

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.

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_label.jpg

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_label.jpg

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.

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_sleeve_detail.jpg

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_sleeve_detail.jpg

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.

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_collar.jpg

rapha_technical_t-shirt_-_collar.jpg

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.

Verdict

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

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

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

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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 has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com 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.

28 comments

Avatar
leqin [252 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Hows it work as a rag and could I clean my chain with it?

Avatar
monkeytrousers [133 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Did that really say £55?

Avatar
Alessandro [174 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I’m like, “Yo, that’s 50 dollars for a t-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
50 dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant bitch shit
I call that getting swindled and pimped, shit
I call that getting tricked by business

Avatar
Deeferdonk [211 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

"At £55 it's not all that pricey"

Yes it is, you can get a technical tee from all the major sporting brands for less than half the price, or from Mountain Warehouse for change.

"Rapha says, "The Technical T-Shirt was designed to change the way we think about dressing to ride. "

Or is the kind of thing that most people wear when riding a bike, if they're not into skintight lycra jumpsuits with inbuilt sanitary pads.

Avatar
alexb [187 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Alternatively, there is a "technical shirt" for all budgets at Decathlon's site - from £3.99 up to almost £20 if you want an Adidas branded shirt.

I've used their running shirts as base layers for years and they're very good.

They will get smelly, but at £4 each you can change into a fresh one at work for the journey home if needed. Some of the fancier ones on the site include antibacterial coatings (you might have to pay as much as £12 for that though).

 

Avatar
Htc [44 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Not sure where you guys shop but £50 is about the same as a regular cotton t-shirt now days

Avatar
DoctorFish [141 posts] 3 months ago
12 likes
Htc wrote:

Not sure where you guys shop but £50 is about the same as a regular cotton t-shirt now days

 

I don't shop where you shop.

Avatar
zanf [998 posts] 3 months ago
11 likes

Company renowned for producing above the average price point clothing release t-shirt that is above the average price point and yet people complain.

Rapha have existed since 2004 so its not like this should be a surprise to anyone.

Avatar
maviczap [225 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
zanf wrote:

Company renowned for producing above the average price point clothing release t-shirt that is above the average price point and yet people complain.

Rapha have existed since 2004 so its not like this should be a surprise to anyone.

If you can afford their prices, then you probably won't be bothered it's £55.

I probably could, but I won't, I'm not that gullible or label conscious

Avatar
luiandlui [17 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
Htc wrote:

Not sure where you guys shop but £50 is about the same as a regular cotton t-shirt now days

 

Erm, what ????  Do you do all of your shopping in Monaco ?

Avatar
TheHungryGhost [57 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
Htc wrote:

Not sure where you guys shop but £50 is about the same as a regular cotton t-shirt now days

 

I got 2 regular cotton t-shirts in Tesco for less than a tenner or for 12 quid I can get one with wicking panels and odour control

 

 

Avatar
simonmb [638 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Two pockets in the back and it would make more sense. Apart from being practical, it's a nod to our cycling heritage. 

Avatar
michophull [150 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

I thought that "technical t-shirt" must mean something mind bogglingly clever and complex. From what I can make out, it just means that it's made from polyester and has holes in it to let the air in and the smell out. Same as a string vest really. There are some available quite reasonably priced (from £5.50) at Sports Direct .

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [288 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I like cotton fabric better than polyester for everyday use or streetwear. : )

Avatar
alexb [187 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Vejnemojnen wrote:

I like cotton fabric better than polyester for everyday use or streetwear. : )

There is disagree, cotton is genuinely shit for that application, but if you prefer ethically sourced merino wool, then Alpkit can provide you with a very nice shirt for just £37 (https://www.alpkit.com/featured/merino-mens)

I have the old model of the Kepler Velo and it's a great casual shirt for cycling and evening wear.

Avatar
don simon [2530 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
monkeytrousers wrote:

Did that really say £55?

If people are daft enough to pay £10k for a bike, getting £55 out of them for a t-shirt is going to be a piece of piss. The secret is getting them to believe and then repeat the marketing bullshit.

Avatar
Stueys [25 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

Avatar
StraelGuy [1511 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

True but this is taking the piss. I paid £80 for a Rapha long-sleeved under layer top made from finest merino wool which I consider fairly reasonable. £55 for what is essentially a plastic t-shirt IS taking the piss somewhat  !

Avatar
rjfrussell [486 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

What the fuzz about the price?

 

£350 for a t-shirt is pretty standard, isn't it? 

 

https://www.farfetch.com/uk/shopping/men/givenchy-embroidered-star-overs...

The Rapha one sounds a snip.

 

Avatar
HowardR [233 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
rjfrussell wrote:

What the fuzz about the price?

 

£350 for a t-shirt is pretty standard, isn't it? 

 

https://www.farfetch.com/uk/shopping/men/givenchy-embroidered-star-overs...

The Rapha one sounds a snip.

 

On the plus side - For your £350 you do get the following 'Designer Backstory':

"Clare Waight Keller's dark, daring aesthetic has reinvigorated this iconic Paris fashion house. Exploring both Catholicism and eroticism, her collections and statement accessories have become must-haves for high society and street kids alike."

I bet Decathalon, Aldi e.t.c don't provide either Catholicism and eroticism with their t-shirts. 

(when I tried asking for a puncture repair kit that encapsulated both in my L.B.S I received a very strange look)

 

Avatar
rjfrussell [486 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
HowardR wrote:

 

I bet Decathalon, Aldi e.t.c don't provide either Catholicism and eroticism with their t-shirts. 

(when I tried asking for a puncture repair kit that encapsulated both in my L.B.S I received a very strange look)

 

 

No need for puncture repair kits,   punctured inner tubes make very good ties for bondage play.

 

Maybe I shouldn't have typed that out loud....

Avatar
don simon [2530 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

How many have you got then?

Avatar
fukawitribe [2545 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
don simon wrote:
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

How many have you got then?

Doesn't really follow - I have none and still find it absolutely dull as fuck.

Avatar
don simon [2530 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
fukawitribe wrote:
don simon wrote:
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

How many have you got then?

Doesn't really follow - I have none and still find it absolutely dull as fuck.

There's some proper sense of humour failures in this place.

But thanks for your comment anyway, it was a worthy contribution.

Avatar
fenix [1054 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I'm a new conversion to the merino wool tee shirts.  You can wear them day after day and they just don't get smelly.  I think I paid about £25 for mine. They'd be perfect for multiple day riding and kinder to peoples noses and the planet. 

 

Previously I'd be in a technical type shirt that would need to be washed after every ride.  

Avatar
Deeferdonk [211 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

Thanks for taking time out of your exciting lifestyle to point out our opinions are dull.

BTW here's a link to the another expensive t shirt review by another brand at a similar price point complete with comments that people think it's too expensive. Therefore proving your thrilling comment wrong and pointless.

http://road.cc/content/review/239197-ashmei-mens-t-shirt

 

 

Avatar
fukawitribe [2545 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
don simon wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:
don simon wrote:
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

How many have you got then?

Doesn't really follow - I have none and still find it absolutely dull as fuck.

There's some proper sense of humour failures in this place.

Difficult to tell sometimes isn't it ?

don simon wrote:

But thanks for your comment anyway, it was a worthy contribution.

Absolute pleasure, glad to be of assistance.

Avatar
Stueys [25 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
Deeferdonk wrote:
Stueys wrote:

Same old repetitive comments for any Rapha review.  Seems to invoke a particular angst that other brands at similar price points don’t, dull...

Thanks for taking time out of your exciting lifestyle to point out our opinions are dull.

BTW here's a link to the another expensive t shirt review by another brand at a similar price point complete with comments that people think it's too expensive. Therefore proving your thrilling comment wrong and pointless.

http://road.cc/content/review/239197-ashmei-mens-t-shirt

 

 

No probs, I had a free moment in between sky diving and heading off to Zermatt to hit the glacier so happy to help.

Thanks for the link to a review of a t-shirt that is 35% more expensive than the Rapha one and generated 4.5 times less comments; proved my original point better far than I did.