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The Rapha Men's Brevet Gore-Tex Rain Jacket is light, very packable and offers immense waterproofing which makes it perfect for wet days or changeable conditions. The reflective stripes are a neat touch and also have near iconic status, plus the relaxed fit makes it ideal for those who aren't always in a hurry.
Rapha's Brevet range is biased more towards long-distance or a less aggressive riding style than its Pro Team range, which is why you'll find a more relaxed fit in this jacket than the one Liam tested back in January.
That's not to say the Brevet isn't tailored for an on-the-bike position – it certainly is – but you just get a bit more freedom of movement, a little less restraint around the chest and arms. Excess material isn't an issue, though, and there is nothing flapping around in the wind.
As for sizing, it's based on what I'd call typical UK figures and tallies nicely with Rapha's size guide.
On Rapha's website the pictures show a considerably dropped tail, but in reality it's not overly long, so you don't get a massive amount of coverage for your rear if you are riding without mudguards.
That aside, coverage elsewhere is plentiful. Even stretched out in the drops I didn't run out of length in the sleeves, so on winter days there'll be no exposed skin, while the tallish neck fits snug enough to not let in too much in the way of cold breezes or rain.
Rapha has also offset the (two-way) zip so it doesn't clash with the zips of lower layers.
That's the fit taken care off, what about the performance?
What we've got is a two-layer waterproof fabric, Gore-Tex Paclite Plus, made from a 100% recycled nylon outer shell bonded to a waterproof and breathable membrane.
Its waterproofing is very good indeed. Rapha doesn't quote a specific hydrostatic head rating, as many manufacturers do, but it's definitely up there with some of the best jackets I've worn for keeping you dry.
Throughout a four-hour ride in heavy drizzle and medium rainfall I stayed completely dry, and thanks to some impressive breathability it never becomes 'boil in the bag', as long as you layer up sensibly for the conditions.
It's good for three-season use, from autumn to spring, and even in the summer it packs down so small that it's worth stuffing in your jersey pocket or frame bag. It even comes with its own little loop to hold it when rolled.
The overall quality is very good, and the ripstop construction of the material adds durability.
I tend to split my riding 50-50 between road and gravel, so clothing I'm testing tends to find itself on overgrown byways and gravel tracks. That means brambles and low branches, none of which have snagged the Brevet jacket while I've been riding.
The jacket is available in three colours, navy, yellow and this one, Brick. All come with corresponding stripes around the torso, one of which is reflective – a nice touch.
There is a sleeve stripe too, although it's on the wrong arm to be of much use on British roads or others where you ride/drive on the left.
When it comes to looking after the jacket it's not just your usual wash and dry. You have to wash it at 40°C or lower, which is pretty normal, and it's the usual 'do not bleach, do not dry clean, do not use fabric conditioner', but you do have to tumble dry it on cool to reactivate the waterproofness.
That's not too much of an issue unless, like my household, you don't have a tumble dryer... I had to bother a neighbour to borrow theirs – that was a weird doorstep conversation.
All of this performance, fit and quality comes at a price, and £265 is a fair old wedge of cash for a jacket.
Looking beyond Rapha, Pactimo's Torrent Stretch Waterproof Cape has many similarities to the Brevet – it's a bit more race orientated, but Iwein was very impressed with the waterproofing and breathability, and it's packable too. That's now £170, though currently reduced to £93.
And then there's the Galibier Tourmalet 3. It doesn't quite offer the extreme waterproofing of the Rapha, but it still does a decent job, is highly packable, and costs a mere £68.
The Brevet is a quality jacket with a great performance. When it comes to waterproofing and breathability it is definitely one of the better ones out there, and there are loads of other neat details too. I'd like to see a more dropped tail, though, and it is a big chunk of money.
Great combination of waterproofing and breathability, but expensive and doesn't cover your rear that well
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Men's Brevet Gore-Tex Rain Jacket
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Rapha says, "An extremely lightweight and packable waterproof jacket with reflective details for long distance riding."
It is very waterproof and also very light.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Rapha lists these features:
Fully waterproof recycled 2L GORE-TEX Paclite Plus shell – superlight and highly breathable
Ripstop structure ensures exceptional durability even when stuffed into bike packs
73gsm fabric and integrated roll loop ensure low pack volume for easy storage when space is at a premium
Reflective chest stripes, armband and logos for 360° visibility in the dark
Elasticated hem and cuffs with minimal construction to minimise bulk
Designed for use wet, rainy conditions
Ripstop structure for long-lasting durability
Lightweight 73gsm 2L waterproof fabric
Elasticated hem and cuffs for storm seal
Reflective stripes for 360° visibility in low light
100% Recycled Nylon with 100% ePTFE membrane
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with it going through the wash many times, although you do need access to a tumble dryer.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A comfortable jacket that copes with plenty of bad weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The rear could be longer.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Many jackets using Gore-Tex fabrics are a similar price, but there are others on the market that offer great waterproofing and breathability for less money, like the Pactimo Torrent at £170 and the Galibier Tourmalet 3 which, though it doesn't quite offer the waterproofing of the Rapha, still does a decent job, is highly packable, and costs a mere £68.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Not at full price.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, the Brevet is hard to fault in terms of performance. Even with that in mind though it is a lot of money and there are options that are a lot cheaper that still offer waterproofing and breathability of very high levels.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!