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review

Rapha Men’s Classic Gilet

8
£100.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Dependable, packable, and protective gilet that is perfect for changeable conditions
Fit
Windproofing
DWR fabric
Breathability
It's expensive
No alternative colours
Weight: 
125g
Contact: 

At road.cc 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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The Rapha Men's Classic Gilet is a good quality design that offers impressive protection from the elements and fits easily in most pockets.

Testing this in early summer, the gilet provides very effective protection on cold mornings thanks to its windproofing. I often wore it with a pair of arm warmers and felt comfortable enough that I would happily use this for all-day rides in autumn and spring too.

> Buy this online here

The impressive fit also means you don't really feel any wind coming in through the armholes – something that baggier or less-well-fitted gilets can suffer from.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - shoulders.jpg

Once the temperatures begin to rise, removing it and shoving it in a jersey pocket is a simple exercise. It rolls up to an easily manageable size, and sat comfortably in various jersey pockets I tried it in.

When you need to wear it, it's easy to pull on, with a high-quality zip that doesn't catch or snag. A nice touch is that the zip is off-centre, so it doesn't interfere with your neck or chin if you have it done right up.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - collar.jpg

The gilet has a water-resistant coating, and water simply beads off. Okay, you wouldn't want to wear this in a torrential downpour, but in light to moderate rain I found it worked well. The fit also means there isn't any noticeable bunching or folding, which helps the rain to run off without pooling, and it has a longer back which helps protect from road spray. You can also tighten or loosen the bottom with pullcords, making it as weatherproof as possible.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - drawstring.jpg

Breathability is good, thanks in part to the mesh strip that runs up the majority of the back and allows any heat build-up to escape quickly. The main material also seems fairly breathable while remaining windproof.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - back.jpg

At the back Rapha has included a couple of decent sized pockets, big enough to hold anything that I needed to be close at hand. There's also a small zipped pocket at the front, specifically for keys, which is handy for keeping them secure and not jingling around – and hopefully in an area where you're unlikely to fall on them if you came off.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - pocket.jpg

Rapha has also included high-vis piping down the front and back, and a large reflective logo on the small of the back, to help other road users see you in low light conditions.

2021 Rapha Men's Classic Gilet - tail.jpg

At £100, the gilet is at the expensive end of the market. It's the same price as the dhb Aeron Rain Defence that Steve tested recently, but the Endura Pro SL Lite Gilet II that I reviewed last year is £10 less and offers broadly the same quality, though without some of the neat design touches like the off-centre zip and it isn't quite as good on the breathability front.

The Chapeau Club Gilet Stripe that Adam tested in January is also £10 less, but again lacks some of the design flair and innovation offered by the Rapha Classic.

> Buyer’s Guide: 19 of the best cycling gilets

All in all, this is a very good gilet. It's packable, windproof and breathable, and something I was more than happy to be wearing in everything except torrential downpours. It's pricier than some, but aside from that there isn't anything to say against it – as long as you like the colour, as it's the only one available.

Verdict

Dependable, packable, and protective gilet that is perfect for changeable conditions

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Men's Classic Gilet

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Rapha says, 'A windproof, water-resistant and packable gilet for changeable conditions.'

It's designed for changeable weather, so it can be taken off and put on easily, while also being simple to pack away in a jersey pocket.

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

Rapha lists:

Lightweight fabric with durable water-resistant coating

Secure zipped pocket for house keys

Reflective Rapha logo and piping for visibility

Cut long at the back for on-bike position

Offset full-length zip to avoid irritation

Main:

100% Nylon

Contrast:

75% Nylon

25% Elastane

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

A very well made gilet.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It kept me warm and dry in changeable conditions, and packed down small enough to fit easily in a jersey pocket.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Seems well made and didn't show any signs of wear despite being stuffed in a jersey pocket multiple times.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

Fit was good, providing enough give to fit most body shapes while remaining relatively fold- and crease-free.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

I am a medium or large in most kit and this medium came up exactly as it should.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Light enough that it doesn't weigh you down, whether it's on the shoulders or in the pocket.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Very comfortable thanks to the adjustable bottom, microfibre at the neck, and decent stretch in the fabric.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

At £100 it's pricey compared with most, but it is very good.

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

Easy, I stuck it in at 30 without any issues.

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

It performed well, it offered good protection when it was on, and packed down small to fit in a pocket.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I wouldn't say one feature alone stands out, but the fact that it does everything you need it to with minimal fuss.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing springs to mine.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Both the Endura Pro SL Lite Gilet II that I reviewed last year and the Chapeau Club Gilet Stripe Adam looked at in January are £10 less. dhb's Aeron Rain Defence Gilet is also £100, but as Steve pointed out in his review, you can get good options from the likes of Lusso and Proviz for around £60-£65.

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

It's very good: it packs down small in the pocket, and keeps out the cold and rain when worn. It is towards the more expensive end of the market, but if you're willing to make the investment you won't be disappointed.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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