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Rapha Pro Team Base Layer



Very good hot weather base layer that wicks sweat quickly and dries super-fast

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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Rapha's Pro Team base layer is a remarkably good lightweight and fast-wicking option for hot weather cycling.

It's made from two different fabrics. The main panels front and rear and the shoulders/tops of the arms are a light polyester/elastane mesh – very light. The material in the holes between the grid structure is so thin that you can easily see right through it. More to the point, air can breeze right on in, especially if you unzip your jersey, and moisture can escape. The texture of the mesh means the fabric doesn't easily stick to your skin, which is good for keeping the air circulating, and it wicks moisture well.

As with any fabric, it's possible to get this one wet through, especially on a hot climb when you're working hard and little air is blowing over you – no fabric can stay dry for long in that situation. But it dries our very quickly indeed.

The side panels and the underside of the arms are also a polyester/elastane mix but this time it's not a mesh. Like the main fabric, this one is very stretchy so you can get a close fit – Rapha call it 'race-tight' – without it feeling uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, in fact – this is a remarkably comfortable base layer, especially considering the closeness of the fit. With flat seams throughout and the only label positioned on the outside, you hardly feel like you're wearing it – in a good way.

If you're carrying a few extra pounds, the stretchiness of the fabric means there's a good chance you'll still fit into this base layer, but the cut is certainly best suited to the relatively svelte. Rapha reckon that this is a base layer that's 'created for... elite-level racing' – so they really have skinny whippets in mind.

Some people don't see the point of wearing base layers in the summer but I almost always do, feeling more comfortable with one on. It's up to you, naturally. Rapha's Pro Team base layer really is one of the best I've used for hot rides and, believe me, I've used a hell of a lot over the years.

The Pro Team base layer is also available in black and in a sleeveless version (£45).

The 'Merci Roubaix' written across the front is something the late Franco Ballerini said after taking part in his final Paris-Roubaix in 2001. The wording is different on different colour and sleeve options. You can go for 'Carpegna mi basta', 'Vous êtes des assassins', 'Nous marchons à la Dynamite' or 'La tête et les jambes', all of which are phrases from bike racing history. I like this base layer despite the slogan rather than because of it, but each to their own.

You can save up to 20% if you buy three Pro Team base layers at the same time.


A very good hot weather base layer that wicks sweat quickly and dries super-fast test report

Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Base Layer

Size tested: Medium, White

Tell us what the product 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 call this a "high-wicking cycling base layer for hard summer riding", which is perfectly accurate.

They also say, "A base layer created for training in hot conditions and for elite-level racing. The main body is made from an open mesh that offers exceptional breathability and moisture transfer, while the stretch Lycra side panels offer an enhanced fit. The Pro Team Base Layer has flatlock seams throughout to ensure comfort and is available in two styles, each with a different print on the chest."

"The Pro Team Base Layer sizing is race-tight. Please select your regular jersey size or if you want a more relaxed fit - move up one size."

They list these key features:

* Breathable mesh

* Lycra side and shoulder panels

* Cut for aggressive bike position

* Bound neckline and arm holes

* Anti-bacterial treatment

That's all in line with my thoughts after using the base layer.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:

The lightweight fabric isn't especially durable – that's not its biggest strength – but it's well made and that should help with longevity.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

A lightweight base layer won't get you up Alpe d'Huez any quicker than one a few grams more, but it might help you stay more comfortable on the way.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

You can get a lot of summer base layers for £20-odd (even cheaper if you shop around) but this one really is a bit special if you fancy treating yourself.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The cut, the amount of stretch, the technical performance of the fabric.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'm not into any of the slogans on the different versions of this jersey.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? I'd seriously consider digging deep for this one.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially if budget wasn't a particularly high priority.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,


Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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notfastenough | 10 years ago

I'd just like to boast that I got 2 for £20 at the rapha sample sale, and yes they are really good.

That is all.

jollygoodvelo replied to notfastenough | 10 years ago
notfastenough wrote:

I'd just like to boast that I got 2 for £20 at the rapha sample sale, and yes they are really good.

That is all.

2 for £20? Holy moly, I must go to the next one of these.

wellcoordinated | 10 years ago
Nick T | 10 years ago

I wish they did these without the text, it would seriously put me off unzipping my jersey. I'll stick with their merino ones until then.

Scoob_84 | 10 years ago

Sorry guy's, got held up on my way here  103  103 - That 'Merci Roubaix' print is sooooo pretentious!! You'd look like a right Barry if you showed that off at the coffee/cake stops around my way. And how much?!?! You can buy jerseys cheaper than that!!

boardmanrider | 10 years ago

Seriously, no Rapha bashing? I'm amazed! I too have one of these, the sleeveless one in white and it still looks like new. It's an excellent bit of kit and I feel naked if I don't have one when I ride.

othello | 10 years ago

I have the non-pro mesh version (fit isn't quite as whippet-like) and it is bloody great. I always wear a base layer, no matter how hot, and I don't even notice I'm wearing the Rapha one. Easily the best one I've ever bought and seems very durable.

russyparkin | 10 years ago

where are all the 'hooooooow much' brigade?

they must be brewing a biggie

cidermart replied to russyparkin | 10 years ago
russyparkin wrote:

where are all the 'hooooooow much' brigade?

they must be brewing a biggie

No doubt harping on about the Specialized Frame cover up on another forum.

Colin Peyresourde | 10 years ago

One extra point about base layers is that they provide an extra layer if you should need to break using your clothes and skin. So a very good way of minimising road rash.

I have a sleeveless version which I bought on discount and can vouch for the review above.

macrophotofly | 10 years ago

Never thought an extra garment would help me in summer time but this one does. +1 vote from me
One thing I would say is that it bizarrely seems to work better with Rapha and other make lightweight jerseys than the Rapha 'pro' jersey (certainly in the mountains here in japan in 32C + 90% humidity)

ajmarshal1 | 10 years ago

All base layers are not made the same.

I have hot weather base layers of this type from Castelli, Craft, Canterbury and Sportful. My Rapha one, albeit the sleeveless version outperforms them all.

Magnificent piece of kit.

Gordy748 | 10 years ago

I will disagree on one point of the review; the durability. I bought the sleeved and sleveless versions last year and have worn them every week through last summer and this, mainly for races and hard training sessions.

Every week one of them will get skewered by safety pins from race numbers (hard to get just the skinsuit with ham-fisted team mates).

They get thrown in a handwash cycle in the washing machine and hung dried at least weekly.

And they still look and feel like new. Can't ask for much more than that.

russyparkin | 10 years ago

probably all on their way down to aldi to buy a pack of bin bags to cut some small holes in to make their own?

cidermart | 10 years ago

I agree it works very well and is very comfortable.

Now go on get it out of your system you know who you are.

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