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Rapha Women’s Gilet



My favourite cycling gilet has just got a little bit better

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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Unless it's really, really cold or really, really wet, I tend to favour a gilet and arm warmers over a full windproof jacket. They're just so much more versatile for changeable days, cold starts and warm finishes, and Rapha's Women’s Gilet has been my favourite for quite a few years. It's been updated – always a worry – but to my mind it's now even better.

First off, it still fits me perfectly. There's a bit of shaping around the bust so it's snug but not too tight, the armholes are the right size/cut, the length front and back is perfect, and the neck sits at just the right height.

>> Check out our guide to essential autumn cycling wear here


Rapha Womens Gilet - logo

It also has all the details I need: a bit of stretch in the fabric, pockets big enough to be useful (I don't get not having pockets in a gilet, like some of Rapha's other designs – I don't want to have to scrabble under my gilet to get into a jersey pocket for half an energy bar), plus that handy little key pocket on the front, a comfortably lined neck, and baffle/guard behind the (stylishly offset) zip.

Rapha Womens Gilet - back pocket

In fact, at first glance, apart from a minor change in the reflective piping on the rear, not a lot else appears to be different. But Rapha told me this updated design uses a new fabric, and it certainly feels stiffer than the old one (I'd have put that down to age and the number of wash cycles it's been through).

Rapha Womens Gilet - front pocket

It certainly keeps cold morning chills out – I know because they're still getting through to my shoulders and knees. Both old and new labels say 'Main fabric 100% nylon', but the old one was 80% nylon, 20% Spandex, while the new one is 75% nylon, 25% elastane. So even though it feels stiffer there's more elastic in it... which could explain how the windproofing has been improved without losing the comfortable stretch.

Rapha Womens Gilet - riding

What I'm also pleased with are the colour choices; when I last looked it was white or black. This bright red is much more noticeable on the road, while still being attractive (and won't get as grubby as my old white one), and it comes in blue as well.

Buy it here

Would I recommend forking out £125 for one? Given how much wear I've got out of the old one, most definitely. And it's currently on offer at £106.25...


My favourite cycling gilet has just got a little bit better test report

Make and model: Rapha Women's Gilet

Size tested: Medium, Red

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 says: "Windproof and water-resistant gilet cut for women cyclists

"The Women's Gilet has been designed as a packable outer layer for riding in changeable conditions. It has been tailored specifically for women riders and is made from a totally windproof and highly breathable stretch fabric."

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


100% windproof, breathable polyamide


100% windproof

Lightweight (medium size: 115g)

Folds into jersey pocket

Long-cut back for better fit on the bike

Reflective piping and logos

Elasticated rear cargo pockets

Mesh back panel for added breathability

Full-length zip with lockdown puller

Soft fleece chin guard

Friction locks for easy waistcord adjustment


Machine wash cool 30°

Wash dark colours separately

Do not use fabric softeners

Tumble dry cool: 1 dot

Cool iron: 1 dot

Do not bleach

Do not dry clean

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Heavier than some lightweight gilets, but it gives back in windproofing.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

It's like Rapha designed it just for my torso.

Rate the product for value:

It's not cheap, but for what you get it's worth every penny. And at time of writing it's discounted to £106.25.

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

Brilliantly. Keeps the wind out, bright enough to stand out when commuting, enough pockets for stuffing ride essentials, and shower resistance means it keeps a bit of moisture out too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Windproofing, fit, look, colour options.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price.

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 score

If the price was lower I'd give it 10. For me it's a perfect fit and gives excellent performance.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 169cm  Weight: size 10-12

I usually ride: Vitus Venon  My best bike is: Paulus Quiros

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

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

Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.

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