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The Rapha Men's Brevet Insulated Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey is oddly named, because it has as much in common with jackets as jerseys – taped seams for water resistance, wind-resistant fabric, additional pockets, reflectives, and a high price. A very high price. It's expensive even for a winter softshell jacket, and too expensive for something that's not the best in every area.
Check out our best winter cycling jerseys buyer’s guide for more (and cheaper) options.
While undeniably quite jackety, this identifies as a jersey and fair play – it works impressively underneath a 'real' jacket. Its resistance to wind and water doesn't lead to low breathability or struggles with wicking sweat, so it stays very comfortable.
I rode through a lot of heavy rain during the test with a (far cheaper) Gore waterproof over the top of it and, despite often very mild air (around 8-12°C), I never boiled up or felt excessively sweaty. That's impressive given the taped seams and general weather-resistance of the Infinium fabric.
It's very good at wicking. I carry my phone in a case (this MudHugger PhoneHugger made from old inner tubes) in a jersey pocket, and post-ride I'd find the case absolutely dripping wherever it was pressed against me and dry wherever it wasn't. Clearly this was moisture shifted out by the fabric and trapped by the rubber; the rest of the jersey would barely feel damp, as the sweat had just evaporated from the surface as designed. The amount of water generated was more extreme than with any other jersey I've worn. It's impressive.
On dry or showery days this does very well as an outer, though disappointingly the main zip is a noticeable weak link. It's not windproof, and its small baffle doesn't do much to seal out draughts.
As a consequence I personally found 5°C borderline cold with this over a long-sleeve base, because of the chilling effect on fast flat sections and descents. I even stopped a few times to make sure the flap was actually lying flat behind the zip. It was. It needs to be broader and perhaps fluffier. Sort of like my cat, now I think of it.
Obviously you can extend this jersey's usefulness with another layer beneath or a windproof gilet on top, but there's not masses of room for the first, and having to rely on the second seems like missing the point. This is supposed to be windproof and warm on its own.
If you wear your recommended size there really will only be room for two thin layers beneath, max. I tested a large even though the guide recommends a medium, and it fitted well – slim but not actively tight, with just a little bit of room in the sleeves and body. Even so it's probably as narrow across the shoulders as I'd really want (my shoulders are fairly broad but not unusually so, for the record).
There's not that much stretch in the rear panels, and even less in the front, but the thin side panels add plenty while helping with breathability; it's not at all restrictive to movement, and I'm confident it would still feel unrestrictive even in the smaller size, so long as you don't wear many layers beneath.
Even sized up to large, I didn't like any more bulk than a thin long-sleeve and a thin short-sleeve base under this. If you want a really slim and fold-free fit (it's too thick to actually flap) then go for your recommended size, but be prepared to carry a truly windproof outer for colder days and/or a waterproof shell for properly wet days.
The plastic-toothed/metal-pullered YKK main zip moves easily, at least, though its Rapha-branded dongle could be bigger – it's barely any larger than a normal puller – to make it easier to use in gloves. It's hard to beat the big metal ring on the Santini Guard Nimbus Rain Jacket for that, in my opinion.
Inside the Rapha you find a clever patchwork of insulation: a thin, soft flock lining on the back and sides, no insulation under your armpits at all, and thick insulation for the front and sleeves. It's all very comfortable, and the grid-type fabric in particular feels nice against bare skin. It reaches all the way to the neat little cuffs, or to put it another way, to Infinium and beyond.
Everything is polyester or elastane, by the way, and a small amount of that polyester is recycled.
The seams are either overlocked or flatlocked, depending on position, and the major ones are taped to stop water creeping through. I found them all perfectly comfortable, and they're neat and look strong.
I like the stripes and logos, both for their bright visibility in daytime and their excellent reflectivity at night. Being Rapha they're extremely stylishly done, though for us in the UK the armband is on the least useful side. I also appreciate that this jacket is navy blue, rather than Abyss Black with Coal Mine highlights and Ebony details like so many.
There's a cheerful red version as well, plus a grey option that doesn't look even a little bit like a fog bank or a stretch of wet concrete. Fashionable yet visible cycling apparel? Whatever next?
On the back sits the usual three-pocket array, but while they're stretchy enough to hold any likely cargo, the pockets aren't especially deep – not quite wrist deep for me. Nevertheless, they kept my phone in its case secure.
There are two zipped, well-hidden hand pockets in the front, too, and they're big, if not nearly as useful on the bike. They reach all the way to the main zip, and are pretty much square.
This costs £240, and though you're getting a fair few features for your money, good value isn't on the list.
The Lusso Long Sleeve Jersey, for example, is both warm and water resistant with a DWR coating, and it's £90. Though there are no claims of windproofing, overall it's good enough to do well as an outer layer down to 5°C, according to our tester Steve Scott.
The Santini Colore Pure Men's Long Sleeve Jersey is another good option that works as an outer (down to about 8°C, it says in our test by George), and that's £99. Both these options leave you lots of change for a windproof/showerproof gilet or jacket to go with them.
Even the 'luxurious' MAAP Force Pro Winter LS Jersey, which was judged as 'very expensive', is £85 less than the Rapha, at £160.
But okay, this Rapha is almost a jacket. How does it compare with them? Again, it's expensive – the Pactimo Men's Alpine Thermal jacket is a good option and £180, for instance, while the Stolen Goat Men's Mango Alpine Epic Jacket is very similar to this Rapha – bar the taped seams – and £190.
Despite this jersey looking and (in the right mildish/dampish circumstances) feeling pretty damn lovely, I'm not entirely convinced by its jacket-style features. It's windproof but not completely because of the zip, warm but not enormously so because of the lack of room for layers, and can't really cope if 'changeable' weather includes downpours. Basically, it needs the same windproof/waterproof backup as any other jersey.
All this would be forgivable if the price were competitive, but it isn't.
With plenty of equally effective jerseys costing less than half the asking price here, this is hard to recommend – despite its many qualities.
Lovely looking and feeling jersey with some jacket-like features, but draughty zip and high price disappoint
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Brevet Insulated Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey
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, "A highly breathable and fully windproof jersey with added insulation for all day rides in changeable conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
-Made with GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER technology – highly breathable, windproof and water-resistant
-Active insulation with sweat-wicking properties placed in key areas for added warmth
-Reflective details on chest, armband and lower back for visibility in low light conditions
-Three rear pockets and two concealed front pockets for carrying ride essentials
Recommended for all-day rides in changeable conditions
All critical seams taped to prevent water ingress
Under arm stretch panels for freedom of movement
Full-length front zip with oversized puller for ease of use
Raised collar for added wind protection
Very neat and feels strong.
It's water-resistant rather than waterproof, but the seams are taped to help with keeping showers out.
Impressive given its water resistance and thickness.
The recommended size will give a tight fit; size up if you want a bit of room for layers or have wide shoulders.
Not the lightest, but fine for its protection.
Very comfy either on top or beneath a waterproof, though the zip lets in draughts that limit comfort if it's too cold.
It's more expensive than most other expensive options.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues at all with the usual 30°C wash.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's very good under a waterproof, and good as an outer so long as it's mild (above 5°C, for me) thanks to the draughty zip.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The comfort when it's in its own comfort zone, and the looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The price, and the draughty main zip.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's furiously expensive against other jerseys, and still looks expensive even against dedicated winter jackets.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes, mostly.
Would you consider buying the jacket? For half price, yes.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The fabrics, the layout of the insulation, the construction and the looks are all great. Unfortunately the zip fails earlier than all of it as temperatures drop, and that limits usefulness. While you can of course fix it with another windproof layer, having to rely on something else when the price is this high seems crazy. It's good, but for the money you can reasonably expect better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,