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The Rapha Men's Brevet Gilet with Pockets is eye-catching in this bright pink fabric, and it performs just as well as it looks. With fabrics positioned to match the airflow, staying warm or cool isn't an issue, and with the addition of three deep pockets, there's no faff of having to get to your jersey's underneath.
Every cyclist needs a gilet. It'll get used countless times throughout the year to keep the chill off on its own or as part of a layering system, and while you can pick one up for less than 40 quid, if you want the full bells and whistles then I reckon this Brevet version is a great option.
At £90 it does look quite pricey for a jacket with no sleeves – after all, you can get something like the Stolen Goat Men's Palace for £65, and Iwein was a big fan. Or the very capable Lusso Skylon gilet for just £39.99.
Rapha has really focused on attention to detail here, though, which goes some way to justifying the price tag.
For a start, it's used a variety of materials, and positioned them according to their function: the front panels are designed to block the wind, with the same fabric used at the rear for the lower back, while the Brevet uses a lightweight mesh on the shoulders, upper back and the side sections to aid breathability.
It works well. The weather has been a bit up and down lately, and I've used the gilet for rides of between around 8°C to 16°C and it does a great job of keeping cool breezes at bay without you feeling boiled in the bag on steeper climbs or if things warm up.
Should you need it, the zip is a two-way design so you can open up the bottom of the gilet for ventilation.
The tall neck is good for cooler days, and it has a zip garage to stop irritation. The zip is also offset, to stop cold winds getting through all of your layers if the zips are all running in line – not that it should be an issue anyway, as the Brevet has a strip of fabric running behind the zip as a baffle.
Around the back you'll find three pockets; not that rare, but a lot of gilets tend to be pocketless or give access to your jersey pockets via a flap.
The pockets are deep, but I did find the entrance to them quite narrow, making it difficult for me to get my hands in to pull something out. It'll be even more difficult on colder days with full gloves on.
Rapha has been quite clever when it comes to storage, though.
The central pocket has the same size opening, but inside it actually runs the whole width of the back panel, sitting over the top of the other two. I found it handy for arm warmers, knee warmers and light gloves when an early morning chilly ride warmed up.
There are – or were – three colour options, this high-vis pink, which I think stands out really well on the road (though currently only available in a large), plus a dark navy with a high-vis pink stripe, and – though currently sold out – a very intense pink version.
One of the stripes on each colour is reflective.
When it comes to the fit, the Brevet range is more relaxed than Rapha's Pro Team clothing, but it still remains close fitting and well tailored.
You get a long dropped tail for a small amount of protection from road spray (not that Rapha makes any claims about the fabrics being water resistant), and an elasticated hem to keep the gilet in position.
I wear a medium in most clothing brands and the Brevet fits absolutely fine, leaving enough room underneath for a jersey and a baselayer.
It's a top-quality gilet, and very well made, and although you can buy good gilets for less, like those I mentioned earlier, it compares well with others such as the Chapeau Club Stripe gilet at £89.99, and the Endura Pro SL Lite Gilet, also £89.99.
It's also a fair bit cheaper than the ashmei Men's Cycle Gilet at £108.
Overall, I can't really find fault with the quality or performance of the Brevet gilet, only that slight grumble with the pocket width. It's a piece of kit I've worn loads of times over the last couple of months, and worth the money.
Great fit and performance combined with a high level of attention to detail
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Men's Brevet Gilet With Pockets
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says, "A quality gilet is a cornerstone of a cyclist's kit, providing a lightweight layer of protection from the wind that can be worn on top of anything, from a summer jersey to a winter jacket. The original Brevet Gilet was launched in 2011, and its reflective stripes have been seen on long-distance epics, commutes to work, and everything in between.
Our latest iteration pairs wind-blocking fabrics on the chest with carefully positioned mesh panels across the shoulders for temperature regulation. The middle pocket cleverly opens out into a full width pocket 'bag', allowing you to easily store extra clothing or the provisions required for a long-distance ride without having to cram them into smaller pockets. The now iconic Brevet reflective and hi-vis stripes remain across the chest and back, while improved mesh side panels stretch to even accommodate full jersey pockets. The zip is now two-way, improving versatility for temperature regulation and access to jersey pockets. Even more packable than before, the Brevet Gilet remains the go-to for those in-between moments when a jersey isn't warm enough and a jacket would be too hot.
Our Brevet range has a slightly more relaxed fit. If you're unsure which size will offer you the most comfort, our updated size guides can help you find the perfect size."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Main: 100% Polyester
Contrast: 84% Nylon, 16% Elastane
It has a slightly relaxed cut.
The sizing is spot.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with washing at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well as a windproof while still offering breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I love this pink colour.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I found the entry to the pockets quite narrow.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Gilet prices cover a large spectrum, and I'd say the Brevet is at the upper end of this, although it sits alongside some like the Chapeau and Endura mentioned in the review. Others, like the Lusso or Stolen Goat, offer very good value for money.
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. Yes, you can get some very good gilets for a lot less, but the Rapha Brevet performs very well against cold winds, with lots of attention to detail.
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!