The name ‘Rapha Men’s Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Rain Jacket’ is hardly the whimsical work of a romantic fool, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting. Or mostly, anyway – it’s actually fantastic for more than just rain, which (slightly) offsets the enormous price.
‘Ride your bike and don’t cry,’ says the label. While you might cry when paying for this, or if you fall off and ruin it, there’s no danger of tears the rest of the time. It’s a fantastically cosseting thing that’s basically great any time there’s no sun.
It’s very waterproof, very windproof and yet very breathable. This means you can put it on if it merely looks like it might rain, and not worry about having to faff about removing or adding layers depending on how it goes.
The thin but effective insulation further helps make this a useful ‘winter’ jacket rather than strictly a rain one, and adds perhaps a long-sleeve baselayer’s worth of warmth with very little bulk. You certainly need to take it into account when choosing your other layers.
I was happy with a short-sleeve base and a thin winter jersey beneath this up to around 10°C, and over that, with just one long-sleeve layer.
The slim, racy fit and almost luxurious level of windproofing from the 2L Paclite shell mean it’s good at holding onto warmth, too, and even very heavy rain has little effect on the Paclite Plus membrane beneath it.
It’s pretty short at the front – a fair few of my jerseys stick out a little beneath it – but very comfortable in a crouch.
I wouldn’t mind a slightly longer rear hem to better protect jerseys, and in turn that would let the silicone-dotted elastic section grip your shorts instead of your jersey. That said, the dots don’t seem that grippy anyway, and occasionally I felt the need to check if it had ridden up. It hadn’t – the slim fit basically means it can’t really go anywhere.
The forearms are even slimmer than the rest (I actually needed the zips for getting this on) but don’t flap at all, and in fact the whole jacket is very quiet on the bike despite the fabric being inherently rustle-tastic. Occasionally I’d get the odd snap and crackle at 25mph+ or in strong winds, but that was it.
The unflappability is obviously thanks to that close cut, which is very well judged all over – happily, as there’s no stretch in the fabric itself. It’s comfortable yet unrestrictive, with a good length in the arms and neck.
When Anna reviewed the women’s version of this she found the sleeve zips actually uncomfortable, so that may be an issue for you, but personally I had zero problem there. If you do have any issues it will most like be with the length of the body or the diameter of the forearms, as those are the two least forgiving areas.
If you want to wear very bulky layers underneath this jacket you’ll probably need to size up, but then it’s not really aimed at gentler styles of riding where you might need them.
Unzipping for ventilation on climbs is easy with the big zip and chunky plastic puller, and as it’s a two-way you can start from the bottom if you prefer.
There’s also a zipped chest pocket inside for protecting phones, though if yours is much bigger than my 16.5cm one it might be a bit of a stretch.
You only get two pockets on the rear (and a small gap in the middle), and I found the openings a bit high despite the pockets themselves not being very deep. Their thin elastic closures are on the loose side, too, and I never trusted my be-cased phone to them. They’re fine for food or various other bits and bobs, so long as you don’t mind it getting wet.
The stitching, panelling and general detailing are all as impressive as you’d expect/demand of a jacket at this price. Inevitably, you can get this kind of thing for less: the Pearl Izumi PRO AmFib Softshell is over £100 cheaper at £199.99, for instance, and offers a similarly slim, protective fit.
> Buyer’s Guide: 37 of the best 2021 waterproof cycling jackets
The NVPA Storm Jacket doesn’t have insulation but is packable and very waterproof, and at £240 you’d have change left to buy another layer to go beneath. It only comes in black and has no reflectives, though, which won’t necessarily please riders who enjoy staying alive.
This is an outstanding jacket in almost every way, and actively a pleasure to wear in poor weather – you feel cocooned away from the cold and rain, yet not shut in with clammy, overheated air. In fact it’s breathable enough to be viable on rainless rides where the air is just cold and damp. It has a luxury feel that’s easy to love. Whether that’s worth the luxury price is entirely down to you.
Outstanding waterproof that’s warm, windproof and breathable enough to wear a great deal – but oh that price…
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Make and model: Rapha Men’s Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex Rain Jacket
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: “The Pro Team Insulated Rain Jacket pairs a GORE-TEX Paclite Plus membrane with a synthetic insulated liner to provide unparalleled protection in cold, wet weather conditions.”
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Fully lined raised collar for maximum protection
Internal hanger loop
Durable construction for extended use in harsh conditions
Extra-wide waistband for stable fit
Two large rear pockets for easy access when wearing gloves
Hidden chest pockets to store winter essentials
GORE-TEX Black Diamond certification
Two-way Aquaguard zip
Zipped cuff for use with winter gloves
100% Recycled Nylon
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Rate the jacket for performance:
Rate the jacket for durability:
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer’s rating:
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer’s rating:
Rate the jacket for fit:
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Rate the jacket for value:
It’s very expensive, but then it performs very well whether it’s raining or not.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fantastic breathability alongside the excellent waterproofing makes this extremely useable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Excellent breathability, great cut, great waterproofing, surprisingly versatile.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It’s higher than most we’ve tested. The Pearl Izumi PRO AmFib Softshell is over £100 cheaper at £199.99, the NVPA Storm Jacket is £240.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes, if I won the lottery.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Almost every single aspect of this jacket is very good, and you can comfortably wear it for entire rides even if it doesn’t rain. It’s seriously expensive though.
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,