Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey Review

I've wanted one of these jerseys for a long time, and now that I'm living in hot & extremely humid Taiwan I decided to pick one up.  I've had a problem overheating since I moved here, and most of my jerseys seem like plastic bags on climbs.  For reference going forward, I've owned two other Rapha jerseys in my cycling career: the Classic Jersey and one of the Club Jerseys. 

 Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey 

Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey 

FIT

I was actually really disappointed with the fit on this jersey.  My classic jersey I picked up a few years ago in XL, while it had nice length, was boxy and baggy.  My club jersey in L fits almost perfect, with the length being a little short, but workable.  So I decided to order the Super Lightweight in L to match the club fit.  However, it's actually quite far from it.  The Jersey is wicked tight in the arms and waist.  Also the back length is incredibly short (it's supposed to be 27"-29" and is actually 26").  The pockets are so high you almost have to have double jointed shoulders to retrieve anything from them.  I thought I was losing my mind and quickly threw on my club jersey to make sure I hadn't packed on too many kilos since moving overseas.  It was still perfect, meaning the fit is quite different for the Super lightweight Jersey.  I like tighter jerseys, but I also like to be comfortable and not feel like I'm in a wetsuit or trying to force my carcass into a set of full-body spanks.  Anyways, I would say that it's important to try this on beforehand if you can.  I wasn't too excited about paying double import duties in Taiwan so I didn't send it back, but if I get another I'll be sizing up to the XL.

 Quite a bit shorter than the spec'd 27" to 29".  BTW my club jersey in Large measures 28.5" 

Quite a bit shorter than the spec'd 27" to 29".  BTW my club jersey in Large measures 28.5" 

QUALITY 

The initial quality seems quite exceptional.  True to Rapha form all the seams are thoughtfully placed in non-irritation areas, and everything seems to be buttoned down and stitched nicely.  One complain is that this thing snags pretty easy.  I think it's actually due to the material selection, and being that it's lightweight the knit is not super tight.  It's pretty annoying though, as every ride adds another it seams (PUN intended).  

 Quite the drag to always snag....

Quite the drag to always snag....

FUNCTION

Rapha set out to deliver a jersey for the hottest most humid days, and I've put it to the test.  The other day it was 106deg F in the city with 80% humidity.  I noticed the jersey did run significantly cooler than my others.  The air flow is continuous and it really works with the jersey to suck the heat off your body at speed.  The full zipper is great for climbs.  I find I usually don't drop the zip all the way, but 3/4 or 7/8.  It forms a nice parachute that helps with heat removal when going slower.  I feel the pockets are a little small in this jersey compared to my others.  It's really hard to get things in and out of them which can be frustrating.  

CONCLUSION 

Overall this is a nice jersey.  Again I recommend trying one on first.  The short thing gets me, but I tend to like a bit longer jersey anyways as it keeps the jersey from riding up.  I find myself pulling the back down a lot and readjusting the cargo in my pockets.  However, it does the job it's meant to do and is a great jersey for hot weather riding.  It also provides a great alternative to some really poor styling from other brands.  The minimalist design and anti logo bombardment that Rapha is known for really makes this a nice choice.  The list price can be a bit hard to swallow, but if you are patient you can pick one up on sale for about the same price as most other jerseys.  

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