Rapha Classic Jersey – Cycling’s Little Black Dress

Rapha Classic Jersey Review.  Rapha Classic II Jersey.

Let’s talk about cycling.  What better to kick off my blog about all things velo than a post about a modern classic?

I love the Rapha Classic Jersey.  I own them in a range of colours from black to blue to maglia rosa and wear them all the time.  My Rapha habit is an expensive one.  I know the brand divides cyclists but I love the combination of aesthetic and practicality it brings to my rides.

Quite how classic this jersey can lay claim is a matter of dispute.  The brand was founded in 2004 so whether thirteen years is sufficient to qualify as classic is a matter for debate.  However, made from merino wool (which is pretty darn classic in itself), the Classic Jersey was Rapha’s first ever product and the fact that it is still a key part of their collection is testament to its timeless quality.

I’ve always loved its comfort, its fit and less-is-more styling.  The fabric has soft but thick texture that screams good taste and I’m a sucker for anything that’s reassuringly expensive.

The jersey was given a revamp for 2016 with twelve changes made to the original design.  The Classic II Jersey maintains its superb fit combined with effortless style but is now made from a new wool-based fabric which Rapha have called RPM150 (Rapha Performance Merino, 150 indicates grams per square metre).  According to Rapha, the new fabric is “lighter, softer and more breathable” than its predecessor.

IMG_2994
Modelling my first ever Rapha Classic Jersey, Provence 2013
It feels a lot lighter to the touch and this is noticeable when wearing it.  Other changes include the replacement of the inner pump pocket with a pump loop, the Rapha logo on the left sleeve’s “convict of the road” hoop is now debossed and the internal security pocket now features a stretch mesh.  There’s also improvement to the zip and greater capacity in the pockets.

Disappointingly, the free arm warmers no longer come as standard and at £110 it’s not a cheap option.  However, for quality and comfort it’s worth the investment.  You can test it for yourself with Rapha’s Classics Guarantee which allows you to take one for thirty days and return for a full refund.  This extends to other products in the Classics range including the bib shorts which I also love.  Surely, only the most difficult to please would return at the end of that period.

There’s also the jersey downsize offer which allows those of us who have lost weight through cycling to return one purchased within twelve months for a 50% reduction in the price of a smaller size.  That’s bloody good.

There’s an x-factor to this jersey, as with so style icons this is the product of simplicity and quality.  It’s now better than ever, can be worn with just about any accessory, dressed up or down; you could say the Rapha Classic Jersey is cycling’s Little Black Dress.

Read my review of Bicicletta, my favourite cycling cafe in Saffron Walden, Essex.

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