This article originally published on BikeRadar
For the 2013/2014 winter season, Rapha expanded its range of luxury jerseys and jackets. With heavy doses of the tried-and-true Sportwool — a merino/polyester blend — plus an influx of breathable but windproof fabrics like a Polartec custom softshell, the Rapha winter line has many options for staying warm and looking good on the bike.
Rapha has no less than 19 jackets, ranging from light rain shells and hardshells to off-the-bike jackets and even a suit jacket. While the high-zoot pieces — for example, the $450/£300 Rapha & Raeburn wind jacket made from used parachutes — continue to draw attention, it's the jersey/jacket 'tweener options that caught our interest. The Pro Team Jacket, in particular, looks and feels very much like a midweight long sleeve jersey, but with a highly breathable windproof membrane on the arms and chest. And the Winter Jacket is an even more robust version, with two long chest vents zips on the front and one horizontal vent on the back. On both jackets, the fit and feel is much more soft, fitted jersey than flappy, overdone jacket.
Much of the long sleeve jersey selection is made of Sportwool, a 52% merino, 48% polyester blend that offers some of the insulation and odor-resistance of the sheep's coat without the fussy care required for all-wool jerseys. The fabric is soft and comfortable, but not as light and stretchy as a standard, modern long sleeve jersey. The country jerseys, made of in Sportwool, also have just a partial zip, opting for a certain aesthetic over full function. Each of the country jerseys — Norway, Holland and the United States — also have matching winter hats. Note that the one-size-fits most caps fit on the smaller size; riders who wear Large helmets will likely find them uncomfortably tight.
BikeRadar will be reviewing a few of the pieces in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out the photo gallery at above right.
What would Rapha be without the little stories stitched into the pocket?