Buy 2! First off, buy the one you would like to fit into, and then buy the next size up. It’s race fit, which is jargon for tight!
One you are settled into the larger sized jersey one of the first things you will notice is the longer than usual sleeves, on me they come a full 3 inches further down my arm than standard, so be prepared for two-tone tan lines on your arms, until of course you take the plunge and buy another one just to keep the tan sharp!
The sleeves themselves are, like a microcosm for the rest of the jersey, quite delightful; tight fitting without being constrictive, cool in both temperature (you can thank coldblack® for that) and aesthetics with just the Rapha stripe on one arm as decoration.
With mesh panels down the sides the jersey is a lightweight treat, supremely well ventilated and fast wicking, keeping the wearer cool in hot conditions, I wore the jersey for about half of my Transcontinental race and really found it to be super comfy, despite wearing the black and pink colour way I never felt I was being cooked in the Italian sun, the coldblack® fabric treatment apparently help keep the temperature up to 9 degrees lower – and this seemed fair as I didn’t boil up at all.
For me, one of the revelations about the jersey were the pockets and their load-carrying ability. For many lighter-weight, and predominantly lycra, tops, load-carrying is dreadful, with the 3 pockets being there out of a sense of duty. Not so the Rapha Pro Team jersey, I was able to put food, clothes, smartphones etc into the jersey without having it sag down at the very first item, granted it’s not able to defeat gravity in its entirety but it can certainly hold your ride essentials without covering your bottom.
Paired with a Rapha merino vest base layer I was able to stay comfortable in temps around the mid 30’s without suffering excessively, the vest and jersey working nicely together to keep me cool in the high temps. I also found the longer sleeves helped keep me warmer in the evenings, paired up with arm warmers and a thin gilet I was comfy down to 14 degrees without really feeling it.
The Rapha pro team jersey comes with such extras a race radio cable loops, a name label for laundry, and it features a SPF (sun protection factor) of 50 so no need to worry about sun burn through the material.
For hot days, or for high intensity riding this is probably the nicest jersey I’ve worn. At £140 it’s by no means cheap, but having worn it whenever it was clean (and sometimes when it wasn’t) it’s soon recouped its value for me! Pair it up with the merino vest base layer and you’ve got a fantastical versatile combination that will be comfortable from 14 to 35 degrees!