Something very fancy came creeping onto the rapha website today, the newly-launched Pro-Team Shadow Jersey and bib-shorts.
Shadow? Sounds exciting…rapha say that “Shadow is a breathable, highly protective single layer made possible by a pioneering, Italian-milled, stretch-woven fabric that contours to fit the position of a racing cyclist.”
It’s clearly not intended for a slow pootle around the lanes, but for those days when rain and tempo are required. Luke Rowe from Team Sky adds, “We wore this jersey on the worst weather days of the Classics last year and it was top notch throughout. Gent-Wevelgem was one of the windiest, most horrible races I’ve ever done, but the Shadow kit kept me in excellent shape at the front of the bunch.”
Shadow fabric is stretch-woven, rather than knitted, and goes through a four-stage production process. First, the yarn itself is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR); and then is woven into fabric. The third stage sees the fabric undergo a steam-pressure treatment that shrinks it by 50%. Finally, another DWR is applied. “What that produces is an extremely dense fabric,” explains Graeme Raeburn, Rapha’s Lead Designer. “It wouldn’t be physically possible to actually weave yarns that close together and so, consequently, Shadow provides very high wind resistance and excellent water repellency. It also has a fantastic range of movement and fit and, that crucial difference, amazing breathability.”
The fit and upper fabric of the shorts is the same as used in the Pro-Team Thermal bibs which I’ve found to be excellent, some of the best I’ve ever used in fact.
Price? Well, let’s just say it’s reassuringly expensive….