Review: Review: Rapha Brevet Jersey & Vest
Your new favourite, non-racing, jersey. Ideal for commuting with style and cracking out longer rides with full pockets!
Lycra’s all well and good for those days when you want to travel fast and light, and there are plenty of options available to you for that very day, but sometimes rather than travelling like a racing whippet you just want to meander like a St. Bernard. And for those days, the Rapha Brevet Jersey is ideal.
It’s an item that’s designed for the long-haul, with its sportwool fabric combined with a plethora of visibility increasing features, including a rather natty, and supremely lightweight gilet, it’s certainly able to get you from A-B, or rather P-B-P!
I’ve been wearing the jersey for a couple of months now, where it’s seen service in both the chillier times and also now with the summer approaching in the early mornings and it’s performed admirably. As a commuting jersey (I ride 20 miles) it can last a couple of days before it gets too whiffy, which helps to save on the washing load. The sportwool ensures that you are kept warmer than a standard lycra jersey, and when paired with the windproof gilet it does an admirable job of keeping your upper body nicely insulated – although your arms are left bare (but Rapha have made long-sleeved versions in the A/W collections!)
On longer rides the traditional 3 pockets are supplemented by a zipped ballast pocket at the rear and a waterproof brevet card pocket to the left-breast (but don’t worry, if you haven’t got a brevet card to hand, simply use your bank card or something similar). The zip is waterproof, which can at times be a bit of a pain if you have tired hands as it can be a little stiff but that’s the price of waterproof zips it seems.
One of the joys of sportwool is its ability to cope with more than just a credit card, a gel and some keys, and this jersey does it in spades. I’ve loaded it up with bananas, cake, gels and a spare water bottle and it copes admirably indeed – really the only downside is that pockets could do with being a little lower (maybe an inch or so) to help the hands get in.
The gilet comes in either yellow or bright pink, and having seen both examples out on the roads I can attest to their low-light visibility, and of course when lights are beamed on they shine like a veritable candle in the night. It comes without pockets, but slips over a jersey easily to not make it an issue.
I have the burgundy/yellow combo, and like it vey much I do, the jersey packs in high-visibilty and reflective detailing on both the front and rear, so even without the gilet it’s a good option for evening attire.
The gilet is so lightweight that I can fit it inside my saddle pouch (rules be-damned!) alongside a tube and patch kit, its really impressive for its stowability, having said that, it’s no big deal to simply keep it on – its sides and shoulders are vented to help keep you cool when the mercury rises, either internally or externally.
At a fiver less than £200 it’s probably going to be the most expensive jersey in the drawer, however with the addition of a very nice gilet it’s not as bad as it at first seems. Yes it’s expensive, but in the couple of thousand miles I’ve ridden mine it’s not only performed admirably, but it’s held-up to the rigours of being stuffed in bags (and sadly it’s even seen service on the bathroom floor when there was an ‘accident’) and it’s not had a thread come loose in that time. Depending upon the colour of your shorts it may well be the most used jersey in the collection!