Rapha upgrades Classic Jersey in 12 ways, if you count generously

Proprietary fabric, new cut and updated technical features

In 2004 Rapha launched with its Classic Jersey. It was a groundbreaking garment at the time: understated and stylish, using premium fabrics and with a premium price tag to match. You know how that story panned out. Now, 12 years later, Rapha has updated its classic design using new fabrics and technologies for a new generation of cyclists. 

In a typical Rapha twist, there are 12 updates to the jersey: one for each year since its creation. One key development is the use of RPM 150, Rapha's proprietry performance merino fabric, which it says is lighter, softer on the skin and has greater breathability. Other updates include a redesigned cut with longer sleeves and shorter length, debossed rather than embroidered sleeve logo and one-piece bonded zip guard. 

The full list of 12 updates to the Classic Jersey as listed by Rapha are as follows: 

  1. RPM 150 – Rapha's proprietary merino fabric is, the brand says, lighter, softer on the skin and more breathable. 
  2. Forward Fit – Repositioned longer sleeves, shorter length front and back.
  3. Stretch mesh – Used in the valuables pocket to decrease weight and increase capacity.
  4. Reflection – Reflective tape is used around the valuables pocket.
  5. Streamlined – Sleeve stripe and front hem are bonded rather than stitched for low-profile finish.
  6. Debossed – Rapha has opted for a debossed rather than embroidered technique for its iconic sleeve logo.
  7. Collar – This has been redesigned to reduce bulk and improve comfort.
  8. Stitching - Less topstitching is used.
  9. Main zip – Rapha has opted for a one-piece bonded zip guard, which it says saves weight and gives an improved action.
  10. Pockets – Rear pockets are redesigned at the top to improve abrasion resistance and reduce colour fade.
  11. Pump loop – Rapha have replaced the pump pocket with a pump loop.
  12. Cargo – Redesigned for improved stability and shape.

The back pocket design has been redesigned, with a reflective trim added to the valuables pocket: the back pocket design has been redesigned, with a reflective trim added to the valuables pocket
The back pocket design has been redesigned, with a reflective trim added to the valuables pocket: the back pocket design has been redesigned, with a reflective trim added to the valuables pocket
The pockets have been redesigned for improved stability and shape, with reflective trim added to the secure valuables pocket

You could make a strong argument that a number of these updates could be clustered together, such as the rear pocket design, but others will certainly be of interest to Rapha fans, such as the RPM 150 fabric, cut and pump loop. 

While the cut has been updated, Rapha advises that the fit has not changed, so if you were a medium in the original Classic jersey, you'll still be a medium in the new version. On the downside, where the old Classic Jersey came with arm warmers, the new Classic Jersey will not. 

The jersey is available in both a men's and women's version, and retails at £110 / $170 / AU$195. The men's Classic Jersey comes in black/white, grey/pink, navy/white and purple and in sizes XS to XXL. The women's Classic Jersey is available in black/white and navy/pink, and in sizes XXS to XL. 

Aoife Glass

BikeRadar Women Contributor, UK
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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