Rapha jackets come with a reputation for peerless style – and this is an example of why. Once we’d finished admiring ourselves in the mirror and gone out to get this jacket filthy, it became apparent that the substance isn’t lacking either – good news indeed for a waterproof at this price.
The Hardshell name might be technically correct fabric-wise, but it feels as pliable as any softshell. The outer surface has a fine, smooth finish that has a great feel, but the inside is disconcertingly like a very lightweight Neoprene. That’s not bad, but it takes some getting used to.
The Hardshell is a toasty jacket (as opposed to humid) and we found ourselves wishing we had the luxury of extending the test into much colder weather, when we think it will really come into its own.
The cut is comfortably between roadie slim and mountain bike baggy so it can double up on cycling duties, and it has all the details you’d expect – waterproof zips, generous rear pockets (three and one zipped one) and fleece at the collar for comfort. The offset zip and snug double cuffs, like the rest of the jacket, scream ‘quality’.