The Rapha Pro Team Lightweight jacket is a waterproof road cycling jacket that is made with Gore-Tex’s well-regarded Shakedry membrane.
The jacket launched in October 2019 alongside an insulated model and a more conventional multi-layer pullover waterproof smock.
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As a brief refresher, ShakeDry reverses the usual waterproof jacket arrangement, with the waterproof membrane sitting on the outside face of the jacket. This makes ShakeDry-equipped jackets completely impervious to rain.
This also means there is no wind chill effect, which can be caused by a DWR-coated layer (which allows water to bead on a conventional jacket) wetting out.
This technology is well-proven on products from numerous other brands, and we’ve also been consistently impressed by how breathable it is.
The Pro Team waterproof jacket is similar to options from other brands but features typical Rapha motifs, such as its signature contrasting white armband and a handful of white Rapha logos on the collar and dropped tail.
My size medium jacket weighs bang-on 125g. This feathery weight is comparable with other ShakeDry jackets on the market.
I found the fit of the jacket to be spot on. It’s snug without being overly restrictive, with enough space to accommodate warmer layers on cold days. For context, I am just shy of 6ft (~182cm) tall and have a fairly average build with a 38in (~98cm) chest. The Pro Team Lightweight is also available in a women’s specific cut.
ShakeDry has a very, very small amount of stretchy give in the fabric, but I certainly wouldn’t rely on this if you’re between sizes.
The around 5cm tall collar fits snugly without being restrictive. There’s a very light mesh layer on the inside that does a good job of keeping out most errant raindrops and drafts, but I’d recommend backing it up with a Buff-style neck gaiter if you want to maximise comfort in really wet or cold conditions.
If I were being really picky about the fit, I’d like the elastic on the cuffs to run around their entire circumference.
Putting the jacket on can be a bit of a fight if you’re wearing winter gloves and if it rides up above the cuff of the glove, pulling the non-elasticated portion back over the glove can be a bit of a fiddle.
The lightly elasticated waist is snug enough to stop any errant drafts and stops the jacket flapping about too wildly in the wind if you ride with it unzipped.
There is a chunky and easily-grabbed zipper at both ends of the zip. I was initially sceptical about how useful this would be but found it genuinely invaluable when the time came to retrieve snacks or my phone for an on-bike Insta-snap.
An internal storm flap runs down the entire length of the zip. This is supplemented by an additional external flap that’s held in place with a Velcro tab on the chest.
This can get in the way if you are trying to quickly unzip the jacket one-handed, but it was rarely a problem.
Even in truly awful, persistently rainy weather, no moisture made its way past the zip. Regardless of brand, the unflinching impermeability of ShakeDry jackets is undoubtedly impressive.
This impenetrable nature doesn’t come at the expense of breathability either.
There are limitations to how much moisture transfer (what a gross phrase) any material can handle, but wearing a ShakeDry jacket is far less of a ‘boil-in-the-bag’ experience than other jackets.
That ShakeDry jackets are much thinner than typical multi-layer waterproofs also helps with temperature control because they have less of an insulating effect.
The jacket has proven to be much harder wearing than I had originally anticipated. It’s been regularly stuffed away soaking, covered in grit and then lightly washed in the sink when I have returned home. Despite all this, it’s showing no signs of wear.
However, as a word of caution, like all ShakeDry jackets, the Pro Team Lightweight is absolutely not designed to be worn with a rucksack.
The jacket features an integrated mesh pocket that allows it to be packed down to an impressively compact package. I imagine the dimensions of this pocket have been calculated to allow the jacket to pack down to the smallest possible size. As such, it is very unobtrusive when stuffed into a jersey pocket.
However, I do wish the pocket was ever so slightly bigger. As it currently stands, it’s a bit of a wrestle to get it back in, especially with cold hands. Even making it just 5 per cent larger would make it that bit easier to stuff the jacket away après drizzle.
With this jacket, you’re buying into what is very much a known quantity with Rapha branding.
Remarkably, at £220 / $295 / €260 / AU$385, the jacket flies in the face of Rapha’s usual pricing model and is actually cheaper than the competition. Gore’s own version of the jacket is priced around £250, the 7Mesh Oro at roughly the same price and the Castelli Idro at £260.
£220 is certainly not cheap, but the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight jacket sits at the top-end of performance and weight, so a steep price tag is to be expected.
This jacket brings ShakeDry’s proven performance, a well-thought-out cut, and a competitive price, making it my pick of the bunch.