The Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium jersey is meant to fit like a jersey and offer the protection of a jacket, reducing the need to layer up for winter riding.
Rapha says the Gore-Tex Infinium material is highly breathable, windproof and water resistant, making it ideal for tempo training and racing in cool and changeable conditions.
That’s the theory anyway. In the capricious UK winter, this proved to be wishful thinking.
Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey details & specifications
Available in black, red or green, the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey is covered in reflective details.
Made of high-stretch fabric, the jersey fits snugly on the shoulders and is cropped on the torso.
A silicone-print gripper holds the dropped tail over the top of your bib shorts to protect your back from gusts and spray.
This tailoring feels much more comfortable on the bike, especially in an aero position, than off it.
Rapha says the main part of the jersey is 100 per cent Gore-Tex Infinium. High-stretch nylon is sewn under the arms to aid ventilation and on the hem for a secure fit.
The cuffs are elasticated, which stopped chilly winds slithering up the arms. However, the sleeves were too baggy for me (a gangly individual) in my size-medium test sample.
It would take a cyclist of a highly specific build to fill out the sleeves. Their loose folds undermined the jersey’s sleek aesthetics, which appealed to me in black.
Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey performance
Breathability is the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey’s strong suit.
When you get the material damp by pushing up a climb or riding around at FTP on the flat, it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Over a lighter baselayer in milder weather (up to 15 degrees celsius in my testing), you shouldn’t feel too hot.
In an approach to hygiene Rapha probably wouldn’t endorse, I wore the top for four consecutive days on a 600km bikepacking trip without washing it.
You may be holding your nose, but it didn’t smell. I imagine this is testament to the Gore-Tex Infinium fabric’s ability to expel the moisture from your sweat into the air.
The windproofing is good for such a light, thin material (my size-medium test sample weighs 250g).
Provided I paired the jersey with a thicker baselayer, I stayed warm on blustery base training rides at around 10 to 12 degrees celsius. It coped with cooler temperatures on shorter, more intense rides too.
This is largely the extent of the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey’s versatility.
That may well be fine if you’re only going to be gunning it for 90 minutes to two hours. If you put a high price on a jersey being lightweight, aero and breathable (but little else), the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium will meet your needs.
For those of us who aren’t dedicated racers or chaingangers, the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium is expensive for a jersey that does one thing really well.
If you’d like a jersey for more than that, or if you don’t do much fast riding, the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium would be a luxury rather than a wise purchase.
You could have items in your cycling wardrobe that remove the need to buy this extra jersey.
For example, in single-digit temperatures, I’d opt for a thermal winter cycling jersey instead, even when raising the pace.
The jersey does quickly dry out after a spot of drizzle and Rapha also claims it can handle showers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find this to be true, even on my first rides, before the fabric’s water resistance could potentially have deteriorated.
After a minute or two, water seeped through the jersey. I particularly felt the cold around my forearms, where water accumulated in the loose folds of fabric.
What’s more, this is with the knowledge that the full-length mudguards I was using probably saved me from the worst of the road spray.
A water-resistant jersey can’t be expected to withstand a downpour. However, describing the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium as a jersey for “changeable and cold conditions” overstates its wet-weather performance.
After getting caught out by heavier-than-expected rain, I felt the need to carry a proper waterproof jacket for future rides, just in case.
Arguably, this defeats the purpose of the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium – a jersey-cum-jacket that’s supposed to be your outer layer and able to resist showery conditions.
In fact, even a packable top is a squeeze in the small pockets. This constrains what else you can carry and exposes the jersey’s limited practicality.
Rapha might claim this is not what the jersey is made for. However, I think when pushing along in changeable conditions, you may want to remove cold-weather accoutrements.
Moreover, it’s hard to fish something out of the pockets, such as a snack, while riding. That said, their tightness does partially compensate for the lack of a zipped pocket because a large smartphone is unlikely to fly out.
Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey value for money
Costing £215 / €255 / $290 / AU$375, the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium is an expensive jersey and comparable in price to the best winter cycling jackets.
At full price, the Castelli Alpha Ros 2 Light Jacket is more expensive, but our tester found it suitable for colder, wetter conditions and awarded it five stars.
If, as Rapha claims, the Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium could perform the role of a winter jersey and jacket in one, then £215 would be money well spent.
But it falls far short of that mark. The Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium only excels at one thing – breathability.
I’d expect a jersey this expensive to be effective in a wider range of temperatures and conditions.
Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey bottom line
The Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey is a premium product with a niche application. And one you can probably do without.
You may cherish staying dry during intense efforts above all else – above waterproofing, practicality and warmth.
But if you don’t, I’d advise spending your cash elsewhere.