When the mercury is uncomfortably high, a ride can quickly turn to a miserable experience in which survival becomes the key objective. Rapha’s Super Lightweight jersey is designed to evade these moments and, as we found during testing it in a recent Australian summer heat wave, it’s a top choice.
Featuring a triple blend of polyester fabrics, the jersey has a soft, comfortable feel on the skin along with a snug, form-fitting fit that feels near-perfect on an athletic build.
The fit is on the short side and must be complemented by a pair of bib-shorts. (The length provides little wasted material overlap when paired with Rapha’s own Lightweight bib shorts – further increasing ventilation.
The rapha super lightweight jersey offers little privacy: Colin Levitch / Future Publishing
There’s little privacy with the Super Lightweight jersey
Looking at the near see-through construction, it’s not surprising that this jersey manages heat and sweat with ease – at just 118g for our small sample, it’s not far from being naked either. One tester pointed out that base-layer logos could easily be read through the jersey.
The mesh-like construction of this jersey does a raise a significant issue for those riding on a hot summer’s day: sun protection. There’s very little stopping one from getting burnt beneath the jersey, so sunscreen is needed far beyond the arms and neck.
This fourth security pocket is large enough for a common smart phone – pictured is a iphone 5 : Colin Levitch / Future Publishing
A small ring facilitates access to the rear security pocket
A zippered pocket sits on top of the right elastic pocket – it’s perfectly sized for a smartphone and features a sweatproof backing. A small zipper ring enables easy access to the pocket, even when sweaty or with gloves on.
Further details include backing material to the full-length zipper to ensure nothing gets caught or pinched, and a cover at the zipper’s top to prevent neck stubble irritation. Hidden reflective piping is given at the rear for the low-light visibility and a silicone gripper at the base ensures it all stays in place.
For such a lightweight garment, durability has been great. We had a mishap during our testing which left a tester with a cracked helmet, ripped shoe buckles, ground pedals, a broken bike and a fair bruise – yet the jersey had the smallest of tears in a rear pocket and nothing else to show. More impressively, Rapha offered to repair this free of charge, as part of its ‘repair service’.
The Super Lightweight jersey is brilliant in the heat, but needs a good lather of sunscreen beneath and isn’t for self-conscious. Like most things Rapha, the level of detail and performance comes with a top-end price tag.