Certainly not the cheapest lightweight gilet on the market, can the Rapha Gilet perform well enough to justify its top-end price-tag?
At £125 the Rapha Gilet seems pretty expensive for what is, on the face of it, a pretty simple piece of kit. At 130g for our size medium test sample (15g heavier than the claimed weight), it also doesn’t quite live up to its lightweight label.
Despite weighing more than the competitors such as the Mavic Aksium Vest and the Endura Equiqe Race, packability is still excellent and I had no problems or reservations about stuffing it into a jersey pocket. It certainly does a good job of keeping the wind off after cold café stop or chilly descent, with the mesh panel on the rear adding good ventilation.
As you would expect from Rapha, there’s great attention to detail, with features such a waist cord adjustment, mini pocket for keys and a soft fleece chin guard to prevent the zip chafing. Water resistance is good too with the hydrophobic coating performing well remaining intact even after a few runs through the wash. It remains to be seen how long it will last, but these coatings can be reapplied. Although it is capable of seeing off a shower, be aware that he mesh panel on the rear instantly lets in water.
The Rapha Gilet also features two useful and well-designed rear pockets which didn’t sag when stuffed and reflective details add an element of visibility without compromising the looks. It may be expensive, but the quality is superb and it looks great. I feel that the added weight is trade off for some increased wind protection and durability.
Unlike the similarly priced Huez Starman gilet, there’s no wind flapping or buffeting from the excellent fit of the Rapha Gilet – although not skin tight, chest bunching is minimal and the tail offers some road spray protection.
For more details vist the Rapha website.
For the price, the Rapha Gilet packs down small and offers good protection from wind and road spray. However it's certainly not the lightest lightweight gilet we've tested, and the mesh panels undermine its water resistance.