The Rapha Pro Team Softshell Jacket is designed to offer insulation and water resistance in a well fitted package, but how does it stack up against competing products?
Rapha already has a selection of jackets and jerseys suitable for racing and high-tempo riding, but this, the Rapha Pro Team Softshell jacket, is its first attempt at making a Castelli Gabba rival. In terms of technology, it’s a jump, rather than a step forward for Rapha. The firm has developed a brand new stretchy and water-resistant three-ply material over a year of extreme testing – Some of which involved riding back and forth along the Foscagano Pass, Italy, in horrendous weather.
The material is bathed, rather than coated, in a water-repellent treatment. Like the Gabba, it’s not totally waterproof. Water soaked through the shoulders under a serious battering of winter weather, but the material performed well enough compared to the various competitors that have been tested this winter. On the shoulders, it has externally taped seams, with which we have a small quibble. After a couple of wash cycles, the taping looked slightly tarnished, so we’d worry about the jersey’s performance over the long term.
The fit, as with most Rapha products, is excellent. It doesn’t have the long tail we liked so much on Castelli’s Gabba, but it does have a headline-grabbing wipe-clean rear panel, designed to fend off constant road spray.
The Pro Team Softshell was ideal on five-degree days (rainy or not), where high-tempo riding kept us warm over shorter rides. Its ventilation is weak, so higher temperatures were sweaty, and the fabric was too thin for freezing conditions.
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The jacket performs well, but it is not as breathable as many other competing products we have tested. At £200, the equivalent Gabba offers better performance at a lower price.