Rapha Classic Gilet II review

A lightweight gilet should be a versatile garment that's ideal for cold starts, short showers and chilly descents. The Rapha Classic Gilet II is a refined, second iteration of the original Classic Gilet

Rapha Classic Gilet II
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Rapha Classic Gilet II represents a well-thought-out and considered design, with lots of nice little touches. There’s a nice range of colours available too. The price is justified by the quality, versatility and repair service.

For
  • +

    Light

  • +

    Packable

  • +

    Excellent quality

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    Fits well

Rapha’s second iteration of the Classic Gilet is much lighter than the previous one, hitting our scales at a mere 78g. It is also 20 per cent less expensive with the previous version retailing at £125, the review of which you can read here.

The low weight of the Rapha Classic Gilet II also transpires to excellent packability – this a gilet that won’t dominate your pockets and will not cause uncomfortable jersey distortion.

Rapha Classic Gilet II

Rapha Classic Gilet II packs down very small
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

>>> The best Cycling gilets - and a buyer's guide

Despite the low weight, the windproof panel on the front is effective. Mesh panels are placed on the back and sides to aid ventilation. Overall, I really like the fit and aesthetic. I found the sizing to be consistent with other Rapha kit – a size small fitted me perfectly at 6ft 1in and 69kg. At £100 the second iteration is still a pricey gilet but I feel the price is justified by the excellent quality, versatility and Rapha's repair service.

Rapha Classic Gilet II

Rapha Classic Gilet II has a small front zipped pocket
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

Water resistance is good too, with the hydrophobic coating performing well and 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 short shower, be aware that the mesh panel on the rear instantly lets in water. It's a trade-off I am willing to accept against weight, breathability and ventilation.

 

Rapha Classic Gilet II

Two rear pockets mounted on the sides
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

 

Rapha Classic Gilet II

Rapha Classic Gilet II – nice details
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

A small front zipped pocket is useful for a key or credit card and there are also two rear pockets, ideal for a phone and food. Many lightweight packable gilets often don't have pockets meaning you have to lift them up or awkwardly reach through a flap to gain access to your jersey pockets beneath. Consequently, I found the inclusion of pockets on the rear of the Rapha Classic Gilet II a welcome feature.

 

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Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.