Rapha has done a great job producing a warm, stylish and well fitting gilet with one of the most important factors, pockets! It packs down well too if you want to stow it away.
Material doesn't work too well once soaked
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Rapha has been leaning on new materials recently to produce some top-notch performance kit, something that has come good from its relationship with Team Sky. The new Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gilet works extremely well as an extra layer.
New materials such as Polatec's Alpha insulation have the same properties as down (i.e very warm). However, it doesn't have the same volume, which makes it lighter, thinner and more packable.
It claims to also be highly breathable so you shouldn't be a sweaty mess, even during efforts.
Video: a buyer's guide to winter clothing
You'll get stretchy fabric at the back, which Rapha says helps fit and heat expulsion. At the front windproofing and a DWR coating helps against chills, spray and showers. What's not to like so far?
I tested a size small and being Pro Team it was a very race-orientated fit. Around the neck, shoulders, arm ports and waist the fit is good; better than previous versions of the Rapha kit I've used before.
Out on the road the Rapha Pro Team Insulated gilet performs very well. It is very insulating and works very well as an extra layer during the coldest of spells. Bear in mind you'd need to have an equally racy jersey or jacket underneath as space is minimal.
The DWR coating is a nice touch and I enjoyed having this gilet option in my wardrobe – and it has come out with me on most rides. The only thing is, once wet (whether from sweating due to overheating, which has happened from time to time on the slightly warmer winter rides, or from a deluge of rain), the fabric tends to stick against itself and doesn't feel very luxurious at this point. This drops a mark here for me.
The two-way zip is also a good addition. For example, reaching for those jersey or jacket pockets is easier without the need to undo the zip all the way and then fighting to get to get it zipped back up. Not that you totally need this because it has pockets!
Some suggest pockets on a gilet isn't a deal breaker but to us here at Cycling Weekly, it is. Pockets out on a ride need to be accessible and if a gilet doesn't have them, you'll struggle to gain access. Three 'cargo' pockets are available, which are a good size and do not sag once loaded, and you even get a zipped safety pocket.
Despite the pockets, the gilet is very packable and you can scrunch this Rapha Pro Team Insulated gilet up to fit into a pocket nicely.
At present the Rapha Pro Team Insulated gilet is down from £140 to £80 on Rapha's website; a real bargain.
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