With male and female fits available the Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey is ideal for anyone after a versatile wardrobe staple. With the capability of being layered up or down, I can see this being pulled on for nearly half the year, making it great value for money in practice.
Fit (male and female options)
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The ideal kit varies a lot over the winter months - not just between cyclists, but each rider's needs will vary again depending upon the ride planned and temperature that day.
While the best winter cycling jackets are great for keeping warm when tapping out the miles, with their high loft and thick weather barrier protection fabrics, when you start picking up the tempo you’ll want something a little more slimline and breathable but still warm, like the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve thermal jersey.
Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey construction
Available in male and female fit (we tested the men’s version) the Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey claims to combine warmth with racing performance.
Thicker than the standard Rapha Pro Team long sleeve Aero Jersey and the Rapha Pro Team Training Long Sleeve Jersey, the thermal version comes with a fleecy brushed back inner to a high stretch outer.
Race cut, the Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Thermal Jersey has been designed to fit reasonably tightly and ideally layered underneath with a weather corresponding baselayer.
As well as a close fit, Rapha says it has built in further speed advantages with bonded back shoulder seams, doing away with any front seams. The rear pocket has also been specifically constructed to lie completely flat when not filled.
With low light levels in winter, Rapha has also added significant reflective detailing all over the jersey, notably on the arms for increased visibility when signalling.
There are also headphone loops, which tend to divide opinion - but each to their own.
The Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Thermal Jersey ride
It's clear from the off that the designers of the Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey are bike riders. The fit is A1. All pockets are easily accessible on the fly and even when fully loaded with a stripped off bulky gilet, there was still zero flap.
With a lighter weight baselayer the jersey was excellent at around the ten degrees temperature range. Layer up with a more thermal option, or add in a winter gilet and it's easily happy at down to around five degrees if you're pressing on.
One of the hardest balancing acts with winter riding is just getting clothing right so that you don't become too cold, or over warm and sweaty, and here Rapha has achieved this equilibrium.
As a self-confessed sweaty rider, I normally overheat quite rapidly - especially living in The Peak District where there is little flat to be found, and it's a constant barrage of climbing and descending on even the most local training loops. This inevitably leads to a constant warming and chilling effect, which 90 per cent of thermal jerseys and jackets struggle to regulate.
The Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey however was one of the first that, assuming you've done your homework with baselayers and gilets, totally nailed this. Even on returning after the longest rides I was noticeably damp free from sweat and certainly not cold.
It's even slimline enough to get under a close fitting rain jacket, giving it even more versatility, although this does impact on its overall breathability, but not enough to find really uncomfortable.
If you are thinking of using this as part of a layering system on wet days, then you might want to check out our page on the best waterproof cycling jackets to ensure you team it with the perfect outer layer.
At £150 it's not the cheapest of thermal jerseys on the market, but I'd happily race in it, club run in it, ride solo for several hours in it, all pretty much from late autumn to spring. In fact, I'd wear the Rapha Pro Team long sleeve thermal jersey at anytime while it was in that sweet spot temperature range of five to ten degrees, which is probably a good five months of the year in Great Britain, making the cost per wear actually incredibly good value.
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