It's a classic retro design with a modern upgrade that is perfect for spring, autumn and not-too-warm summer days. Best used on all- and multiple-day rides, it's not intended for those planning on going out to smash themselves.
Struggles in hot conditions
Certainly not cheap
Rapha’s Brevet jersey personifies a product that does exactly what it says on the tin.
If purchasing the jersey, you’re doing so because you want to look stylish - and with a throwback to yesteryear’s old double-hooped style - on long-distance rides, possibly over multiple days. But in doing so, you don’t want to contend with fabrics of the 60s and 70s and want a modern take on a classic design.
To that end, Rapha has produced the best cycling jersey (opens in new tab) for the job: the consumer knows exactly what they’re getting. No messing around or hidden surprises: this Brevet jersey ticks everyone of the pre-buy expectant boxes.
The origin of the name would suggest that this jersey has a limited target market, focusing solely on randonneurs. Brevet is a French term used to describe timed, long-distance events with riders - or randonneurs - having to get a tick in their Brevet card at every checkpoint; rides typically last between 200 and 600km.
Rapha, however, has a wider catchment area than the name would indicate, appealing to those after the retro look but also those who want a reliable jersey on long days in the saddle, including outings that span a weekend.
In that regard, riders are blessed with five pockets at the rear. Three are your traditional normal sized ones, capable of holding an entire day’s stock, while there is also a mesh-lined cargo pocket to store a gilet or jacket, and a zip pocket to hide valuables like keys and cards. To the front, and there’s a small pocket on the right pectoral that is most definitely a stylish rather than a practical inclusion but could hold the odd item such as some headphones.
It looks like Rapha has thrown it back decades with the thicker, more robust material, but they've done so with a modern twist: the fabric is 64% recycled polyester and 34% merino wool. It’s true that, generally, the sweat was able to wick away, but on hot and humid days, the jersey felt like it stuck to me, and the weightier fabric just felt more heavy on me and almost like it was sagging.
I have to agree with Rapha that this isn’t to be worn when the mercury rises into the 30s. There’s a reason, I suppose, that merino wool is more commonly seen in winter clothing.
That’s not to say, however, that the jersey wasn’t a quick drier, because it was - however much I sweated and however wet it was. Certainly after summer thunderstorms I was caught in I can attest to the jersey’s quick-drying, but I question how well it would cope after a torrential downpour.
The fit isn’t race-hugging tight, but then it’s not intended to be, the jersey sitting loosely but not baggy around the arms and the waist,
It’s a great jersey for multi-day riding, or if completing an Eroica event, but there’s a clear temperature range in that it has to be ridden, one that would make it ideal on almost all British warm days and across the shoulder seasons in most places, but best kept at home if your riding takes you into the heat.
Colours: Stone, dark yellow, black, dark navy
Sizes: XS - XXL
Website: rapha.cc (opens in new tab)
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.