Words: Joe Hall | Date:
“Your brain can’t remember pain. Of that I am glad. I don’t miss the pain. I’ll tell you what I miss though, I miss the weather… sweat would drip from my nose on to the white road, snow tingling as it melted on my exposed skin. The world was frozen but I was roaring in flames, as if I was driving an open-top car with the heater on full blast. I was my own nature. I was defiance.”
– From The Weather by Rigo Zimmerman
Whether it’s a freezing mountain descent or rain-soaked city streets, Rapha outerwear keeps you riding through all kinds of conditions. But judging the correct piece of outerwear to cover yourself in or pack into your pocket or luggage on a ride can be tricky. Do you know your Softshell from your Hardshell? Your Transfer Gilet from your Hi-Vis Gilet? Here’s our guide.
Definition: Weatherproof outer shell cut from Rapha’s answer to Gore-Tex.
Conditions: When the conditions get tough – i.e. wet, windy and cold – the tough needn’t be a problem.
Rider: Road riders who know the difference between bad weather and bad clothing.
Wear with: Thermal Bib Shorts or Winter Tights/ Winter Base Layer or Long Sleeve Jersey (In the city: Merino Jersey or Polo/ Rapha Trousers or Jeans).
See the Hardshell Jacket »
Definition: The most versatile cycling jacket in the world.
Conditions: From autumn through to early spring, this jacket keeps core temperature stable. A thoroughbred amongst jackets.
Rider: Road riders, commuters and even mountain bikers.
Wear with: Base layer on mild days, or over a long sleeve jersey when colder. Also looks just at home with jeans as it does with ¾ bibs.
See the Classic Softshell »
See the Women’s Classic Softshell »
Definition: Updated this season with taped seams. This is a great lightweight waterproof or emergency layer for rides when you don’t know where the weather will take you.
Conditions: Sudden showers, rides into the mountains, Norwegian weather (it’s also windproof).
Rider: The intrepid road cyclist who needs to ride come rain or shine. Racers, sportivists and cyclo-tourists. But also city commuters.
Wear with: Any kind of Rapha Training & Racing gear or City apparel.
See the Rain Jacket »
See the Women’s Rain Jacket »
Definition: Almost on a par with the Classic Softshell in terms of iconic status, this lightweight jacket is another very versatile garment.
Conditions: Wet and windy spring days, when the descent calls for an emergency layer, early morning starts.
Rider: Every road rider should own one of these.
Wear with: Anything from a winter jersey in the colder months to a base layer on warmer days.
See the Classic Wind Jacket »
See the Women’s Wind Jacket »
Definition: A softshell/ brushed back outer layer with the comfort of a jersey and protection of a jacket.
Conditions: Cool to cold.
Rider: Riders who don’t want excess bulk, who ride high tempo and who want the very best money can buy.
Wear with: Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts, Leg Warmers and Merino Base Layer.
See the Pro Team Jacket »
Definition: Originally designed for Team Sky, streamlined protection from precipitation.
Conditions: Wet and windy, sudden showers, deluges and so forth.
Rider: Pro or amateur racers, high tempo riders and weight weenies.
Wear with: Pro Team Jersey (short or long sleeve) Pro Team Bib Shorts (or Thermal).
See the Pro Team Race Cape »
Definition: The Souplesse Jacket uses two distinct fabrics to allow for temperature regulation and protection from the elements. With contrast colourways, offset zip and reflective detailing.
Conditions: Cold, dry and blustery days.
Wear with: Women’s Winter Hat, Women’s Padded Tights.
See the Souplesse Jacket »
Definition: Exceptional protection from the elements in a jacket styled for the everyday. The hood is shaped for clear peripheral vision while riding, and can be rolled away when not in use.
Conditions: Wet, gritty, city weather. This jacket is extremely water resistant, insulating, windproof and is cut to look good wherever you find yourself.
Rider: From the city riding dandy to the hardcore commuter.
Wear with: Rapha Trousers or Jeans/ any kind of merino mid-layer.
See the Hooded Rain Jacket »