By: Forest Dramis
What can be said about the Rapha Classic Wind Jacket? To say it's the perfect lightweight cycling windshell wouldn't be an overstatement. To say it's the best-fitting cycling jacket I've ever put on wouldn't be hyperbole. To say there's nothing I would change about it....well, that wouldn't be quite true.
Rapha has the reputation of making the best cycling gear in the world. Along with Assos, there's probably no other brand in the cycling world whose name embues this level of quality.
Rapha makes cycling kit for cyclists and their garments fit accordingly. If you're looking for a windshell to wear on the bike, on a run and around town, move on. This isn't for you. The first thing you'll notice about about the jacket when you put it on is that it doesn't feel quite as comfortable as you'd hoped. It seems a little tight in the shoulders and the arms seem a little long. Fear not. This isn't a jacket for standing, it's a jacket for riding.
One minute on the bike and all your concerns disappear. On the bike the arms are the perfect length, the fit is perfect and there isn't a bit of extra fabric to be found. On the bike, the fit can only be described as perfect. It's a trim fit, aero and exactly what you want while riding.
The jacket is made with a softshell material that is stretchy, windproof and very water resistant. I wouldn't call it waterproof, but I've never wetted through in it and I rarely take my full waterproof shell along anymore unless things look really bleak.
In addition to the incredible tailoring, there are an abundance of small details you want and a complete lack of anything you don't want. Front zipper is waterproof and offset so as not to irritate your chin. There is one small front pocket. Shoulder seams are reinforced against quick or panicked removal on the bike. Reflective trim on arms and back. The drop tail is lower to protect against road spray and the cuffs.....oh, let me tell you about the cuffs.
The cuffs are a buttery soft, stretchy and robust fabric that create a perfect seal against your wrist. Not to loose, not too tight...Just right.
The only minor niggle I have is that the front zip isn't two-way. Understandable as two-way waterproof zippers tend to be fussy and might be annoying on the bike.
The best cycling windshell I've ever used. Bar none.
5 out of 5