The Rapha Cycling Vest, which they refer to as a Gilet (http://www.rapha.cc) is designed specifically for cycling, but we have found it to be an excellent running or walking vest. The Rapha Gilet is by far my favorite layer for spring, fall and winter conditions.
Rapha designed their gilet for changeable conditions during milder weather. It is windproof, water resistant and perfect for cool mornings, seasonal showers and brisk descents. Made from an extremely breathable matt fabric, the central back panel uses elasticated mesh for added breathability. At just 115g (medium size) the gilet packs down to fit comfortably into a jersey pocket.
Cut long in the back, the gilet has a shaped or ‘canted’ hem for all-weather protection and the collar has a lower profile at the back for improved riding comfort. The arm holes are faced with extra softshell fabric for reinforcement and cut to allow greater freedom of movement. The gilet has a full-length, off-set zip, making it easy to layer jerseys underneath.
Rapha designed the gilet in two distinct cuts. A mens version and a women’s version. The women’s version is extremely flattering curving in around the waist line and flairing out towards the shoulders and hips. The mens version is more masculine with less curvy lines.
Reflective piping around the arm holes and on the back of the vest helps visibility and there are also reflective Rapha logos on the collar and lower back. The gilet has five rear pockets, positioned to minimize sweating and center weight when loaded. In addition to two large cargo pockets, a rear pump pocket has a rubberized grip for securely attaching a rear light. A zipped pocket with an O-ring puller is perfect for carrying keys and is bonded for a clean finish. The left panel also has a concealed valuables pocket.
The right rear pocket has a buttonhole for an iPod® cable, with stylish pink cable loops running to the shoulder. The hem has a pink drawstring with friction locks for easy adjustment and eyelets for durability. The jacket is finished with a pink hanging loop.
- Packs small enough to fit in a jersey pocket.
- Windproof and water resistant to prevent chills.
- Reflective piping and logos for safety.
- Off-set front zip.
- Two elasticated cargo pockets.
- Zipped valuables pocket.
- Retail $200
- 100% Nylon
The Rapha cycling Gilet tends to run a little small, so you would be wise to choose a size larger than you normally wear. The gilet/vest performs perfectly in cool to cold weather and is an excellent choice to complement any cycling kit or running setup. Many vests out there are either too thin or too thick for extended rides. Rapha seems to have made the perfect weight gilet for cyclists.
One thing that can become a little difficult when layering cloths on longer rides, is how to pack them when the temps increase. Some vests are really too bulky to put in rear pockets. The Rapha Softshell Gilet packs down nicely when not in use.
The only downside to the Rapha Softshell Gilet of course is the price. At $200 retail it is a hefty price to pay, but if you are after a quality product, you can not go wrong with the Rapha line.
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