The Rapha Core Rain Jacket is lightweight, easily packable and most importantly provides excellent protection when conditions start to get nasty.
At $180 it's at the bottom of the price pile when it comes to Rapha so I was not sure what to expect, but to say that I was impressed by the Core Rain jacket is a serious understatement.
WORDS - MIKE BOUDRIE IMAGES - ANDREW CLIFFORTH
Rapha has recently introduced their "Core" range. Their marketing speak tells me that "Core offers the essentials... and ... the collection is nothing more than the basics." Over the next few months we'll be looking at the full Core Range of items including the Core Rain Jacket, Core Jersey and Core Shorts.
The Core range is light on branding, I'm sure this will appeal to a lot of people out there. Each piece feels simple but not plain, it's a bit hard to explain. There's that distinctive Rapha feel to each item and finish is excellent.
What's a little less clear from the descriptions around Core is that it offers a more forgiving cut than Rapha's other collections. Core also sits as the cheapest offering in Rapha's line up. To take the Core Jacket as an example, it will set you back A$180 versus $340 for the Classic Rain Jacket or $385 for the Pro Team Race Cape.
Out of the Rapha packaging the Core Rain Jacket feels really light, and in a second I have it scrunched down into jersey pocket size. It has got some of the feel of my Rapha Rain Jacket but at a fraction of the weight.
The seams are all taped and the off centre zipper looks built to withstand water, there's some ventilation holes under the arms, a draw cord and nicely elasticated cuffs. To finish there's some reflective detail on the arms and back.
ON THE BIKE
I'll be honest, I was not completely convinced that this jacket would get the job done. Put simply I was wrong. It has become my go to jacket when it looks like there is a chance of rain (which over this Melbourne summer has been pretty often). I've also found myself using it when it's a bit cooler, or the wind picks up. It has even become my staple jacket to wear on the commute to La Velocita HQ to keep me visible. Thrown over a T-shirt it's actually bearable to wear on non freezing days if you keep the pace easy.
The fit is definitely not race. Compared to my Rapha Pro Team kit I'd say that the Core Jacket is one, if not two sizes larger. There's a bit of room in the arms (which were a great length for my long arms) and my size medium was far from race fit, but at the same time managed not to behave live a big flappy bag.
When the sky opened the Core Jacket did not even begin to let me down. The longest rain shower it endured was around 30 minutes and it kept me completely dry. We'll need to wait for some horror Melbourne autumn weather to test its full capability here.
Breathability is not mentioned on the Rapha site, and overall the performance in this department is not as good as their more technical jackets. The under arm holes do keep air moving but I found that when pushing on, I did start feeling the heat build up. As we head into winter I don't think this will be such an issue.
Combine the lower price point and the slightly more generous fit and I think that the Core Rain Jacket is going to open Rapha up to many first time 'Raphers'. It's a good jacket that I've used a lot already in multiple conditions and types of riding. It's both a wind jacket and rain jacket that works well and looks good... plus I'm loving the Chartruse colour.
Would I buy one? Yes.
Size - I'm 188cm / 99cm chest / 79kg and wore a medium.
Where to buy - www.rapha.cc
Disclaimer - Thanks to Rapha Australia for providing us with the Core Range for review at no charge, this is not a paid review and we do not receive any financial proceeds relating to sales of the Rapha Core Jacket.