A new development collaboration between Rapha and Gore has yielded three all-new waterproof Rapha rain jackets, and a new level of comfort for riding in the harshest of conditions. The trick to riding in the rain isn’t simply staying dry. But when it’s warm outside you need a lot of breathability to not overheat, and when the rain & temps get really cold it becomes hard to stay warm as your efforts change with the ride. So, Rapha has selectively paired together GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY, Active & Stretch plus Polartec Alpha insulation to create a lightweight shell, an insulated jacket, and a multi-use pullover…
Rapha + GORE-TEX, next-level waterproof cycling jackets
Rapha has always made some great gear for staying comfortable in cold or wet weather. Their Shadow kit helped me survive unending glacial river crossings & driving rain in Iceland, the hydrophobic Shadow leg & knee warmers are always in my kit bag as an insurance policy, and Pro Team jackets have long been a staple for cold weather riding. But none of those can quite standup against the performance of Gore’s latest Shakedry fabric which takes waterproofing & breathability to a new level. So, Rapha set out to out their attention to detail into crafting a next generation of waterproof jackets taking advantage of the latest Gore-Tex fabrics.
So for cyclists who want to ride in any weather, these three new jackets open up more days on the bike.
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex jacket
The most basic of the new Rapha+Gore jackets is the $295 / 260€ Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex jacket – available only in Shakedry’s almost black, but with a white contrast arm band & reflective details. A simple, ultra-light packable shell jacket, it is essentially a super thin Shakedry rain jacket cut close for a comfortable fit that won’t flap in the wind, and with a waterproof AquaGuard zipper behind a storm flap.
Gore-Tex Shakedry isn’t anything new. We’ve seen it before in many similar jackets, but it is hard to appreciate how much more breathable it is than most other waterproof materials until you ride in it. Rapha puts it to use with classic sealed seams, and light elastic closures that fit comfortably at the bonded cuffs & waist, and keep the rain out.
Since the single layer Shakedry Gore membrane beads up & doesn’t absorb any water, the jacket always stays light, and when it stops raining you can literally shake the drops of water off it to dry. Then pack it into its tiny mesh pocket and it fits easily into (half) a jersey pocket – down to about the size of two road tubes, Rapha’s Essentials case, or pretty much the lightest packable wind shell you’ve used.
The Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex jacket also gets a women’s cut version with all the same Shakedry tech and same pricing.
Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex jacket
The most hi-tech of the three new jackets is the $430 / 375€ Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex jacket – again only in black, with reflective accents.
Designed for riding in miserably cold (think: close to freezing) and wet (think: heavy, cold driving rain) it pairs the excellent, lightweight Polartec Alpha insulation that Rapha puts in their other light insulated jackets, with a Shakedry shell.
But they didn’t stop with just insulating a waterproof shell. Instead, this jacket nerds out way deeper into the advance Gore-Tex details, with a wild-looking hood that seals close against your face (under a helmet) reinforced sleeves that cinch down over neoprene or winter weight gloves, and a stretch rear panel that conforms over the stuffed pockets of your jersey underneath.
The low-profile hood is rather unique in that it actually fits comfortably under a helmet, while hugging close all around your head and not restricting movement at all. It uses thin Gore-Tex Stretch fabric to keep the water out, but also conform comfortably to your head and neck. Then, mesh flap vents at the ears mean you can still hear what’s going on around you on the road. And somehow it all benefits from Gore’s latest advances in maintaining surprising breathability. The Stretch fabric allows for a close fit over your jersey pockets inside, whether they are stuffed or empty, with two side zips allowing some pocket access and a bit of optional venting, as well.
Again seam-sealed Shakedry keeps water out, lets excess heat escape, and never gets saturated with rain or sweat. Classic Rapha pink Alpha insulation around your entire core & arms also does a great job of insulating while also transferring sweat away from the skin. Using the same insulation in other jackets for a couple winters, it really does still keep you warm on descents after sweating on extended climbs, and dries quickly.
As Rapha puts it, “If the conditions are any worse than those the Pro Team Insulated GORE-TEX Jacket is designed for, it’s better not to ride at all.”
Rapha Explore Hooded Gore-Tex Pullover
Last up is the Explore series’ new $345 / 300€ Gore-Tex Pullover, which adds some color thanks to a more conventional multi-layer Gore fabric – get it in Dark Navy blue, Plum purple, or Dark Yellow (orange) – plus reflective detailing.
The Explore Pullover is essentially a hi-tech waterproof Gore-Tex anorak cut with a relaxed-fit to work on and off the bike for more adventurous road & gravel riding. The short-zip Pullover is made of Gore’s lightest-ever 3-layer membrane Gore-Tex Active fabric that is meant to be comfortable next to the skin
The waterproof jacket has an elastic hood that can be worn over or without a helmet, gets a single large chest pocket with internal mesh dividers, that can also pack the jacket away to use it as a pillow, and features a drawcord at the hem that doubles as a valve core tool for on-the-go-tubeless fixes.
The Explore Hooded Gore-Tex Pullover jacket also gets a women’s cut version with all the same Gore-Tex Active performance & details, at the same pricing but only in navy blue.
All of the new Rapha + Gore-Tex jackets are available now, with more Gore-Tex collaboration expected in the future.