Rapha’s new Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket brings the one real feature that Shakedry has been truly lacking… improved visibility in, literally anything other than black. Every time a company introduces some new kit for riding in cold and/or wet weather, we always ask why does it have to be black? Can’t we have some vibrant colors to boost our visibility on the bike?
But when single-layer Gore-Tex Shakedry was launched, they had a good answer. Gore couldn’t get conventional dyes to stick to the single-layer membrane. So it was black-only. But what if someone found a way…
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket printed in Technicolor
A year ago Rapha launched their partnership with Gore, and debuted this Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket, in addition to the Explore pullover AND the crazy Pro Team Insulated Gore jacket for the most brutal conditions that would keep most cyclists inside…
But even at the time, I noticed something curious about that Pro Team Shakedry jacket that I tested…
It had a decidedly “not black” signature Rapha contrasting armband. That seemed to go against the idea that Shakedry could only be black. Were Rapha and Gore up to something sneaky? The answer was definitely, YES!
What’s new in Rapha’s printed Gore-Tex Shakedry colors?
See, the truth is, working together Gore & Rapha had figured out how to make a white version of Shakedry, and they were working on how to print on it in full color too. No one seems willing to explain exactly how it works differently – it seems it is much more difficult than the conventional sublimation that works on most conventional synthetic cycling kits.
But they managed to go full Rapha Pro Team pink & blue EF Technicolor on Shakedry for what I seriously feel like is a game changer in foul weather riding gear.
So much cold, wet & dark weather riding kit is dark-colored, and low-light visibility has to be clawed back with reflective finishes and detailing that certainly help. But it’s hard to beat bright colors for being seen!
Rapha does tell us that it’s more difficult to produce the printed Shakedry fabric.
You can see in the photos above the slightly different fabrics – printed pink jacket at left, standard black on the right. The printable Shakedry has a light gray color inside, and you can even see the same fabric that makes the inside of the white armband on the black jacket.
This was our big clue in the original jacket!
Other than color and the printable, gray-inside Gore-Tex Shakedry, the new pink jacket is the same as the original Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket. It still packs down super tiny, essentially as small as my smallest wind jacket. About the size of a big fist and able to fit into any jersey pocket.
Packing down into the mesh inside stuff pocket, a large jacket weighs just 133g (we measured a medium at 5g less). The Gore Shakedry fabric isn’t at all stretchy, but it is surprisingly compressible. Loosely stuff it into a jersey pocket, and it completely filled every pocket we tried. Stuffed into its own mesh pocket, and it seems like it gets 50% smaller, easily tucking into the size of a 450ml tool/carrier bottle. With a compression strap, I got it even smaller to tuck inside my bikepacking bags.
A quick note on sizing – Gore Shakedry doesn’t stretch, so the jackets may be cut a bit more on the roomy side than most Pro Team kit. With a 100cm chest, I usually need to go with a Pro Team large for the best fit. In the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket I can wear a Medium in the summer with a close fit around my chest over summer-weight jerseys & baselayers (see the black jacket photo near the top). But this pink jacket is a Large, giving me room for a warmer and thicker merino jersey & merino baselayer for riding and staying dry in colder weather.
So why is colorful Shakedry a game changer anyway?
Let’s start with the fact that Gore-Tex Shakedry is expensive. Not everyone is going to run out and buy a new colorful Shakedry jacket, especially if they already have some other waterproof riding jacket. But Shakedry really does outperform almost everything out there.
The single layer membrane fabric breathes better that any other waterproof jacket I’ve tried over the years. It’s shown itself to be surprisingly durable to my abuse over the past year as well (the black one farther up this article at least). But note: it’s not compatible with wearing backpacks.
And in real world use it has shown itself to be more breathable than many wind-only jackets, still packing down just as small as the best of them. Only it had been almost entirely limited to black-only.
And it’s hard to argue with the fact that it absorbs ZERO water. Get caught in a quick rain shower, and shake the jacket off after the rain stops. And you literally are left with just a few droplets of water beaded up on the surface of the lightweight jacket. Hence… the Shakedry name.
You don’t have to wait for a completely rainy day to benefit from Shakedry. It’s essentially replaced my superlight wind jackets as insurance on colder days, when rain might be an issue, or even when I’m riding through a lot of early morning fog along the river.
Now with a splash of bright color, it even helps me be seen by cars in those times I spend fighting with traffic in autumn and winter.
To be fair, Gore let slip that it was possible to have colors with their own limited edition Gore x Romance collaboration last year that had a subdued, yet colorful Shakedry. But there seem to have been issues in ramping that up into real production, so it never was that available actually. Thus, the most we’ve seen have been hi-viz panels on Gore’s own retro Shakedry 1985 Viz jacket. Hopefully’s Rapha’s commitment to color will change that!
And with so much of our (my) cold weather riding kit comprised of black tights, black jerseys, black jackets, and black gloves… even the hint of a hi-viz pink pocket square sneaking out of my jersey back pocket is probably going to boost my visibility.
And let’s take it a step further, if they can print production jackets like this? How long will it be until we see team riders in custom printed Gore-Tex jacket, too? The days of pro riders riding wet race days in all black rain jackets are numbered! You do notice that the pattern on this pink & purple jacket is the same as the EF-Education First jerseys, right?
Then, how long until Rapha Custom adds custom printed Shakedry? Plus to be honest, if Rapha can print on Gore-Tex Shakedry fabric, other clothing companies must surely be close behind.
Here’s to the demise of all-black wet weather gear!
What’s the catch? Rapha Gore-Tex Shakedry color – Pricing & RCC availability
So here’s the thing… the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Printed Jacket isn’t cheap. It already costs £220 / $295 / 260€ in black, which oddly enough isn’t relatively exorbitant for a Shakedry cycling jacket. And now this colorful pink one is going to be quite hard to snatch up. But at less than ten percent more, the £240 / $325 / 285€ pink printed version is much more visible.
We may have gotten the ONLY production jacket that leaked out before the official launch today to test out.
And even now it is only going out exclusively to Rapha’s own RCC members through a Highlights link via the RCC app. Members get the first shot at buying up the entire first run of printed jackets that are ready this winter.
Rapha assures us that numbers are unfortunately limited. They haven’t said how many exactly, but that it is harder to produce and suggested it will be quite a limited number this year.
So if you are a Rapha Cycling Club member who rides in wet weather and had been holding out on buying a new waterproof jacket, now might be the time to act fast. I can assure you that this bright jacket has already become my go-to insurance policy for changing weather on long rides this fall and winter. Whether you are a fan of EF-Education First team pink or not, there’s no arguing that I will be seen in this jacket – better than any black one that came before!