rapha pro team insulated gore-tex jacket

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

it's hard to feel sorry for the average professional cyclist, particularly at world tour level. let's face it, they get to ride their bicycles pretty much every day of the year, they probably get paid more than you and i, and visit more countries in a year than most of us will manage in a lifetime. the downside, for which we feel no sympathy whatsoever, is that it is, essentially, a job, bringing with it everything that a job entails. and i don't doubt we all know what that's about, no matter how much fun it was when first recruited.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

the other part for which we probably feel no sympathy, is having to ride in all weathers, no matter how wet, cold or windy. and despite having been promised that 'outside is free', not everyone is willing to exploit that fact when it's raining on the sitting room window. the rise and rise of indoor apps like zwift have made the latter an ever more attractive option for some, where the word 'option' equates to that of 'excuse'. even rapha ceo, simon mottram was quoted earlier this week, saying "...I do use Zwift inside because I think it's quite helpful", having often repeated his mantra of endearing the world to the joys of road-racing, most of which takes place in the free outdoors.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

but, for those of us who have a hankering to find out what it's like to get out of bed every morning and clothe ourselves in lycra and sportwool, before heading into the wide, grey yonder, no matter how onerous the precipitation inhabiting the darkness, perhaps the best means of exploring such possibilities is to sign up (physically or metaphorically) for rapha's annual festive 500, a challenge which has commenced on christmas eve for the past nine years. it's either comforting or worrying, how soon you can get into the habit of laying out kit the evening before, and heading out first thing the following morning, without first checking the weather. however, to make the latter part a more equitable reality, it's surely incumbent upon the intrepid 'festiver' to ensure availability of the finest weather proofing on offer.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

for this year's 'festive 500', hanging on the back of the spare bedroom door, is rapha's recently released pro team insulated gore-tex jacket, one of three collaborations between the two parties.

this top-of-the-range, state-of-the-art example of weatherproof garmentage, features gore's 'shakedry', a highly breathable material that attempts to bypass at least one of the weak-links inherent in the average breathable waterproofs, by forming the outer waterproof shell. the majority of breathable waterproofs feature the membrane beneath a durable water repellency (dwr) treated outer fabric. however, after several washes, the latter becomes less able to shuffle-off the dangers of saturation, and when that happens, the breathable membrane is placed under duress. placing the membrane on the outside, removes this potential weak-spot.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

however, this means that, in this case, the goretex shakedry is exposed to any and all potential wear and scuffing. for this reason, rapha advise that it ought not to be accessorised with a backpack or rucksack.

but then again, this is rapha's pro team, a constituent part of a range designed for athletic prowess, rather than cycling to and from work, college, or the supermarket. of its heritage, you will be in no doubt, for the jacket veers perilously close to 'spray-on' territory. i have found and commented on, several items from the pro team range to be rather close-fitting at the hem. given that my pro team wardrobe is inhabited by medium-size jerseys and jackets and i have a narrow 30" waist, even then it can occasionally be struggle to have the two sides of the zip meet each other in the middle, particularly if the jersey pockets are, ever so slightly, overpopulated. while the gore-tex jacket fits exceptionally well over all, an extra centimetre of circumference certainly wouldn't have gone amiss at the hem.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

and should your pro team status require that you carry coffee money, mini-pump, spare gloves and, perchance a compact digital camera, all can be easily accessed via zips situated on each side of the jacket. it looks as if it might prove to be something of a faff, especially if mitted-up for the weather. additionally, the full-length (and then some) front zip, works both ways, so heavier cargo can be implanted without removing the jacket so to do.

there are two features of this jacket worth making a song and dance about: the 'polartec alpha' insulation and an all encompassing hood. i tried out the former on a bright, sunny day, when my colleague's garmin indicated minus three degrees without taking into account a modest level of wind-chill. the pink, fluffy insulation seems barely capable of providing the level of insulation experienced, but let me assure you it is capable in the extreme. even on wet, windy, yet relatively mild days, should any form of mechanical malfeasance interrupt your festive riding, that inherent cosiness will keep any thoughts of hypothermia at bay, while you deal with the immediate problem, even if it's only phoning for assistance.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

the hood, while not a deal-breaker, may not, at first, appeal to everyone. in fact, i'm happy to admit, it didn't actually appeal to me at all, not least because there seems no way of having it meld into the jacket when not being worn in the up position. this is predominantly due to two factors: the hood is not detachable (for very good reason) and the front zip extends from the hem, all the way to the lower portion of the hood. however, riding in severe gales and horizontal hailstones, that 'gore-tex stretch' hood moved from being questionably desirable, all the way to being necessitous. the fact that it fits over a winter cap and under a helmet improves the festive quality of velocipedinal life immeasurably.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

with the zip fully extended and the hood in the up position, the lower portion sits on your chin, pretty much the best protection you'll get from the elements, short of wearing a full-face helmet. mind you, it can also reach to just below the nose, making breathing an all but impossible task.

despite my earlier contention that an extra centimetre of waist might be a good idea, the lower back fabric is also built from 'gore-tex stretch' to accommodate pocket bulk. the gusset inserts on the zipped forearms and cuffs also take their heritage from the world of 'gore-tex stretch'. the latter obviates any likelihood of having to fit bulky, waterproof gloves over the cuffs, rather than underneath. that way, any precipitation will affect only the outer shell of the glove, rather than drip into the interior.

rapha pro team goretex insulated jacket

and there's a collar loop with which to hang it on a coat hook.

it almost seems pointless to conclude this review by mentioning that after nearly three hours in sub-zero galeforce windchill and rain, i was not only comfortably warm, but impeccably dry. it's a wee bit of a shame that a garment intended to be worn in the very worst of the weather is only available in black, rather than something a tad more visible. there are occasional examples of reflectivity, but nonetheless, more would have been welcome. but ultimately, if you have no objections, i'll simply quote from rapha's website; even though they said it, i fully concur.

"it was once said, in cycling, there is no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong clothing. with the pro team insulated gore-tex jacket, there is no such thing as bad weather."

the rapha pro team gore-tex insulated jacket is available in sizes ranging from xs to xxl, in black only at a retail cost of £320

rapha pro team gore-tex insulated jacket

friday 13 december 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................