Wednesday 1 July 2020

Review: Just doing things with Rapha + Outdoor Voices jersey

It's all about just doing things

The latest offering from Rapha is a range of clothing that's a slight departure from the traditional designs. After a chance meeting with the American activity clothing company, Outdoor Voices while on a trip to Mallorca a couple of years ago, the two companies decided to collaborate's and design this cool range, Rapha + Outdoor Voices

Rather than the cycle wear that evokes hardcore bike riding (and suffering) on epic climbs in the Alps or ultra-distance rides from Paris to Brest, the Rapha + Outdoor Voices range is about doing more "normal things" like fun, recreational things and chilling with your mates.

In these times I haven't been doing much chilling with mates, but I certainly like to do leisurely things. I'm averse to suffering on my bike! So this range seems right up my street. I was sent a lightweight jersey (medium) and a support bra (large) to try out. 

Lightweight jersey

The jersey has a slightly rustic-looking terracotta shade, peppered with black and yellowish specks - something I associate more with doing leisurely things rather than hard-core racing. For me, the overall colour is soft on the eye, and probably a garment you can wear even when not cycling.

There's taping on the sleeve ends and pockets to help preserve the jersey's shape. I particularly like the layout of the pockets. There are the usual three rear pockets, with the middle pociket having additional capacity - a see-through pouch for a phone or other small item, and a detachable mini purse for coins.

On top of all that, you can unzip and open the whole of the pockets section to store a larger item like a waterproof jacket. It's very cleverly designed, with the idea that people have practical lives and aren't just nose to the handlebars racing. Yes, sometimes people want to stop, buy an ice cream and enjoy the scenery.

Rapha have kept their form of putting little slogans on the fabric, so inside this large pocket there is a tag saying, "Don't forget pump, tube, tire levers, snacks."!
All overarching this are the excellent wicking properties of the polyester/elastane fabric, which works well for me and kept me dry when things got a bit sweaty for me!

I found the lightweight fabric just right for the season. It felt soft on my skin and I could move around quite easily in it, especially on those moments where I had to stop and pick up or wheel my bike on certain trails.

The medium size fitted me okay, and medium is what I normally wear in Rapha jerseys. But I think that the cut in this range is slightly smaller than other Rapha jerseys, so I think a large would have given me a looser fit, which is how I generally prefer to wear jerseys. The lightweight jersey is available in dark green, pale blue and terracotta. £120

Support Bra

I took the large size support bra as I take a D/DD cup in bras normally. That was the right fit for me. However, bear in mind that having ample breasts doesn't always equate with ample size trunk/rib cage and so the bra covers the bust well, but may not be tightly snug around the trunk. So it might actually be better to get a size down if you are looking for that snugness. It comes down to personal preference. 

I like the fit of my bra, and I felt confident that it was doing it's job, even on those occasions that I cycled across rugged, bumpy terrain. The nylon/elastane/polyester fabric gives it excellent wicking properties, and the back-cut straps allows good freedom of movement. It also pairs with the bib shorts, though I don't have those, so I'll take their word for it! The bra is available in dark green and pale blue. £40

Overall Impression
To look at the clothing you wouldn't know that it is Rapha, unless you see the Rapha + Outdoor Voices branding on the inside seams on the neck or when the jersey is unzipped - or if anyone gets sight of the support bra in its full glory.

This has been a deliberate move by Rapha as a way to give a brand essence that is less intimidating for women who would like to get into cycling but without doing hard core, high performance activities. I think that's a good move as there is definitely a growth in the number of women cycling, and the profile of women cycling. So it is good to have something that can have a universal appeal.

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