Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket Review

Although the sun has made occasional appearances here in the UK, we are still in the middle of winter at the moment. It’s a time of year when we still have to put on our best winter cycling jackets and head out into the cold, so having the right tool for the job is important.

Rapha really needs no introduction these days, as one of the biggest and arguably best cycling clothing brands in the world. It is known for producing clothing for all weather conditions, and its winter offerings tend to do very well in reviews. So this winter I tested the Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket, to see how well it performs compared to the best women’s winter cycling jackets. Although it’s not marketed as fully waterproof, I also thought about whether it deserved a spot on our list of the best women’s waterproof cycling jackets, because the very fact that it’s made from Gore-Tex Infinium fabric suggests so. Read on to find out how it happened.

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Rapha Women's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket Review

The fit is not very curve-friendly (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

The fit is relaxed so you can layer underneath (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

Rapha’s distinctive white arm band (Image credit: Mildred Locke)

Design and aesthetics

Right off the bat, you know it’s a Rapha jacket, thanks to the distinctive white stripe down the left sleeve. Although I’m not one to wear bright colors, and certainly not orange, I found the color of this jacket to suit me very well. Since it’s designed to be worn in the depths of winter when visibility is often poor, it’s safer to wear something like this on the road.

While we’re talking visibility, the Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket also features reflective detailing throughout. Basically, all of the white parts – the arm strap, the trim around the front pocket zipper, the back strip, and two smaller trims on either side of the chest – as well as the very edges of the cuffs, are reflective.

But we’re here to get into the details. The jacket is a hard shell made of Gore-Tex Infinium, a mid-weight three-layer fabric designed to balance wind and rain protection with breathability. The outer layer is very durable and, although not stretchy, it feels soft and supple in the hands. Inside, there’s a soft, micro-brushed surface that adds a fabric-like texture. It does not add bulk to the overall jacket but is much more comfortable against the skin.

So if there is no thick fleece lining, where is the warmth coming from? Besides the wind protection properties offered by the Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, you will also find a comfortable fleece lining around the collar that runs the full length of the zipper on the right side. An elasticated and adjustable hem, thanks to drawstrings, also helps keep the cold out. Tie them up for a snug fit that seals out road spray and keeps warmth inside where you need it.

Another nice detail that adds to the warmth are the double-layered storm cuffs. On the outside, the cuff extends over the wrist to provide extra coverage, while on the inside there is a second elasticated cuff that insulates from the cold.

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Rapha Women's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket Review

Internal drawcords let you cinch the hem (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

The inner layer of the storm cuff: the black part is an elasticated cuff that keeps the heat in and the cold out (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

The outside of the windproof armband seen from the bottom (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Women's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket Review

The top features a small reflective trim for visibility while indicating (Image credit: Mildred Locke)

The jacket comes with three pockets. There is a zippered Aquaguard on the front, placed on the right side of the abdomen, which is large enough to fit most smartphones, and two on the back. Having two pockets instead of three means that both pockets are very wide, making it easy to store extra layers when not needed (but keep in mind that they are not sealed away from rain), but they are still a bit on the shallow side. A hole at the bottom of each pocket will allow any water seepage to drain away again, and the top edge of each pocket is tapered so they’re easier to access from an angle, which is a nice touch .

A final thought on the design, Rapha’s ‘classic’ fit makes the Gore-Tex Infinium Winter Jacket easy to layer underneath as it’s quite laid back. However, given the lack of stretch in the hardshell fabric, I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t much room for curves. Although every body is different, I’d like to think that a women’s specific cut of a winter jacket would have a bit more shape, but when I wear this jacket, it’s almost rectangular and feels tight around the chest. As a UK size 12-14 with a very heavy physique, the fact that I’m wearing the largest size offered by Rapha is also something I can’t help but criticize. I’m certainly not representative of most heavier riders, so having the upper limit of the size range with me just seems archaic.

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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

A front pocket is waterproof and big enough for a phone (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

Back pockets are roomy but shallow and have a hole in the bottom for water drainage (Image credit: Mildred Locke)

Performance

In use, the Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket fits very comfortably and is clearly tailored for the riding position. The chest is no longer tight, the length of the arms is perfect and the parts most vulnerable to the biting cold feel completely covered and protected.

Having been blown away by high winds, caught in several heavy downpours, and even tried riding in less brutal conditions, I definitely got an idea of ​​what this jacket is capable of and its limitations.

It does a great job of wind protection, and I’ve been able to navigate my way through windy rides with a warm core, arms, and shoulders, and very little swish or flutter, thanks to the stiffness fabric. Waterproofing is also excellent. Although not marketed as a fully waterproof jacket, it holds up exceptionally well for me when caught in heavy downpours. I was never able to get to the point where it got completely wet, and even in the heaviest rain showers the water just beaded up and ran off the surface. Gore-Tex Infinium’s ability to shed rain as soon as it lands is truly impressive. Turns out the only area that managed to let me down in the rain was the pass. Although the zipper goes all the way up to my neck and the collar is quite high, it is also quite wide on me and the water very easily managed to find its way through the gap and down my chest and from my back.

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Rapha Classic Winter Gore-Tex Women's Jacket Review

All seams are taped, so although it’s not advertised as fully waterproof, it does a great job of keeping the rain out. (Image credit: Mildred Locke)
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Rapha Women's Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket Review

However, I had some water infiltration thanks to the fairly wide neck (Image credit: Mildred Locke)

Despite the almost impenetrable barrier created by the Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, I was also pleasantly surprised by the breathability of the jacket. I never found myself falling asleep after hard exertion.

Elsewhere, while the two rear pockets are roomy enough to carry plenty of snacks or spare layers, I found the pockets to be unusually shallow. I started by storing my phone in one, but it was sticking out of the top and moving quite a bit while I was driving. While there is admittedly a zippered pocket that seems specifically designed to carry it, on days when it’s not raining I’m personally more likely to reach for my phone to break my surroundings, and prefer to fall back to an easy-to-grab elastic band. reach pocket – which are – rather than constantly playing with the zippers. All this to say, be careful that your belongings are safe.

I really like the storm cuffs, they’re extremely good at keeping the heat in and the cold out, the moisture, and they go well with gloves, which can’t be said for all jackets winter cycling.

I tested this jacket in a range of weather conditions, with temperatures ranging from 1 to 11 degrees Celsius (33.8 to 51.8 F), and found it to be remarkably versatile. It’s easy enough to layer underneath for those biting cold days, and since it was warmer it was easy to wear without long sleeves underneath, thanks to the micro-brushed inner surface. However, once temperatures hit the double digits, it was suddenly way too hot for this jacket, as I discovered on one occasion when I was completely overdressed. That’s when I really became aware of the heaviness he feels.

Verdict

All in all, I’d say the Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket is a great winter staple for anyone who rides in harsh conditions. It clearly does the job it’s supposed to, and it’s got some really well-thought-out features and awesome technology built into the fabric. However, how you use it will largely depend on where you live. If your winters are milder, this jacket might just be overkill for you. If you’re biking in sub-freezing temperatures, you’ll definitely want to layer well underneath, which should be fine for some and difficult for others who hit the high end of the size spectrum.

And therein lies one of my biggest disappointments. The jacket itself is fantastic, but not without its flaws, but it’s just not accessible enough. It was a tight fit for me when layering in the cold, so for someone taller than me to have a hard time fitting into one just seems shameful.

Tech Specs: Rapha Women’s Classic Winter Gore-Tex Jacket

  • Price: £270 / $370 / 465
  • Materials: 40% Polyester, 34% Nylon, 26% ePTFE
  • Colors: Dark Navy, Bright Orange
  • Sizes: XXS–XL (tested XL)