Rapha Women’s Pro Team Gore-Tex Insulated Rain Jacket Review

If you like to train outdoors, whatever the weather, the Rapha Pro Team Gore-Tex Insulated Jacket – available as a waterproof cycling jacket for men and women – could be a good addition to your cycling wardrobe. , providing the cut combinations. It offers good protection against the elements thanks to a cozy insulating layer that traps and manages warm air.

Construction and fit

The Pro Team Insulated Rain Jacket combines Gore-Tex’s Paclite Plus membrane with an insulated liner. The two-layer recycled Paclite shell offers durable waterproof protection, certified to Gore’s Black Diamond standard, with an abrasion-resistant exterior. Inside, 65 g/m² synthetic insulation is designed to help with temperature regulation.

There is a wide elasticated band at the back hem, zipped cuffs and a fully lined stand-up collar. The main zipper is two-way, handy for accessing mid-layer pockets or just getting some air flowing to the torso. The toggles are easy to locate and grip, even with gloved hands.

Pro Team reflective bars on the sleeves, along with a larger reflective tab between the pockets, help make the jacket stand out in low light conditions. It’s great that the jacket is also available in a much bolder blue; the navy version I tested might be considered by some to be too dark for the expected conditions.

Jacket details

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

The average Rapha Shakedry I own is a brilliant fit, I was optimistic of getting the same with the Pro Team jacket; the linked size chart always puts me in the middle. However, I wasn’t as happy with the fit, for several reasons.

The cut of the Pro Team jacket is very well designed for a road racing position. In a normal position, there is a pull on the chest and plenty of room around the back. Ride a road bike – which is in intended use – over the hoods or the drops, and it’s all a dream… well, almost everything.

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Before

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

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Before

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

The fit around the upper body, on the bike, is excellent. There is also plenty of room around the torso, so stowing the pockets under the jacket is no problem. The length, both of the body and the sleeves, is well judged.

The sleeves taper sharply to a zip closure. Even with the zippers open, I found it impossible to get through the cuffs on a substantial winter cycling glove, eg the Dexshell winter gloves. Something like Castelli’s Prefetto was suitable, but ‘gloves first’ was a must. With the zipper open, you only gain an extra centimeter of girth at the end of the sleeve, which comes to nothing at the source of the zippers. With a big smartwatch, there was no way to close the armband. The whole setup is cumbersome and since the fabric under the zipper has no effect, there is very little to be gained from having the zipper in my opinion. Taking the jacket off is a problem because of this tightness – it’s most definitely a matter of upside-down sleeves.

Sleeve detail

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Despite my reservations with the off-the-bike fit and tapered sleeve cut, I can’t beat the jacket for quality; there is nothing to complain about in construction and finish.

It closes smoothly (without interference from the hilt) and has withstood brambles, some rather hasty “pulls” and constantly weighted pockets.

You can see from the photos that I am probably what you would call a “medium” build. Rapha manufactures the jacket in sizes XXS to XL. Given the sleeve issue, I’d say this is definitely a “try before you buy” garment and certainly lives up to its “pro” tag as far as fit goes; I would like to wear it on something other than a racing bike. Interestingly, tester Hannah Bussey had similar issues with Castelli’s women’s raincoats, although the main area of ​​concern was the upper arm.

The path

Although I grumbled a bit on the sleeves, I really can’t do the same on the performance; it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to protecting you when riding in the rain in dismal conditions.

On the bike, the Gore-Tex layer reliably forces water, from heavy rain to road spray, to bead and roll even after several hours. Although this has been the case throughout testing, I cannot predict if it will be the case in about a year. In my experience, only Shakedry delivers reliable waterproofing year after year. A telltale sign is how a jacket dries after soaking. Hanging it up without making sure all surfaces are exposed (to dry) can lead to wetness on the inside side (after several hours) with many waterproof garments – these tend to be ones with a limited lifespan . Unfortunately, that was the case with the Pro Team jacket, so in a few years it may not protect as well as when you first bought it. It’s always a good idea to check the care instructions and re-waterproof your protection kit if necessary.

rain beads

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

The windbreaker is impressive. We’ve had some pretty brutal conditions over the past 6 weeks, including high winds and snow showers, and I’ve always felt quite warm, even with just a base down below. A thick jersey was uncomfortable for me due to narrow forearms.

In colder conditions, overheating was never an issue; breathability is good and temperature regulation is definitely helped by the puffy layers, which help with heat dissipation and insulation.

In milder conditions you certainly start to feel warmer than you would without any sort of waterproof shell. It’s still quite breathable compared to many raincoats I’ve experienced; I didn’t run to take the jacket off as soon as the rain stopped. This is a good thing; I had often combined it with a base coat and removal was not even an option. It offers so much protection that, certainly in milder conditions, anything more (underneath) would be stifling. The two-way zipper was appreciated in these situations, especially on climbs, to help increase airflow.

The jacket is surprisingly light (240g) for the protection it offers. However, the insulating layer and zippers at the cuffs limit packability. You’ll need generous pockets (or a handy team car) if you want to take the jacket off halfway through. Very few jerseys I own (that’s a lot, considering what I do) offer the pocket capacity to accommodate it. I tried to pass the packed size here…

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Sizing

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

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Sizing

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Without a jersey underneath you are forced to use the jacket pockets, this was a problem for me; I found the openings to be very high in the back. Normally, if the placement is high, sitting on the saddle makes it easier to reach and access the contents. However, due to the cut of the jacket, this is not the case with the Pro Team. It’s actually counterproductive because the jacket gets tight in the front as you straighten up.

The chest pocket is a useful addition. The overall fit of the jacket is snug enough to keep the contents of the pockets close to the chest, rather than pulling the jacket forward. It is quite small, ideal for a small wallet, card or keys – a modern smartphone is prohibited.

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Access to the bike pocket

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

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Access to the bike pocket

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Value

At £310/$420, it’s a considerable investment. There aren’t many alternatives that offer the same combination of insulation and sealing. You might end up looking at jackets with some kind of waterproof treatment looking for warmth and rain protection. Something like Pearl Izumi’s £199 Women’s Pro Amfib Jacket might be a reasonable alternative with a less restrictive fit, and it goes up to XXL.

Rapha’s Pro Team isn’t the first women’s specific raincoat I’ve had “sleeve issues” with lately. The latest Idro jacket from Castelli is very tight around the arms for me, Hannah was ok with that when she tested it. Given this apparent propensity to restrict sleeve width in women’s kit, it might even be worth considering a men’s jacket. Gore’s Shakedry Insulated Jacket might be an option. For an extra ten on top of Rapha’s RRP, you get Shakedry’s longevity.

For me, due to the issues I had with sleeves and pocket placement, the expense of the Pro Team Insulated Jacket can never be justified. However, even if that hadn’t been an issue, I’m not sure I’d opt for the jacket over a layered setup. It’s not exactly packable unless you have some sort of handlebar or frame bag, and it’s unlikely to get enough use to justify the expense.

Features

  • Fully lined stand-up collar for maximum protection
  • Internal hanging loop
  • Durable construction for extended use in harsh conditions
  • Extra-large size for a stable fit
  • Two large rear pockets for easy access when wearing gloves
  • Concealed chest pocket to store winter essentials
  • GORE-TEX Black Diamond Certified
  • Two-way Aquaguard zipper
  • Zipped cuffs for use with winter gloves
  • Outer: 100% recycled nylon
  • Insulation: 100% polyester