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Rapha Core jersey and bibshorts review

14 Apr 2016

The Rapha Core range offers Rapha quality, without the Rapha price tag with the bibshorts are the real star of the show.

Cyclist Rating: 
Quality and aesthetics at an accessible price.
Currently a limited range

Where all bike frames strive to be stiff, light and comfortable, all bike clothing similarly strives to achieve a trinity: aesthetics, quality and value. In both cases it is usually a case of picking two, but with its new Core collection Rapha has done away with compromising one area and attempted to balance all 3 attributes. Admittedly £75 for a jersey and £100 for bibshorts is hardly bargain basement, but when the prices are considered against the quality and beauty of the kit the value starts to become apparent. 

The Core range is centred on simplicity – limited choice and understated appearance, but includes exactly what is necessary. The collection consists of the jersey, currently available in four muted tones, and black bibshorts with the choice of white or black straps. The fit of the bibshorts is impeccable, while the jersey is fine if slightly boxy – we found it to be slightly baggy around the waist in comparison to the fit at the top and bottom of the garment, but this is of course subjective.

The bibshorts are a particular highlight of the range. Flatlock seams join smartly-shaped panels, meaning chafing isn’t an issue and Rapha sensibly hasn’t compromised at the heart of the shorts – the Core bibs are built around the original Classic chamois that remains as comfortable as ever. As a result the Core bibshorts punch well above their weight at this price point. It is a similar story with the jersey – the polyester it uses feels more organic than synthetic, and has been treated with an antibacterial process so still smells reasonable even after repeated use.

What becomes apparent after spending some time in the kit is the feeling of refinement from both the jersey and bibshorts. To meet this price point Rapha reassessed its material choice but against your skin the kit never feels anything less than premium – appropriately stretchy without ever feeling compressive, light and soft without feeling insubstantial. Astute features like the wide, but gentle, silicone grippers and an anatomic cut means you don’t have to give the kit a second thought once it has been donned – it fits well, stays in place and performs as it should. In short, it just works. Care to expand the range, Rapha?


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