Featured User Review: Rapha Classic Softshell Jacket

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Featured User Review: Rapha Classic Softshell Jacket
by George Hayduke

Price: $300.00 at competitivecyclist.com
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Favorite Ride:
uphill

Summary:
I’m going to try to make this review as comprehensive as possible because there’s a lack of good review over this jacket and it’s expensive as hell. The previous review was great, but I will elaborate somewhat and basically tell you how it is collar to waist. After wearing it for a winter season (October-March) I have a good grasp on its limitations.

I had three reasons for choosing Rapha: 1, fit, Rapha gives exact measurements of every aspect of the sizing making it easy to figure out how well it fits–something completely ignored by competitors (most simply give chest sizing); 2, style, let’s just be honest here, Rapha looks better than any cycling clothier out there and you won’t look like a Euro-toolbag wearing it (think Castelli here), you really can pull this thing off for about any occasion if you dress carefully; 3, price, price isn’t really that different from the other high end retailers.


As for warmth and comfort, I wore it almost every day this winter and never once had a problem. Wind never cut through and slight rains didn’t affect its warmth (not waterproof, but still good). It stays very warm below 20 degrees when layered properly (base layer, wool longsleeve, maybe a wind breaker)and hit its limits around 40-45 degrees.

The pockets on the back are excellent; easy to access, large enough to hold anything, and it has a sweet pump stash that really is as good as Rapha says. A zippered pocket is perfect for all the small things you don’t want wet or lost, and it’s easy to open with gloves. A hip pocket on the left hand waist is pretty useless, I usually just stash a tire lever and patch kit in there because it’s too small for much else. Emergency key, maybe?

Waist cinches are great, but the jacket fits well enough that I never use them.

Thumb loops are great for keeping the sleeves down and in place when I’m riding. A+ you’ll love them once you use them. But one thing I am a little bummed about is that the palm side of the thumb loops broke down and the seam came out. Not to fear!Rapha has the best warranty I’ve yet come across and they offered free repair immediately.

This brings me to a point I think is overlooked by other reviewers: whether to buy from a retailer on sale or full price from Rapha.cc. Here follows is my opinion: buy from Rapha. I picked mine up from Competitive Cyclist at 20% off which was a killer deal and actually made it affordable. The problem is Rapha’s guaranteed replacement policy didn’t follow over. So if you hit the deck, shred the whole left side and bought it from Rapha, it will be replaced no questions asked. Which is pretty awesome.

It really comes down to asking yourself “should I save some money now?” or “pay full price and never worry again?” If I did it all over, I’d totally buy direct from Rapha. For sure.

And the butt flap is pretty superfluous. In order for it to work and stay in place you have to be sitting on it, which gets hard to do when you’re out of the saddle often. Whatever, it’s worth it. They did have the forethought to put a velcro protector on it so that it doesn’t rub and fray up your jersey.

The shoulder grip for you hipster-ass messenger bag actually makes it harder to utilize the benefits of said hipster-ass messenger bag. It makes it difficult to swing over your back for quick access. But it does not take anything away from the jackets overall performance. Just don’t be a hipster and you’re fine.

Strengths:
There’s not really anything overlooked in the design. They really thought it through to the nth degree.
Windproof
Fit
Stylish (not a Euro-douche look)
It comes in all black
Understated fashion
Warm
Great pockets
It’s Rapha and everyone will think you’re cool.
Nice zippers
Thumb tabs
Warranty
Did I mention it’s all black?

Weaknesses:
Rapha’s kick ass warranty only come with a purchase from Rapha.
Hip pocket is pointless, but you’ll still find a way to use it.
Butt flap doesn’t do a lot but say “Rapha” and make you look cool.
Grippy shoulder patch doesn’t help anything.

Similar Products Used:
white tee shirts

Reviews by community members are the foundation of RoadBikeReview.com. Share your experience with other cyclists by writing reviews for your bikes, gear, and other related accessories. You don’t have to be an expert – everyone’s opinion counts.

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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