Rapha have launched a new range of clothing designed for racing in wet and windy conditions, developed in conjunction with Team Sky and tested at last season’s Spring Classics that offers decent breathability with the water resistance of a rain jacket.
Both the Shadow jersey and bib shorts are made from a ‘pioneering’ fabric which is stretch-woven, rather than knitted, and goes through a four-stage production process. The yarn itself is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating and woven into fabric, before it undergoes a steam-pressure treatment that shrinks it by 50 per cent. A second DWR treatment is then applied.
“What that produces is an extremely dense fabric, It wouldn’t be physically possible to actually weave yarns that close together and so, consequently, Shadow provides very high wind resistance and excellent water repellency. It also has a fantastic range of movement and fit and, that crucial difference, amazing breathability.”
– Graeme Raeburn, Rapha’s lead designer
Rapha say the Shadow jersey and bib shorts offer “all-day protection in wide-ranging comfort”, with Team Sky’s riders also benefiting by not having to fall back to the team car to pick up or drop off rain jackets thanks to the clothing’s touted versatility and breathability.
“We wore this jersey on the worst weather days of the Classics last year and it was top notch throughout. Gent-Wevelgem was one of the windiest, most horrible races I’ve ever done, but the Shadow kit kept me in excellent shape at the front of the bunch.”
Luke Rowe, Team Sky
This is Rapha’s answer to the groundbreaking Gabba jersey from Castelli, but can it compete? We reckon it can.