RAPHA TRAIL PANT & WINDBLOCK JERSEY REVIEW
Review by Drew Rohde
Rapha’s Trail Pant and Trail Windblock Jersey have been seeing a great deal of use this winter as the blustery conditions have pushed summer’s warmth away. Temperatures are dropping and the sun’s rays aren’t nearly as strong as they were just a few months ago. Subsequently it’s the time of year I start looking for the best kit to keep warm without overheating or looking like a crab fisherman in Maine. We at least knew that Rapha and their fashionistas wouldn’t have us sacrificing style for warmth, but we were curious to see how a bunch of roadies turned gravel grinders would do when it came time to designing clothes for the most discerning of dirt fiends. Let’s dig in.
Trail Pant – Built using reinforced, durable stretch woven fabric, Rapha’s Trail Pants are designed to withstand the test of time. Our encounters with high desert sage and juniper are always ready to put these claims to the test. The material is a Nylon (89%) and Elastane (11%) blend that is water-resistant and does a good job offering protection from the wind. Rapha includes a Repair Kit with color-matched iron-on patches, which is a definite plus. Rapha also offers repair service for more substantial damage.
Reinforced knees are built with articulated shaping to reduce cuff lift and increase comfort while wearing knee pads. The adjustable waistband belt features cam locks and belt loops. The Rapha Trail Pants also include two handwarmer pockets and two secure side zip pockets. This is where I kept my iPhone 10 during my rides.
Windblock Jersey – This Rapha jersey is one of our favorite new items, it’s not quite as thick or warm as the Leatt windblock jersey but is a great compliment for milder temps. The main body is built using Rapha’s Performance Merino Off Road wool blend. The windproof and tear-resistant front panel helps increase durability and warmth. The sleeves are built with durable nylon fabric and do a good job fending off snags from grasping branches.
It’s been a while since I’ve applied any chamois cream or shaved my legs before the long road rides I used to love so much. Back then Rapha was just coming on the scene with expensive, yet stylish road kits that were worth talking about. In recent years they’ve been crossing over and we’re starting to see more offerings for mountain bikers, and if they keep cranking out stuff like their Trail Pants and Trail Jersey, we expect to see as much Rapha gear in the woods as we do on the road.
The pants are comfortable, fit well and offer a pretty basic, yet effective fit. Nothing too crazy, but nothing I really think needs to change either. They aren’t vented, which is great for winter riding, but if you’re looking for a pant with zippered vents or the ability to take it into other seasons, these may be a bit limiting. And for the price, that could be a drawback for some. Nevertheless, we like them and you’ll likely see them in plenty of bike review photos this winter.
Like the pants, Rapha’s Trail Windblock Jersey is a simple-looking unit that packs a punch, and not just to your wallet. The merino blend offers incredible comfort while the windproof treatment is just thick enough to take the edge off those cold wintery mornings. What’s great about this jersey is that it can easily be dressed up or down. Ride with just the jersey in milder temperatures for a comfortable jersey or stack it with a thin shell for the start of a ride or long descents. If it’s a really cold day, throw a base layer underneath the jersey for an added layer. Then with a jacket over the top, you’re dialed for some truly cold temps.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Honestly, our only real qualm with Rapha’s kit is the price tag, which, if you know Rapha, is something you’re used to. While we’re not sure we’d spend this much money on the kit ourselves, we have it now and will absolutely use it more in the future. As much as we like the Trail jersey, with options like Leatt’s AllMtn 5.0 jersey costing $79.99, we have to ask if the jersey is nearly twice as comfortable or warm, and we don’t think it is. Nevertheless, we understand there’s a certain image or cool-guy factor that you’re paying for and yes, merino wool is cool, but for the bargain shopper out there, you may find more affordable options that will perform when you need them to.
Perceived value aside, Rapha has done a very good job of creating a stylishly subdued kit that we enjoy riding in, does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and does it well.
Price: $180 – Trail Pant | $135 – Windblock Jersey