Rapha’s new Commuter jacket has been getting a lot of use lately. My take? There’s nothing like the smug feeling of staying dry in a downpour to keep you warm while you’re riding in the winter. And the bright orange helps too.
It also comes in yellow, bright pink, and black, and all of them feature a reflective dot print on the rear for visibility. When paired with a beanie, I’m told that the orange makes me look like I’m about to audition for the next season of Deadliest Catch, but I’m ok with that. The black certainly looks cool, but the brighter colours are more functional for city riding in poor conditions. They’re a nice halfway house for those of us who want to be seen while in traffic, but who are two vain to wear one of those horrific safety bibs. And the jacket’s cut and understated detailing is stylish enough to get away with it.
Speaking of the cut, it isn’t as extreme as a proper roadie rain cape, and for anyone commuting stretched-out in the drops, it could be slightly longer in the tail to provide more protection, but it’s definitely made with riding in mind, with longer sleeves and stretchy cuffs that provide plenty of mobility and cover while you’re on the go. The sizing is generous, so it might be worth considering going down one if you don’t plan on wearing it with layers. As is, it works well with other clothing and definitely isn’t something I’d only use with the bike. The next time I go hiking, this will be coming with me.
According to Rapha, it’s made with a “hydrophobic membrane.” It’s waterproof, basically. The seams are sealed and the zip is waterproof, running off centre for a classically Rapha look. The hood is roomy and can be stored away under a nice little reflective strap, but I’m not sure how much I’d use that given the jacket’s main function is to keep me dry when it’s lashing rain. There’s also some concealed mesh on the back of the shoulders with venting that helps keep things comfortable. And the inside of the fabric is soft to the touch, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a bin liner. Overall, it’s about as comfortable as a fully waterproof jacket is going to be.
At $135/€120, this just about classifies as a bargain these days. For context, for the same money you could get four pairs of “aero” socks, or a third of a pair of Assos T.campionissimo shorts. There are cheaper raincoats, obviously, but not from a brand like Rapha. Everything bike-related seems to get more expensive each year, and it’s cool to see a major brand go the other way for once. Rapha deserve credit for making a reasonably-priced product that doesn’t feel like the poor relative of the one you really wanted.