Rugged waterproof and windproof jacket for winter cycling
The Rapha Hardshell Jacket has been designed for total protection in the harshest conditions. It is waterproof and windproof and is made from a new fabric developed in Japan exclusively for Rapha. The fabric has a breathable, laminate membrane, so it will perform on high-intensity training rides and slower-paced spins.
The Rapha Hardshell is a more stripped-back jacket than the Classic Softshell with emphasis on absolute protection against the elements. With a utilitarian design and cutting-edge fabric the Hardshell is the ultimate winter workhorse.
For wet, windy and cold conditions when a robust outer layer is crucial.
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I'll go straight to what I was most impressed by on this jacket: the fabric. It's like the hardshell of many technical adventure jackets but extremely breathable. It's a matt finish with a waxy coating - like a Barbour - that turns your body into a metaphorical ducks back; water just runs off it. The good thing about this fabric is that it's not like the water repellency that many fabrics are treated with to keep you dry for light showers, it is impermeable to water.
Rapha jackets come with a reputation for peerless style – and this is an example of why. Once we’d finished admiring ourselves in the mirror and gone out to get this jacket filthy, it became apparent that the substance isn’t lacking either – good news indeed for a waterproof at this price.
Once you've managed to tear yourself away from your own reflection, the Hardshell performs just as well out on the road. Its nylon outer shell is impermeable to both wind and rain; while the polyester inner lends warmth and comfort. Unlike the four other jackets in this article, the Hardshell only needs one layer underneath to keep you cozy during winter rides.