The Rapha Trail Windblock jersey is the brand’s windproof winter riding jersey.
Although the brand is relatively new to the ATV market, it has so far impressed me with the products it has launched.
The high price of the Trail Windblock jersey worried me a bit at first, but I really like the idea of a jersey with windproof panels (I’m a huge fan of Gore’s WindStopper underwear).
Why should you care about winter jerseys like this? Well, layering is good, but in a sport as dynamic as mountain biking, where you’re hot one minute and then freezing the next, it’s never easy to do that layering well.
Being able to keep it simple and ditch the jacket (but keep it handy in case the skies open up) on colder days, leaving it to a thicker jersey to help keep you warm is a really appealing concept.
But how well do jerseys like Rapha’s Trail Windblock work?
Rapha Trail Windblock Jersey Details
Rapha uses their Performance Merino Off Road wool blend to build the main body of the Trail Windblock jersey. This is then paired with a windproof and tear-resistant panel on the front, designed to help keep the worst of the cold wind out.
To create the sleeves, Rapha used a durable nylon fabric that he claims to be snag resistant and hard wearing. This means that the sleeves don’t have quite the same soft feel against the skin as the body of the jersey.
The relatively deep cuffs, however, feature a softer, more elastic fabric, which is both comfortable against the skin and non-irritating.
As with the other products in its Trail line, Rapha includes a small repair kit to fix small tears at home and get you back on the trail quickly. Anything more serious can be handled through Rapha’s free repair service.
Rapha Trail Windblock jersey performance
How we tested the winter swimsuits
Winter jerseys like Rapha’s need to perform in a wide variety of conditions. That’s why I wore the Trail Windblock in a real mix of weather and temperature.
In order to have a good feeling of performance, I rode everything from cold and windy days to heavier days interspersed with occasional showers.
And of course, living in the UK also means that there were those days which included all four seasons, starting with the cold and getting wet before the sun finally rose and warmed things up.
I also tested the Trail Windblock against five other similar jerseys, overlapping them back to back to understand the pros and cons of each.
During testing I wore the same short sleeve base layer, although on milder days I gave that up and only wore the jerseys.
Also in test
The Rapha Trail Windblock Jersey’s price tag is unmistakable, with some great winter jerseys costing around half the price. But does that extra money earn you more in terms of performance?
Well, for starters, it’s important to note how well the Trail Windblock suited me.
At 172cm (5’8 ”), with a torso long compared to my legs, I had no coverage issues. There was plenty of arm length and more than enough across the body (thanks in part to the dropped back hem) to keep me covered when sitting on the bike.
While the fit is relaxed, it’s not as loose as some, meaning there’s no excess material floating around as speed (or wind) increases.
I also really like that it’s not too thick or heavy like some winter jerseys can be. While I was initially worried that this would limit the temperature range in which it would work, I was quickly proven wrong.
While you might not feel as warm in the Trail Windblock as some of the other jerseys, it heats up quickly as you move around and most importantly does a great job of keeping the cold outside.
The body-hugging collar helps keep drafts from getting inside the jersey, but isn’t too tight enough to make it restrictive or claustrophobic.
While the inside of the jersey’s main body is really soft to the touch, the sleeves are a bit louder and not instantly comfortable and warm.
However, the sleeve fabric is still comfortable when it’s directly against the skin, and on milder days, when you’re working really hard, doesn’t feel particularly clammy, as I first thought.
Its slimmer, almost jersey-like construction makes it ideal to wear on the balmy days, when full winter swimsuits are just too stuffy.
You can work hard in the Trail Windblock without melting which is a real plus.
If you get caught in a light downpour or ride on trails strewn with puddles, the Trail Windblock does a good job of keeping water out.
This is by no means a replacement for a waterproof jacket, but it certainly broadens the appeal and helps justify the hefty price tag.
Overall, the Rapha Trail Windblock jersey is very expensive, and it may be missing some of the extra details seen on its closest competitors (I’m thinking of the goggle wipes and inconspicuous pockets), but it still holds up. .
I’m a huge fan of how it works through a variety of temperatures without ever feeling like you’re about to melt one second or freeze the next. It’s no wonder I’m constantly looking for it when I hit the trails.
Rapha Trail Windblock bikini bottom
The Trail Windblock jersey is a great jersey for days when the weather is irregular.
I’ve been continually amazed at the temperature range it feels comfortable in and, given how light it is, how well it blocks out the cold.
I’m a huge fan of the cup and I love how it feels. It’s expensive and it lacks a few extra details that others are offering at a lower price, but it still works great.