Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review: super svelte cycling top

Stay cool with this fairweather cycling jersey that oozes style while stopping you from overheating

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is a cleverly designed cycle top perfect for fending off hot and humid weather conditions. The storage options are less plentiful than some jerseys, but it's worth putting up with, thanks to its lightweight feel.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Minimalist design

  • +

    Great for hot weather

  • +

    Good range of colours

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not much storage

  • -

    Zip can be fiddly

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Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review in a sentence: Lightweight and breathable for warmer conditions.

I’m always on the lookout for any interesting new cycle wear, and as you’ll see from our best cycling jersey guide, the options in this area are many and varied. Now though, there’s another top that you can add to your wants list, and I’ve already committed to the charms of this; the Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey.

Rapha brand is well-respected and the go-to option for many two-wheel enthusiasts. I can see why, having been getting acquainted with the Core Lightweight Jersey. This is a really nicely designed and very well-made cycle jersey that comes in a range of colours and is aimed at anyone looking to stay cool in warmer conditions.

(First reviewed June 2023)

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review:pPrice and availability

You can buy the Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey from the Rapha website right now. My review example was finished in a very good on the eyes Olive Green material, with white contrasting flourishes. However, Rapha sells the jersey in no less than eight different colour combinations. Sizes are less plentiful, with XS, L and XXL listed on the site currently. The price for the shirt is £75/ $75 (approx. AU$ 142).

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey

(Image credit: Future)

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review: design and fit

I was lucky when choosing the size for the Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey sample I got sent, as it happened to fit like a glove. However, I can imagine this might not be the case for everyone because the top is designed to be snug, but there’s every chance it could end up being tight, especially with the slightly limited sizes that are currently available. I love the feel of the jersey – it is really lightweight and airy – just what you want if you’re biking mid-heatwave.

I’m not quite so keen on the front zipper, as it is a little fiddly to do up and undo again. Anyone with larger fingers might find it even more challenging. The upside to this is the way that it keeps the slimline stance working perfectly, with no large protuberances ruining the svelte styling.

Another aspect that isn’t too hot either is the lack of storage options with places to keep your stuff at an absolute minimum. If you’re out for a short period of time, this isn’t really an issue, but any day riders will probably want some better options for their essentials.

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey

(Image credit: Future)

It's easy to overlook those minor points, though, and the proof is in the wearing. The Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is a great item to put on if you’re looking to travel light and don’t want any fussy clothing interfering with your ride.

The Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is super lightweight in feel too. In fact, it’s so unobtrusive it can be taken off and stored just about anywhere if you need to get rid of it for a while. Equally, when you pop it out again, the choice of materials and overall construction means it looks just as good as the first time you took it out of the bag.

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey

(Image credit: Future)

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey: Performance

As mentioned above, I’ve been less enamoured with the storage capabilities of the Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey, but it more than makes up for that in the look-and-feel department. This is a great top to slip on and head out in seconds, simply because it’s so lightweight. The sleeves are quite a short mind, which, if you’ve got big upper arms, might be less appealing as they can tend to ride up a little.

Aside from that and the slightly finicky small zipper, the jersey feels great when it's on. You can zip it up right to the top or keep things low for even better air circulation. The styling is eye-catching, too, with more than a couple of people passing comments on how good it looked in the Olive Green shade I have, which is topped with some white flourishes plus the Rapha lettering.

The material is very lightweight, but it also feels quite durable, which is good news if you’re spending a reasonable amount of money on a garment.

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey

(Image credit: Future)

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey review: verdict

The Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is an excellent value cycling top, and it also scores highly with others who’ve been seduced by its charms, judging by the overwhelming number of positive reviews on the Rapha website. There are compromises with the design of this jersey, such as the lack of storage, and I find the zipper a little fiddly to get started. Nevertheless, there’s no quibbling with the quality here and, all things considered, I’d say the Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is a must-have accessory for summer rides.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital, he has run the Innovation channel for a few years at Microsoft, as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of Stuff, TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working, he's usually out and about on one of the numerous e-bikes in his collection.