This article originally appeared on Velo News
Cycling gear can get pretty specific in its intended use, whether it's a climbing bike or an aero helmet. Apparel is no exception, often made for specific temperature ranges or with varying fits for training versus racing. Rapha's latest jerseys bring even greater specificity to apparel with the Pro Team Crit Jersey and Pro Team Gravel Jersey which have each been made with a single type of racing in mind.
Pro Team Crit Jersey
Rapha calls the Pro Team Crit Jersey its most technical yet, developed to help L39ION of Los Angeles in the high-intensity, hour-long criterium races that make up much of the American racing calendar.
Because aerodynamics play a huge role in the speed of a jersey, Rapha says it turned to lessons learned making its time trial skin suits for creating the Crit Jersey. To cheat the wind, Rapha focused on both the fabrics and the cut of the jersey, placing seams where they interfere least with airflow.
The new jersey has no rear shoulder seam because this area is highly exposed to the wind. Rapha also says it has chosen aerodynamic textured fabrics that also contribute to cleaner airflow at the shoulders. Likewise, the British brand also chose seamless rear pockets with aerodynamics in mind.
The jersey has been made for warm weather, with lightweight fabrics and a low-collar both helping regulate temperature.
The men's version is available in three colorways, and the women's version in two colorways. Each style retails for $275.
Pro Team Gravel Jersey
Similar to the Pro Team Crit Jersey, the Pro Team Gravel Jersey has been created with a very specific use in mind, in this case, 100-plus-mile gravel races like last weekend’s Unbound Gravel.
Other brands have created gravel jerseys, but the extent of the specialization tends to be adding more pockets to a summer-weight jersey. Rapha’s take on this concept also involves a jersey made for the hotter temperatures often faced in gravel races, many of which take place in the summer, while also focusing on aerodynamics and comfortably carrying gear.
Similar to the Crit Jersey, the Gravel Jersey features an aerodynamic panel construction across the shoulders. Things change at the front of the jersey, which is more focused on breathability. Rapha uses lightweight, air-permeable fabrics on the front and under the arms for temperature regulation.
Facing long distances without support, gravel riders make full use of jersey pockets, but loaded pockets can weigh down a jersey. Therefore, Rapha has chosen a lightweight woven fabric for the back of the jersey to provide more support around the pockets. This material also protects from UV rays, a nice feature compared to many lightweight, warm-weather jerseys that require sunscreen beneath to avoid sunburns and the strange, mesh tan lines that accompany them.
Rapha says the choice of a 3/4 zip front, rather than a full zip, is to help keep loaded pockets stable, while not losing out on too much of the ventilation that is possible with a full zip.
The men's and women's versions both come in two colorways for $275 each. Both the Crit and Gravel jerseys are available now.
More info: rapha.cc
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