Some people look at indoor training kits with disdain. Why buy brand new, turbo-specific kit when there are old shorts and jerseys at the back of your wardrobe? They might be threadbare or hole-ridden enough for you never to wear outdoors, but are likely functionally fine for a quick blast indoors.
After all, it is just a turbo session. No one will see it.
The question as to whether you do need indoor cycling-specific clothing has one which has been mulled by Cycling Weekly before.
But now and again, you stumble across a bit of kit which you find annoying – not because it’s terrible at its function – but because it’s so good at what it does and you wonder how you managed to get by without it. The Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt is such an item. If you’re looking for the best indoor cycling clothing, Rapha’s offering comes recommended.
This is for people who will be training through winter in their garage or home and require something which keeps things modest, but also keeps you comfortable, when on the turbo. It’s a simple training top – not quite a shirt and not quite a vest – with some very clever tech woven into its material to keep you on track.
If, however, you fancy something more akin to a cycling jersey, Le Col have their indoor training jersey, as well as indoor training shorts, plus dhb has its own version, too.
Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt: construction
The material boffins at Rapha have developed a training top that combines super quick sweat-wicking with lightweight polyester to keep you cool on the turbo. The arm holes have been constructed to give you the best feel for an ‘on-bike’ position, while some stretchy side-panels mean the Indoor Training T-Shirt is a slightly tighter fit than a regular tee but still looser than a base layer.
Rapha claims this helps strike the perfect balance between airflow and sweat absorption.
I must say that I found the party piece of the jersey not so much in its sweat-wicking capabilities but in its weight. It wasn’t just a flappy, thin piece of material there as a veil; it felt like it had a purpose on the body. It had some weight so that sweat would be wicked away, and it felt like you were wearing something.
Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt: the ride
While training on the turbo, I don’t want to worry about sweat getting into my eyes, so I wear a cap or a sweatband and my clothing often becomes too sticky and annoying. Happily, while wearing the Indoor Training T-Shirt, I didn’t feel like it was clung to me at any point.
I also ride with a Wahoo Kickr Headwind smart fan. Initially I wondered whether I might get too cold combining that fan with a jersey designed to keep me cool; however, this wasn’t the case. I found myself comfortable and, again due to the weight of the jersey, it didn’t flap about annoyingly in the fan-induced breeze.
As a jersey, it was comfortable and fit right over the shoulders and under the arms while slightly looser on the back and midriff.
Rapha Indoor Training T-Shirt: value and conclusion
At $52.00 / £38.00, Rapha’s Indoor Training T-Shirt is considerably cheaper than a jersey and, after my experiences training with it on the turbo, very much worth the price.
There are other options for indoor specific kit, such as Castelli’s Insider Jersey. This is significantly more expensive at $124.99 / £75.00 and has a much tighter fit. But on the other hand, it does include some handy full sized rear pockets and (whisper it) the jersey doubles up very nicely for riding in the height of summer, increasing its versatility. Just remember to wear suncream.
After washing and riding, its durability was found to be good, and it wears well, performing its job well. Rapha is known for having a higher price than a standard gym top. However, I feel that this is reasonably priced and well worth it. Plus, there are plenty of colour options to help match your kit.