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Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt review – T-Shirts – Clothing

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt review – T-Shirts – Clothing

The latest introduction to Rapha’s Performance Trailwear includes this lightweight T-shirt, which is designed to be worn on warmer days in the saddle.

Rapha also makes a women’s version of this jersey, along with its Trail Fast & Light pants and shorts, also available in male and female-specific versions.

Yes, £60 is a lot of cash for a short-sleeved top, so is the new Trail Lightweight T-shirt from Rapha worth it?

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt construction details

The panels are joined with flatlock stitches.
Steve Behr / Our Media

Rapha offers the Trail Lightweight T-shirt in an impressive six sizes (XS-XXL). The fit is loose, but still tailored enough through the torso that it doesn’t look or feel as if it’s going to be flapping in the breeze as you ride.

The sleeves finish just above the elbow, while there’s enough length through the body that even when seated on the bike it’ll keep your lower back covered up nicely.

Rapha has constructed this lightweight jersey from a 90gsm polyester fabric, 68 per cent of which is recycled material.

The front, shoulder and sleeve panels use a honeycomb knit, which Rapha claims helps to increase airflow (it sits partially up away from the skin). It will also wick sweat away effectively and efficiently when you do get working hard.

The underarms and back panel are made from a completely smooth, ultra-soft fabric that’s equally light but doesn’t get the same honeycomb knit treatment.

An antibacterial treatment should help to keep any stale sweat smells at bay until you get the jersey into the wash.

All panels are joined with flatlock stitches, with the exception of the really low-profile neck, though this had no impact on comfort while riding.

While the price tag is quite high, Rapha does include a patch kit for repairing small snags and tears, which should boost longevity.

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt performance

The minimalist design is accompanied by some inspirational words.
Steve Behr / Our Media

The Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt is incredibly comfortable and feels extremely soft against the skin.

There’s enough give through the neck that it never felt restrictive, but not so much that it gapes while riding.

Sizing feels accurate and my size small fitted almost perfectly, with a good amount of length through the torso, but tailored enough that it wasn’t overly baggy and didn’t flap about while on the trail.

This is also a plus when wearing a pack, because the lack of excess material helps to avoid bunching under the pack or straps.

When you do get working hard, the Trail Lightweight T-shirt does a decent job of moving sweat away from the skin, but more importantly, it dries quickly after it’s had a soaking.

Even after long, sweaty days in the saddle, it’s never developed that unpleasant smell that some man-made fabrics can.

Due to how thin the fabric is, I found more often than not I’d need to pair this jersey with a cycling baselayer because it really is quite breezy otherwise.

On properly scorching days, this isn’t an issue, but for a good chunk of the UK summer, wearing it without something underneath isn’t an option. That does limit the appeal slightly, but it isn’t a deal breaker.

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt and how it compares

The closest competitors to the Trail Lightweight T-shirt I’ve worn are the Troy Lee Designs Skyline short-sleeve jersey (there’s a Skyline Air version available, too) and the Giro Roust. Both are relatively lightweight, comfy and cut in a very similar shape. The Trail Lightweight T-shirt is made from a thinner and lighter fabric, though, making it great for scorching hot days.

That said, if you live in a climate similar to the one I experience in the UK, thinner jerseys like this often need to be paired with a baselayer, otherwise they’re just a little too breezy.

In terms of pricing, Rapha’s offering is competitive to its rivals, and comes in a little cheaper than the TLD Skyline.

Rapha Trail Lightweight T-shirt bottom line

The T-shirt impressed on hot, sunny days.
Steve Behr / Our Media

Rapha has done a great job with the Trail Lightweight T-shirt. The shape and fit are spot on, while the lightweight fabric feels incredibly soft against the skin.

It’s light and breezy, making it ideal for warm summer rides, though you’ll want to pair it with a baselayer through early summer so you don’t get too chilly.

While it’s pricey, that price compares favourably to the best mountain bike jerseys and it’s a plus that it comes with a repair kit to help boost longevity.

I’m also a big fan of the subtle but distinctive Rapha styling and the colour.

Buy the Rapha Lightweight t-shirt from Rapha