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The Clothesline: Six women’s summer kits put to the test

  • By Whitney Rogers and Rugile Kaladyte
  • Published Aug. 8, 2013
  • Updated Aug. 9, 2013 at 2:09 PM EST
The Rapha Souplesse jersey and women’s short ranked high when planning an all-day ride in the heat. Photo: Rugile Kaladyte | VeloNews.com

Rapha Souplesse jersey and women’s (standard) shorts

The lowdown: Great kit for a long, hot day on the bike
Pros: High-quality jersey; breathability and overall style
Cons: Jersey fit is very tight; zipper ripples; shorts a bit too long
Total price: $400
Jersey price: $195
Shorts price: $205

The Rapha Souplesse jersey and women’s short ranked high when planning an all-day ride in the heat. This kit caught our attention in terms of the fabrics used. The jersey features SPF 50+ protection, and the shorts are composed of durable stretch fabric.

Designed in London, the Souplesse jersey is a high-quality lightweight and breathable jersey. The streamline tailoring is evident, and the styled polka dot collar adds that extra touch of class that makes this jersey stand out from the rest. Rapha recommends customers go up a size in this jersey as it tends towards a race fit. We took their advice, but even a size up fit tight to the skin, almost like body paint; we strongly recommend trying this jersey on before purchasing. The fabric is thin and somewhat transparent, and as a result, performed great on the hottest of days. The front of the jersey could stand to be an inch or two longer; it rides up a bit, and needs to be pulled down every now and then.

The zipper is probably the Souplesse jersey’s worst feature. It ripples and struggles to lay flat when zipped up. The back outer pockets are functional, but the middle pocket is narrow, to accommodate the white contrast stripe. Fitting your usual cargo into this pocket was tricky, and sometimes impossible; the center pocket is the right size for a mini-pump, but not much more.

The Souplesse jersey is available in five sizes in the following color options: light blue (pictured), dark blue, and mauve.

The Women’s short was by far the most comfortable short tested. The high waistband features a front panel that is folded over, rather than stitched together, rendering a smooth crease point — ideal for those hours spent hunched over the bike. The Cytech chamois, designed specifically for women, is soft and has the perfect thickness, especially for longer rides. The women’s short was the longest pair of shorts we tested, and while style is subjective, we prefer a more feminine short- to mid-length cut. The long cut on the legs was especially odd given the short cut on the arms of the Souplesse jersey.

rapha.cc

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