Rapha Bumps Gabba

After surviving that super cell squall yesterday, can confirm the Rapha Classic Winter Jacket has bumped the much-used Gabba out of rotation.

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Rapha Classic Winter Jacket Front
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Rapha Classic Winter Jacket Rear

If the Rapha had front pockets, it would also replace the best-ever Exteondo jacket.

Label from the best softshell cycling jacket ever made

A photo posted by Byron (@bikehugger) on

It’s the Polartec fabric, cut, and a DWR finish that made the jacket the best ever. And, I don’t mean for long slogs with a team in the wet (it doesn’t breathe well enough for that), but the commute, riding solo, about town, and just generally living and riding a bike in the Pacific Northwest.

Rapha Winter Coat
It’s very much like the Extoendo

Mark V had chatted me up for months about the Exteondo and then one day found it on eBay and won the auction. True Playas know about that jacket, but you’ll likely never find one.

If you see one, get it!

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The Exteondo in the closet.

Exteondo is a Spanish brand and landed here in the States in via Orbea. Like Assos, the importer changed ownership every few months, and the product never saturated the market. It’s there for people that know how good the gear was and is.

But fret not, because Rapha, as they’ve done with other classics, has pretty much brought the Exteondo back without the front pockets. At the same time, displacing the Gabba in my rainy-season rotation. The Gabba was and still is great. It set a new bar for technical jackets, but being made by Castelli it never fit me right.

Also, in certain conditions when it wetted out and then a strong wind came up, it could very cold. On the nastiest days, I carry an emergency shell for such eventualities.

That Price

Rapha Winter Coat
Out for a ride last weekend.

Is the Classic Winter Jacket worth $385? Yes, if you’re putting that much time on the bike in the winter. However, as I’ve written about for years, there’s much value in gear these days and from house brands like the Novara Verita.

You can also layer up and risk sweating out and creating a clammy microclimate…. if you stick with what you got, maybe spend a little of the $400 on something else, like a few of our tees?

Just note that jackets like the ones mentioned in this post depend on a liner. For a primer on those, see this article in our magazine about base layers.

What makes Rapha’s jacket so good is it’s woven to enhance the breathability of a softshell, with the same rain protection as a hardshell. I’m wearing it with an 18.5-micron wool liner like this one from Ibex.

And, ready for whatever the weather throws at us next weekend.