A Useful Review – The Rapha Crew Neck Knit Jumper

Look, there’s no use denying that there is a subtext whenever discussing Rapha. They have a reputation as this snobby Euro-phile brand, ads filled with photos of grizzled riders jammed into tiny, mountainside cafes. The vibe just a bit cooler than most Americans should probably attempt. And the company is owned, in part, by the grandkids of the Walmart fortune, so there are socio-economic questions about the whole enterprise that I, frankly, don’t want to get into, but I felt I had to write this prelude, because it was in my head to be all the way honest with you.

Without trust, what do we have?

All of that aside, I want to say that they do make some good stuff. Those minimalist but elegant designs get married to some high quality fabrics, and the result is some pretty good clothing to put on your body. I try to focus my reviews on things I think are good value for your money, whether they cost a lot or not, and I do own one particular Rapha item that I think is tremendously good, so good I own it in two different colors.

It’s the Rapha Crew Neck Knit Jumper. I gotta tell you, it bothers me that they call it a jumper, and not just a sweatshirt, but I guess if you’re going to affect Euro-suaveness you have to be committed to the role. I was doing an event at the Rapha store in Seattle (long story), and I was pacing around nervously before it was my turn to regale the massive crowd few vaguely interested standers-by with my accrued wisdom. That’s when I saw the aforementioned garment and reached out to touch it, as one does in a clothing store.

Immediately I thought, “Oh no, I’m going to buy this.”

Here’s why I love it. The merino is warm and very breathable, and I know, I know. That’s what everyone says about every merino thing, but this is better than that. It’s MORE breathable. I wear it on the bike, and I wear it off the bike. It’s a great mid-layer for any activity, like dog walking or grocery shopping. It’s just so versatile that, while it costs $165 retail, I still think, if you’ve got that kind of disposable cash, it’s worth having.

I mean, it’s Rapha, so it looks sharp, but it doesn’t look SO Rapha, you know. It lives in their City Riding collection.

I have one in light grey and one in burgundy, because after I bought the first one, I loved it so much I tipped over into buying another one, and I wear one or the other multiple days of the week. I’ve had them both for 7 or 8 years, and they look new. They wear very well, and you can wash them without ruining them. If a slob like me can keep them going this long, someone, somewhere has done something right.

Join the conversation
  1. Barry Johnson says

    I have some higher end Rapha gear because my wife was very generous with a gift card one year however my go to items are their ‘budget’ clothes. Just works for me.

  2. TominAlbany says

    Will I be seeing any Rapha at Marshall’s? TJ Maxx?

    I thought not.

    But I believe I just said an awful lot about myself…

  3. schlem says

    Rapha is undeniably niiiiice kit. But, as a corn-fed Clydesdale, their idea of (X)XL is humiliating. I fancy a lovely wool jumper, but I checked the sizing chart. Even were my muffintop magickly liposuctioned away, Rapha would adamantly refuse to fit my frame. In French: “Non”.

  4. schlem says

    PS Pearl Izumi has real-world sizing.

  5. bhackathorne says

    I have had two of these since the furry kid customized one. It’s my favorite piece of kit during the fall/winter months.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More