When the trails are calling and the weather is scorching, the Women’s Trail Lightweight Tank by Rapha is designed for those exact occasions. It has an unusual sleeve design that closely resembles a basketball vest but the impressive high-performance materials work a treat for temperature control, plus its price point is surprisingly average (for Rapha). It provides a cooler alternative to some of the best mountain bike jerseys.
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Rapha Women's Trail Lightweight Tank - Technical details
A new addition to Rapha’s mountain bike range, this uniquely tailored vest sits alongside the Women’s Trail Tank of the same value, the only difference being the sleeve design and more lightweight construction. A mesh design features from the chest down to allow air to flow through and wick sweat away, and the upper section is soft to the skin offering more protection from the elements. The tank is made from recycled polyester, and the quality is top-notch.
Rapha Women's Trail Lightweight Tank - Performance
While riding, the mesh design kept my body cool, and I never felt uncomfortable or clammy. The mesh is a little see-through but adds to the overall look. With its baggy fit, you can slip something else underneath if this is an issue.
I’ve been testing a small (UK 10), my usual size, but I go for the size up for some brands such as Rapha. Usually, Rapha is on the small side with its sizing, but this is definitely a bit larger. So if you want a roomier fit, I suggest your usual size. The vest is stretchy, so I didn't feel any restrictions. Rapha has done a great job of allowing extra space in the areas where you need more manoeuvrability. The vest has a long cut with a dropped hem. While riding, the vest did ride up a little, and I ended up tucking it inside my shorts. I imagine this would be slightly annoying if I had a backpack or a waist belt.
The sleeves are somewhere between a sleeveless vest style and a t-shirt. Wearing it, there's more of a capped sleeve design than a definite sleeveless approach. The extra shoulder coverage gives a little more sun shielding thanks to the UV protection in the fabric. The cuffs are wide with larger-than-average armholes and will work well if you want to wear some upper body pads. The boat neckline allows the top to sit a little lower and is handy when you want as much air flowing through as possible.
Small intricate features include the reflective brand logo on the front for low light and the cool little tag stitched into the hem that says, ‘Earn your turns.' This is something I’ve always liked about this brand - bonus points for being unique. I have a few garments from Rapha, and I always enjoy searching for hidden places where a motivational saying or story may lurk.
Rapha Women's Trail Lightweight Tank - Verdict
At £50, this is steep for what you get, but average when talking about a brand such as Rapha. You pay the price for top-quality materials and design, and this vest is no exception. Its unique style and tasteful colourway options stand out from the crowd. Researching alternative vest options for mountain biking, there are not many, although, for the same price, the Troy Lee Designs' Luxe Tank Top offers similar characteristics such as mesh panelling, a drop tail, and wicking fabric. For £20 less is Fox Racing’s Ranger Drirelease Tank with moisture-wicking and sustainable materials.
I like this vest. It offers excellent quality, design and features. The downside is that it’s very thin for off-road use and, with one scrape against a tree or an over-the-bars moment, I fear the tank will quickly become tatty. We also don’t get enough scorching weather but it is an excellent choice for mountain bikers who like the freedom of a baggy vest and are loyal to the Rapha brand.