Race cut jersey and flexible bibs offer luxury and style
The Souplesse range from Rapha has been completely engineered for women, and is made of fabrics, designs, and colours all its own.
The collection sits at the premium end of the clothing store, with jerseys going for $210 and bibs for $320. Souplesse is French for suppleness or flexibility - and the Souplesse Jersey and Bib Shorts are made of soft, stretchy fabrics that cling to the skin, but also provide a lot of give.
The Souplesse Jersey is race cut. This means it is designed to be worn very fitted - tight even - for maximum aerodynamics. It means longer sleeves that finish closer to the elbow than the shoulder. And it means the fabric hugs the torso. The fabric is made of a soft proprietary blend of polyamide and elastane that feels sleek and smooth, as well as very stretchy. The front jersey panels are quite short at the bottom, and while this was great in the bent-over cycling position, at times it felt a little too short while walking around the café.
The Souplesse II jersey is designed for fairly warm weather and a few design features attest to this. Mesh side and back panels, thin fabric that dries quickly and breathes reasonably well, although in very warm (i.e. Aussie summer) weather, Rapha’s new Souplesse Lightweight jersey would be the better choice.
Like the Souplesse jersey, Souplesse bibs are made of soft, flexible material. Although it may look a bit like a compression fit, it is actually very stretchy and relatively lightweight. The bibs sport a few features besides the fabric that add to this feeling of invisible comfort: flatlock stitching, an award-winning chamois, and wide shoulders that are designed to accommodate a range of bust sizes without chafing. Aero silicone microdot leg grippers sit very flush and comfortably around the lower thigh, too, without creating much in the way of ‘sausage leg’.
Overall the Souplesse range offers luxury and stylish aero looks finished with really innovative fabrics. The soft, pliable Souplesse materials are quite unlike anything else on the market and worth considering for those looking for the ultimate in form-hugging comfort.