Rapha Explore Zip Neck technical T-shirt review – versatile, lightweight gravel and adventure jersey

A great option for gravel and adventure riders looking for a blend of casual styling and high performance

Shot of the front of the Rapha Explore Zip Neck technical T-shirt
(Image: © Georgina Hinton)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Highly breathable and fast wicking with great aesthetics and a well-designed no-nonsense construction that excels in warmer weather.


  • +

    Very lightweight

  • +

    Super comfy

  • +

    Great styling and cut

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    Breathes and wicks well

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    Good for more than just warm weather


  • -

    Some may not like the longer sleeves

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Building on Rapha’s Gravel adventure range, the Explore Zip Neck Technical T-shirt (catchy name!) is a super lightweight, breathable, fast-wicking riding jersey for gravel and adventure riding. It’s a casual and cool looking design, which is no surprise since it has the Rapha tag. 

Shot from behind showing the sleeve design and high collar

The long sleeves and high neck offer great protection from the sun (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

Design and specifications

This jersey is designed with warm weather riding in mind. Made from lightweight 100 percent recycled polyester, the jersey is constructed with a fine perforated mesh material at the front which extended to the sides and under the arms. A softer lightweight material covers the back all of which gets a permanent zinc antibacterial treatment to help ward off nasty niffs.

Photo showing the half-zip at the front

That half-zip dumps excess heat in a jiffy – just be careful if you're more hirsute than me! (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

It’s a loose and casual cut with raglan sleeves to aid mobility and increase comfort and a three-quarter zip to dump heat. Flatlock stitching is used throughout for a seamless and chafe-free fit and the stitching is covered at the back of the neck to increase comfort. The rear collar is quite high and the arms longer than normal, both to help protect you from the sun. There’s also a useful hanging loop to help with drying and reflective print Rapha logos front and rear to help with visibility in low light.

Close up of the hand loop at the back of the jersey

There's a useful loop at the rear of the neck for hanging the jersey out to dry in the wild (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)


The Rapha’s Explore T-shirt and I have become fast friends, especially now that we’re actually getting some warmer weather. It’s a really easy jersey to like. It looks cool and well, acts cool. The fabric breathes really well, and wicks sweat quickly. When it did get really warm, or I was blowing up after a hard climb, the long 3/4 zip dumped heat well. The longer sleeves and rear neck added some much needed sun protection too.

Shot of one of the sleeves turned up.

Rolling up the hem of the arms creates a different look and they stay neatly in place (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)

It’s pretty slinky and super comfortable to wear. Hitting tech trails on my gravel bike the loose fit and raglan cut sleeves all aided movement, especially when out of the saddle. I will admit to not being a massive fan of the long sleeves – but they do add that little more protection from the sun.  A quick roll-up, however, enhanced the look and extended the tan line. Depending how sweaty you get, it can handle couple of rides without needing a wash, but I’ll see how far I can push it until the missus notices! 

Close up photo of motivational message inside the hem ‘Go until you’re lost’

Motivational message hidden inside the hem of the jersey – maybe remember your sat-nav would be better? (Image credit: Georgina Hinton)


A really well cut comfortable and highly breathable riding jersey for gravel and adventure riding that could lighten your load on your next bike packing trip. Try it on the XC bike or on your next big hike too. Just don’t call it a T-shirt!

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The lowdown: Rapha Explore Zip Neck technical T-shirt
FitExcellent loose fit, raglan cut aid movement but long sleeves may not be for all★★★★
ComfortReally comfy, especially in warm weather★★★★★
PerformanceBreathes and wicks really well, light but feels rugged★★★★★
Value for moneyQuite expensive for a shoer sleeve, but worth it★★★★

Tech specs: Rapha Explore Zip Neck Technical T-shirt

  • Price: $85 / £70 / €81
  • Colors: Dark Navy/Off-White, Olive Green/Deep Olive Green
  • Materials: 100% Polyester
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XLXL, XXL
James Blackwell
Freelance writer

James, aka Jimmer, is a two-wheeled fanatic who spent 20 years working on MBUK. Over that time he got to ride some amazing places, ride with the world's top pros and of course, test a lot of bikes and kit. Having ridden and tested everything from XC to DH, he now calls the trail/downcountry stable his happy place. Although a self-confessed race-a-phobe, it hasn’t stopped him racing XC, DH, Enduro, Marathon and the notorious Megavalanche.