THIS week I have been putting one of the new products from Rapha’s Cross Collection to the test - it’s just a shame to get it dirty...

The Northern Echo: Rapha Cross Collection

What is it? Rapha was founded in London in the early 2000s and has gained a reputation for producing quality cycling apparel at a price. The Cross Collection was released ahead of this year’s cyclocross season and includes jerseys for riding and racing off-road in both mild and cold temperatures, a cap, socks, snood, shoes and scarf.

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The collection is inspired by Jeremy Powers isn’t it? Yes, Jeremy Powers is a US pro cyclist with an impressive list of triumphs to his name. He was US Cyclocross National Champion in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and Pan American Champion.

Rapha’s Cross Collection takes inspiration from his 2012 Cyclocross National Championship kit. I tested the long sleeve race jersey, which is based on the Pro Team Aero Jersey, the fastest jersey Rapha say they have ever made.

What’s it made from? It’s constructed from 86 per cent polyester and 14 per cent elastane, an elastic polyurethane material used for close-fitting garments.

What are its main features? The jersey consists of high-stretch, high-wicking performance fabric and is very snug, something Rapha says is ideally suited to the demands of cyclocross. And while you would hope to spend most of the time on your bike, it’s also designed for when you are not, featuring a shoulder pad for support and comfort when you have to pick it up and run. It also has low-profile pockets to avoid snagging on pedals.

It’s going to get dirty isnt it? It it doesn’t you’re not trying hard enough. Quizzed on how easy the top is to clean, Rapha say: “When riding in rainy conditions the road will throw up all types of elements from mud, to traces of oil, the latter which can be difficult to remove. Oil and this type of post riding dirt can be removed in some but not all circumstances if a garment is handwashed directly after a ride if the traces of dirt/oil (are) still fresh, but like any other garment, it can subject to being stained by extrinsic elements if riding in unfavourable conditions.”

Did you spot the legend? Yes, if you examine the top closely you’ll find some interesting words of encouragement on the inside of one of the pockets, should you need them.

How much is it and where can I find out more? It’s not cheap at £140, but the quality is obvious. For more details visit www.pages.rapha.cc/feature/the-cross-collection