The Rapha Cycling Club on London's Clerkenwell Road may have closed its doors for the last time this year, but before it did, we popped along to have a sneak preview at what's in store from the brand in the months ahead.
Split into five broad areas, the range keeps many old favourites, with products updated with new colourways and features, but also there are a number of exciting new products that are sure to tempt Rapha fans old and new alike.
Below, we highlight just a few of the key additions to the ranges, some of which will be available to buy from early September onwards.
Rapha has expanded its City Riding range for Autumn/Winter 2010, built around products that it says are "as durable and functional as racing clothing and that is also protective and highly functional."
One of the new products that generated most buzz on the evening was Rapha's first ever pair of jeans, pictured below, and although they won't be available until January, they're likely to be worth the wait… as ever though, they won't be cheap.
The jeans have been in development for two years and utilise a nylon and Cordura weave that Rapha claims causes less abrasion in the saddle area than you find with standard jeans.
The fabric is quick to dry and stain resistant, as well as being high stretch, essential for anyone who is out and about on a bike, and the jeans have been cut specifically for riding - the back is a bit higher than you'd find on a normal pair of jeans and the rear pocket is designed to take a D-lock.
The bottom of the leg has a reflective strip on the inside, and this being Rapha, branding is both subtle and functional - a high-vis pink piping on the inside of the seam, together with a reflective piping with the Rapha name, both visible when the trouser leg is rolled up. Both features look great as well as being practical, and could win converts from the bicycle clips or tuck into the socks brigades.
At £150, they're not cheap, but if you spend as much time wearing jeans and in the saddle as we do, you'll know that there's a trade off between cost and durability - if, like us, you've gone through a few pairs of Gap jeans over the years as they've worn away at the contact point, it's tempting to invest that bit more for something specifically designed for the job.
Improving visibility of the cyclist is a key theme across all the products in the City Riding range, using Rapha's signature pink - a colour that Rapha founder Simon Mottram says the company is keen to "own," including when it comes to safety - whether through reversible tabs, drop tail features or button on patches. The latter is shown here on the deep red merino jersey, available early September with a price tag of £95.
Another key theme of the City Riding range is products that look smart off the bike as well as on it. Pictured below, teamed with Rapha's £50 silk scarf, is the long-sleeved merino polo shirt, released in early October and costing £90. Other products adhering to that smart-but-practical ethos include softshell trousers that will be available in two lengths from early October and retail at £180.
Rapha + Paul Smith
We've flagged up the forthcoming Rapha + Paul Smith collaboration before, and the first set of products in the range - there'll be more in the Spring - don't disappoint when you see them up close. While the signature colour is purple, the range borrows the high-vis pink employed in the City Riding range.
The merino jersey shown below will be available in black and, of course, purple, and comes in at £150. Like all products in the range with the exception of the softshell jacket, which comes in the same colourways and will be released in early November, the merino jersey will be available from early October.
Here, it's teamed with the £50 silk scarf, which together with some of the other items in the range carries the motto "The freedom of the open road," a key theme behind the range. Also available in the range will be a gentleman's cap, leather town gloves and an essentials case, priced respectively at £45, £120 and £40.
Racing and Training
Rapha has updated its racing and training range following customer feedback, as well as introducing new products such as the team issue winter jersey, shown below, which will be on sale from early October at a price of £150 and which will also be available on non-team issue in cream and black.
Although we don't as yet have pictures, two of the key new product groups within the Training and Riding range revolve around deep winter riding and cyclo-cross.
Products grouped under the former heading are designed to withstand the rigours of harsh winters on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States or Japan, and will therefore be able to withstand the worst that a British winter throws at you. Products include deep winter tights and winter gloves, while Rapha's standard winter jersey now has increased windproofing.
Cyclo-cross clothing and accessories for Autumn/Winter 2010 come in black with a candy stripe pink, red and blue accent that is based on Rapha Condor Sharp team manager John Herety's Co-op kit from the 1980s. Available from early September, the jersey costs £130 while the 3/4 bib shorts are £160.
Rapha's Women's Collection was very well received when it was launched earlier this year, and four new products join the line-up for Autumn/Winter 2010, all with a female-specific cut and available from early September.
Those are a black softshell jacket, shown below and retailing at £240, a long sleeve jersey costing £130 that comes in black, blue and cream, 3/4 black bib shorts that have a price tag of £160, and a logo t-shirt, which costs £30.
Rapha Performance Skincare
The fifth and final element of the Autumn/Winter 2010 range is Rapha's first ever range of performance skincare, that incorporate a unique fragrance that the company says is inspired by the plants and herbs that grow on the slopes - well, the lower ones at least - of Mont Ventoux.
Coming in glossy black metal tins that wouldn't look out of place in the perfumery and cosmetics departments of the most high-end department store, packaging highlights the legendary mountain and its place in cycling history.
Initially, three products will be launched in September - chamois cream, winter embrocation and soap - respectively costing £15, £20 and £10 - and they will be joined next Spring by further products including shaving cream, which Rapha says will be equally suitable for legs or face.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.