Through its various range extensions and collaborations, Rapha has a knack of surprising the cycling world now and again, and it’s done so once more with the launch of a four-strong range of bicycles, the Rapha Collection, to be made available over the next two years, produced in partnership with, as Rapha says, “four masters of framebuilding.”
Each of those partners, adds Rapha, “has been selected because of the mastery of their craft and passion for road cycling. With each partner we have created a model constructed uniquely for a particular style or purpose of riding: is four very different machines.”
It’s worth pointing out that three out of four of the bikes are put together in the US, and it’s not entirely clear whether the prices quoted include potential VAT and import duty (the fourth is by Cinelli and with Italy in the EU, customs tariffs aren’t an issue). Rapha tell us that import duty and VAT will be applicable to the US models which will bump the price up quite a lot were you thinking of buying one.
The ‘Every Day’ from Beloved
First, there’s the Beloved Every Day, which Rapha says is “more than a ‘commuter’ bike,” and is designed by Cycle Works Oregon in the West Coast cycling hotspot of Portland and built Chris King (yes that Chris King) or the Cycle Works Oregon.
The Beloved Every Day is sold as a complete bike, and as well as the Columbus SL frame, Spirit headtube and True Temper fork blades, the bike is finished off with:
Sturmey-Archer 5-speed internal rear hub with downtube shifters
Paul levers, cranks and custom-made chainring
Chris King Headset and front hub
Nitto ‘Priest’ Bar, aluminum stem and post
A Rapha emblazoned San Marco Regal saddle
Painted Berthoud fenders
MKS Sylvan road pedal with deep leather toe clip
This is the machine that is likely to raise most eyebrows with its reassuringly Raphaesque price tag, but there's no denying it truly is a thing of beauty, as Rapha's pictures show the detailing is superb - as you'd expect given the people involved in making it. Plus there is an argument that if you are going to spend a lot of money on a bike it should be one you ride every day, and the Every Day speedster looks to be just the format that most people could ride every day - wouldn't fancy locking it up outside Sainsburys though on the way home from work.
The complete bike costs $5,195 plus shipping ($115 US domestic, $230 Canada and $400 global FedEx). Estimated delivery is eight weeks from date of order and further details together with a link to the Beloved website can be found here. One final thought on pricing scale up the cost of a Chris King headset to a full bike and it probably comes to something like this price. Sizes range from 50cm through to 60cm in 2cm increments.
The ‘Continental’ from Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira
If you’re familiar with Rapha and its website, you’ve probably already come across the Rapha Continental section which highlights some of the epic rides North America has to offer in words, pictures and video.
Not only is the Continental a bike that is up to the rigours of those journeys, but it’s also put together by two men who have been involved with the project as builders and riders since the word go. Tony Pereira in particular is a highly respected US framebuilder one of the judges at the North American Handbuilt Bike Show.
It's billed as an all conditions, all day, long haul bike. Essentially then a fast tourer or audax bike without the rack mounts, or if you like something close to the sort of bike Merckx et al would have been riding in the late Sixties - his Colnago of that era in the Madonna del Ghisallo bike museum is not a million miles from this sort of set up - it even has a frame pump. And given that it is completely handbuilt you probably could get extra braze ons for a rack if you wanted them.
The frameset uses Zona and Spirit tubing from Columbus Steel and unlike the Beloved Every Day which is fully fillet brazed it features both lugs and fillet brazing, a nod to the personal preferences of each of the two builders.
Like the Every Day, this too comes only as a complete bike, and finished off with:
SRAM Force Drivetrain
Chris King Headset
FSA Seatpost, Handlebars and Stem
DT Swiss Wheels with Chris King Hubs
PDW Fenders w/Tektro long-reach brakes
F’zi:k Aliante Saddle
25mm Continental GP4000 tires
There will be two ordering periods a year for the bike, which costs $5,000 plus shipping, with 50 produced in each production run and a delivery time of 3.5-4 months from date of order.
Further details, including ordering dates and a link to Breadwinner Cycles who are supplying the bike, can be found here.
Independent Fabrication XS
Independent Fabrication have carved out a deserved reputation for combining high quality craftsmanship and the latest materials and technology in their bikes, the CX is no exception made from carbon fibre and lugged titanium 3/2.5 Ti for the front triangle and super-hard 6/4 for the rear dropouts. The bottom bracket and chainstays are also Ti while some cush is provided by the carbon seatstays, the top and down tubes are also carbon as is the Edge Composites front fork.
According to Rapha, “This bicycle has to be considered one of the best ever for any rider racing a sportive,” certainly the CX has a reputation for providing an ultra-plush ride without sacrificing performance.
Neat touches on this bike include Rapha detailing including the letter R etched into the lug at the top tube and an “inside story” painted inside the fork, similar to what you will find hidden away in the pockets of Rapha clothing.
To complete the bespoke frame, you can order Campagnolo Super Record, SRAM Red or Shimano DuraAce or Di2, while wheels are supplied from either Enve Composites or Mavic.
Delivery is 8-10 weeks from date of order, with frame and forks costing $6,795 plus shipping, and full details are available here. If you are buying this one as a frame and fork you won't have to worry about quite so much about import duty as it's considerably less on bike components - one of the reasons many complete bikes are actually imported in pieces.
Cinelli XCR Criterium Racer
We're big fans of Cinelli's XCR frameset in it's polished glory, here though it comes in Pearl White with some polished stainless steel exposed on the chainstay and dropouts as well as pink, black and grey race bandsThis frame and fork represents a collaboration between the two famed Italian businesses – component and frame-maker Cinelli, and next-door neighbour, Columbus, synonymous with some of the best steel tubing out there.
The frame and fork, which come in at €3,500 plus shipping, have a four month lead time from date of order and, according to Rapha, “are intended for the aggressive racer.”
Only 30 will be made because of the rarity of the Columbus XCR steel from which the frame and fork are constructed, and full details, including a link to order through the Cinelli website, can be found here.
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.