London-based cycling brand Rapha has kicked off its chillier-weather kit with a mini web site devoted to the new garments. There's a new rain jacket, arm and knee warmers as well as cosier socks in Merino blend and an addition to the skincare range.
Most likely the most significant item is the new City Rain Jacket which is styled with a more 'urban aesthetic' according to Rapha than its sporting equivalent the Rain Jacket. The designers claim the new garment works well with a Rapha Base Layer on warmer days, and a heavier jersey when it gets colder. The fabric is breathable keeping the rider comfortable and it comes with a waterproof bag to keep the wet jacket from damaging other items when packed. Key features are: waterproof fabric with fully-taped waterproof seams, highly breathable membrane, zip-away hi-vis storm tail, neoprene cuffs for warmth. Price £190.
New City Rain Jacket has sporty features which zip away but is otherwise as stylish as you'd hope.
'Candystripe livery' for Pro Team Cross Jersey
Described by Rapha as a "lightweight performance cycling jersey for elite-level cross racing," it couldn't really be worn by riders more elite than recent Rapha-Focus cyclo-cross team signings Julie Krasniak and Jeremy Powers, the only worry being as ever whether you feel you can live up to them. At £120, the choice will be made for most people but if repeated long-term wearings and washings are likely to be your thing, then Rapha certainly has a reputation for durability and there's no reason why this cannot be used for all kinds of riding as long as a skin-tight aero fit and lots of ventilation is what you want.
New Merino wool arm and knee-warmers
The new Merino blend arm warmers suit urban outfits as well as 'that' classic Rapha look.
Rapha already offer arm and knee warmers to go with the sportier shorts and jerseys but they're made from Roubaix material which, although as cosy as you like due to the pile lining, are still a bit too technical-looking to wear with more leisurely items of cycling apparel. Enter the new Merino wool arm and knee warmers which have a softer, more natural texture to wear with the urban garments; the Merino polo, for example. Rapha is claiming that the Merino blend transmits moisture as efficiently as the Roubaix technical fabric and an element of added Lycra maintains fit and durability. Merino Arm Warmers: £40, Merino Knee Warmers: £45
'Soothing shaving cream for the face and legs'
Last year you got Embrocation, Chamois Cream and Soap; now there's Shaving Cream as well which like its stablemates in the Rapha Skincare range is made from all-natural ingredients to pamper and sooth your skin; Juniper Berry, Cypress, Cistus, Pine needle, Lavender, Rosemary and Patchouli and all just in time for the Christmas gift-buying season. 150ml: £15
City Riding Socks in three colours
Made from a heavier yarn but the same Merino blend than Rapha's existing wool cycling socks, the City Riding Socks are designed for 'cool to cold' conditions and in colour options to suit wearing with urban cycling gear as well as your more Lycra-based legwear. £15 or £30 for a bundle of three.
Rapha Mobile Cycle Club coming to road.cc and you're all invited
Rapha is coming to see us at road.cc in Bath on Friday October 7th 2011. They're bringing the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club that they've been driving around Europe's big races all season and the idea was to show us all the new Autumn/Winter kit. However, as it's basically a coffee bar, we thought it would be nice to park it at the top of Bath's own version of the Kemmelberg, the dreaded Bannerdown* which is the old Roman Road heading NE towards Cirencester from Batheaston on the outskirts of Bath and entertain anyone who fancies riding up for a coffee. Rapha has promised a cap for everyone that makes it. Target time is 2pm and we'll be there for a couple of hours, hanging out and talking interlocked seams if you fancy joining us.
Rapha Mobile Cycle Club, Bannerdown Hill, Bath, Friday October 7th 2011 from 2pm-4pm
* Respect to the Kemmelberg; our Bannerdown has no cobbles at all which makes for a nice fast downhill back into Bath.