Rapha to supply Team Sky's kit for next four years

London-based firm to provide full range of racewear, training kit and off-the-bike clothing - plus fans' collection too

by Simon_MacMichael   August 30, 2012  

Rapha logo on black.png

Sky Pro Cycling has announced that Rapha is to be Team Sky’s official clothing supplier for four years commencing January 2013.

The London-based firm will provide a full range of clothing and accessories for the team, including racewear, training kit, and clothing for riders while off the bike and for team staff.

Rapha will also be producing a selection of both cycle and casual clothing for supporters of the team, which has been supplied by German sportswear giant Adidas for the last three years.

“We are delighted that, after only eight years as a business, we have been chosen by Team Sky, the world’s number one team, as their partner,” commented Rapha’s founder and Chief Executive,  Simon Mottram. 

“We share their passion for performance and team ethic and are enthusiastic to inspire and engage a wider fan base around the globe.”

Sky’s Team Principal, Dave Brailsford, said: “Team Sky has achieved this year’s level of success because of a strong and steady vision to find improvement at every level to help our riders win. 

“I see Rapha joining us next year as another step in that direction. They share our ambition and vision for cycling.”

The Sky Pro Cycling collection will go on sale in January 2013 both through the Rapha website and through certain cycling retailers both in the UK and internationally.

Rapha of course is a brand that polarises attitudes not least because of the pricing of its ranges, and certainly some of the initial reaction we've seen from fans is summed up by a tweet from Gavin Murdock who asks whether anyone other than the pros will actually be able to afford the Team Sky kit?

While exclusivity has always been part of Rapha's brand strategy, supplying such a high profile team is something that takes them into the mainstream so it will be interesting to see how - and whether - they address that.

The existing Adidias kit certainly isn't the cheapest out there, although at around £65 the jerseys retail at a little under half the cost of a Rapha Condor Sharp jersey, available on the Rapha website for £140.

All Rapha will tell us for now is that "out of respect for the current sponsor" no further details will be revealed until January.
 

53 user comments

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Great for everybody involved! My only concern would be that if Rapha grows in popularity are they going to improve their stocking levels? A few times they've run out of things when I ve come round to wanting to place an order this year!

Andy Bell

posted by andyb56 [4 posts]
30th August 2012 - 13:13

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It will be interesting to see how Rapha copes with the demand as their stock levels at the start of a season are often very poor.

Also while I'm supportive of British business I don't think Rapha manufacture anything on these shores which wouldn't be so hard to stomach if they weren't charging such as high price and trading heavily on the British image. Before anyone says you can't produce stuff like this in the UK (as Rapha say) I'd point to Shutt whose shorts I own include a made in GB sticker and also for high end merino, John Smedley produce in the UK for a similar price tag and design standard (not bike stuff admittedly but I think the comparison stands).

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
30th August 2012 - 13:16

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I must admit that when Sky launched I was hoping that Rapha would be kit supplier (at the time I was a massive Rapha fan, bit more grounded these days). But since Sky has been in existence and you see the technical kit that Adidas have supplied I did come to realise that Rapha would not have been able to supply the same level of technical expertise.

I'm not talking about nice Sportwool replica kit for us mortals. I'm talking the highly technical garments that Sky sport. TdF skin suits for example. No offense to Rapha Condor but they aren't in the same league.

Obviously Dave B knows what he is doing. I am just surprised that Rapha are seen as being able to meet the technical challenges of Sky.

Unless of course the technology and manufacturing know how comes from Sky/Team GB and Rapha is "just" the brand?

Good luck to them, even though I have reservations about Rapha's elitism they are successful.

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posted by bikeandy61 [361 posts]
30th August 2012 - 13:21

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I look forward to seeing Wiggo and Froomedog grimacing in moody black and white while being Epic™.

posted by steff [81 posts]
30th August 2012 - 13:36

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A couple of points...

This might come as a shock to some but...Adidas isn’t made in Germany. So please don’t bring out the very tired ‘Rapha’s made in China’ cr4p. And while Rapha aren’t designing super high tech skinsuits (yet) the Pro Team jersey and bibs are very much in the league of the kit that Sky currently wear from Adidas. I’ve got a friend who has actual team issue, not off the back of a lorry second rate repro Sky kit and the Rapha Pro Team stuff is much nicer.

I’m a big Rapha fan and a big Sky fan so the two getting together is fine by me.

posted by iamelectron [93 posts]
30th August 2012 - 14:22

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bikeandy61 wrote:
I'm not talking about nice Sportwool replica kit for us mortals. I'm talking the highly technical garments that Sky sport. TdF skin suits for example. No offense to Rapha Condor but they aren't in the same league.

Despite the presence of the three adidas stripes (plus the Le Coq Sportif logo as supplier of the maillot jaune), the skinsuit Wiggins wore in the Tour is widely believed to have been made by Italian company Moa.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7480 posts]
30th August 2012 - 14:25

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Eh,I thought £16 for the Adidas made Sky race cap was a bit much, so I doubt I'm the target market.

Are Rapha still sponsoring the Condor-Sharp team in 2013, or does this deal impact that?

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

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posted by John_the_Monkey [413 posts]
30th August 2012 - 14:28

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Wearing Rapha and riding Pinarello, hmmm....does that mean they will only train in Richmond Park now?

Sorry, I jest slightly Wink

posted by Super Domestique [1506 posts]
30th August 2012 - 15:16

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Apart from the obvious price hike. What about all the tech that Adidas had put into the design of the kit, thats not going to be past over.

The other thing, Yes a British team in British supplier kit. But Rapha don't supply to the like's of Wiggle or Evans. So their prices will be even higher than before because they can use the "official kit supplier of Team Sky" on their tags and labels now Devil

I wouldn't be seen dead in a Team Sky item and my feeling about Rapha are worse than that. Good luck to them. But its going to price Sky's fans to other team kit or make the Chinese "replica" market even better Wink

As for JTL to Sky......doubtful Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [8139 posts]
30th August 2012 - 15:17

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stewieatb wrote:
kitkat wrote:
gazzaputt wrote:
kitkat wrote:
I'm really hoping they breakout the imagination and come up with something that isn't dull dull dull black, or wow, lets really jazz this up with a thin slash of colour

You need research as to why the current Sky kit is designed that way with the layout and colouring. Lot of R&D went into it.

I was thinking Rapha gear in general but also the Sky kit, i guess it's a perfect tie up in dull-ness

So you'd prefer the garish technicolor mess that is 80% of the kit design on the Pro Tour?

I did like Sky's green (Rainforest Rescue) kit though - I'd be highly approving of a move to that kit full time. Much more distinctive when you're watching the action too.

I would absolutely want them to wear something with a lot of colour about it. With a company that's supposed to be as stylish as Rapha i'm sure they have more than one crayon in the box.

For example, Garmin (ironically sponsered by Sharp) have a reasonalbe 2012 kit which i'd much rather see than Sky's dull black kit.

posted by kitkat [182 posts]
30th August 2012 - 15:27

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Their is no way I'd buy a Sky Team jersey - now it'll be in the same bracket as Assos gear. What's the difference between a £20 jersey & one that costs £65 ??? or more..

The only situation is fit and that is spurious !

posted by yenrod [88 posts]
30th August 2012 - 15:52

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Will have to be some pink on the jersey!

Pleased to see a British company involved. Both Sky and Rapha appear well managed so I reckon they have both done there sums. A bit pricy for me probably but good luck to all concerned.

Hope RCS is not a casualty though.

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [434 posts]
30th August 2012 - 16:45

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Better a fat middle aged man on a bike than in a car. Angry

posted by Chris Deacon [113 posts]
30th August 2012 - 20:22

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Very true. I recently saw a fat bloke in a polka dot jersey which might have been pushing it slightly though!

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
30th August 2012 - 23:19

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Sorry, I couldn't help it:

Team Sky Rapha

(apologies for the shonky photoshopping)

posted by ade [72 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:10

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I just tweeted that as an exclusive 'preview' - sorry, couldn't resist Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7480 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:21

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Funnily enough Garmin's kit was designed by Luke Scheybler, who was the co-founder of Rapha.

posted by thereandbackagain [151 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:29

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Hasn't Cav's best bud Paul Smith collaborated with Rapha a few times over the years? Could be something he's involved with and would bring some colour in to the equation!

posted by Pedals [40 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:49

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
I just tweeted that as an exclusive 'preview' - sorry, couldn't resist Wink

You do know this is how rumours start, right?! Turning up as a 'serious' preview on another part of the web in 5-4-3-2...

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
31st August 2012 - 12:24

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Here's hoping Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7480 posts]
31st August 2012 - 12:46

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Ace!

posted by ade [72 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:35

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carbon337 wrote:
It will get all chavvy now then, even more fat middle aged men will be wearing Rapha. Now is time to find a new brand.

Who will step up to the plate?

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posted by Large_Pista [47 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:41

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OMG I just saw a fat (ish) middle aged man riding a carbon bike near Richmond Park in what looked like a black jersey with a solo white stripe on the arm. Don't worry though folks he got done by a bin lorry turning left. Must have upset the cycle gods, that'll learn him won't it.

posted by Martbo23 [11 posts]
31st August 2012 - 16:43

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
bikeandy61 wrote:
I'm not talking about nice Sportwool replica kit for us mortals. I'm talking the highly technical garments that Sky sport. TdF skin suits for example. No offense to Rapha Condor but they aren't in the same league.

Despite the presence of the three adidas stripes (plus the Le Coq Sportif logo as supplier of the maillot jaune), the skinsuit Wiggins wore in the Tour is widely believed to have been made by Italian company Moa.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Adidas didn't produce any of the kit. Whether that's true or not, I can't say (bit of a pointless comment then! Big Grin )

On a separate note, it's a shame that Sky carried on being supplied by Pinarello - it would have been great to see them on Condor bikes.

posted by armchaircyclist [10 posts]
31st August 2012 - 16:45

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stewieatb wrote:
kitkat wrote:
gazzaputt wrote:
kitkat wrote:
I'm really hoping they breakout the imagination and come up with something that isn't dull dull dull black, or wow, lets really jazz this up with a thin slash of colour

You need research as to why the current Sky kit is designed that way with the layout and colouring. Lot of R&D went into it.

I was thinking Rapha gear in general but also the Sky kit, i guess it's a perfect tie up in dull-ness

So you'd prefer the garish technicolor mess that is 80% of the kit design on the Pro Tour?

I did like Sky's green (Rainforest Rescue) kit though - I'd be highly approving of a move to that kit full time. Much more distinctive when you're watching the action too.

Maybe you might find that Sky select the kit they want. Suppliers will put a full array of designs in front of them, but its the team management that select the final cut. I think dealing with Sky would be like having a high maintenance girlfriend !

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posted by dughs [10 posts]
31st August 2012 - 16:51

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So, let me get this straight, If I want to wear a bunch of adverts whilst cycling I have to pay someone a large amount of money! No thanks, that's the wrong way round.

posted by kie7077 [351 posts]
31st August 2012 - 20:19

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Be interested to see how Rapha proceed with this deal. I'm sure they will be more likely to meet Sky's needs than Adidas if football teams can't get bespoke shirts why would a cycling team? Sure Adidas will do R&D but I bet they don't allow Sky as much power as Rapha will.

As for the Rapha haters, I bought a jacket in the sale and it was delivered to work. I explained to a mate the stigma of Rapha (as displayed above), he was amazed and asked me "why the F@ck" another cyclist would care what I was wearing. Genuinely shocked him the people would have any opinion other than "not for me". Don't get it in any other sport he said, hard to argue against him.

Overpriced? Easy answer, don't buy it. Save your money for that carbon frame or third bike you want. Chances are though, you've already spent a ton of money on something else, hope you like it as much as I like my Rapha jacket.

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posted by daysofspeed [10 posts]
31st August 2012 - 23:44

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The Team JVA guys have just been handed some fresh material...

http://internationale.teamjva.com/

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [259 posts]
1st September 2012 - 12:12

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Just seen Rapha prices have gone up ... I bought 3 merino base layers last week as a 110quid bundle (usually 55 each). this week 140 quid bundle and 60quid each.
Other items I was looking at have also gone up 20 or 30 quid.

i'll stick to my assos

mmmmm is that a skyhike?

posted by Parlee-king [38 posts]
8th September 2012 - 11:50

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Can you imagine how happy the riders are? Not only are they getting what could be a really nice race kit but also quality off the bike stuff! And I'll be at the tour when they are handing out freebies Smile I'm not a great fan of SKY kit as I'm not a fat middle aged man that rides sportives as races, so buy this kit and beware! If you are in the Alpes around the time of the TDF, I WILL find you and I WILL come flying past you as fast as I can in my un-matching mix of hand-me-downs and eBay-bought kit. You have been warned Big Grin

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posted by liam.cahill1 [41 posts]
17th November 2012 - 12:20

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