There's no denying it, it's 'that' time of year when the temperature starts dropping and the evenings are drawing in. And just as I'm starting to dig some warmer clothing out of the wardrobe for the colder mornings, London-based clothing brand Rapha have revealed details of their new autumn/winter range.
What can you expect from Rapha this winter then? The highlights include an emphasis on proprietary fabrics, increased visibility and new colours with a bigger range of accessories and updated tops, shorts and base layers.
First up is the new Hardshell Jacket (£240), a brand new addition to Rapha's Training and Racing range. They've developed their own fabric which they claim offers “absolute protection against the elements” with a fully waterproof and windproof design. It's Rapha's first every fully waterproof jacket and uses a laminate membrane in the fabric, which was developed in Japan. The feature-set has been kept to a minimum so you just get three rear pockets, a full-length zip and reflective logos. Choose from navy, dark red and chartreuse colours.
Chartreuse is apparently the colour the eye can see at the lowest light levels. Various seams are taped with reflective material and the logo is reflective, so if it’s pitch black headlights would pick up these clearly.
The new Transfer Jacket (£190) is intended to be a warm insulating top to wear when you're travelling to a race or sportive, when you're waiting around in the car park before the start or packing the bike away in the car after a hard ride. Using a Primaloft ONE synthetic down, it's lightweight and has Thermoroubaix side panels/cuffs and two front pockets. It's compact enough to pack away into a back pocket. Available in early October and in two colours (black with pink detail / navy with chartreuse detail).
Based on the Winter Collar (one of my personal favourite Rapha items) the Deep Winter Collar (£40) is, as the name suggests, ready for the coldest of cold days. A heavier weight Merino is used and is has two sections, so it can easily be pulled over the face, and it's deeper at the front as well.
Rapha's base layers are among the company's most popular products and the new Winter Base Layer (£80) features a longer roll neck to stop chilly cold air sneaking inside. Combine with the Deep Winter Collar for the ultimate protection.
Another of Rapha's best-selling products is the Winter Jersey (£160). For the new season the rear pockets have been tweaked to make them more usable as well as increasing their capacity. Choose from a dark red with white detail or a new black.
The Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts have been updated with an improved fit, using the same Cytech chamois as the Classic Bibs. The fabric has been improved as well with a Thermoroubaix fleece lining and longer short length.
The new Deep Winter Hat (£50) is based on the Belgian-styled Knitted Hat. It's lined with soft merino wool with breathable side and rear panel, and a windproof and water-resistant front panel and peak. The eyewear arm loops are neat.
See any pro rider training during the winter and chances are they'll be wearing a hat very much like Rapha's new Merino Drawcord Hat (£30). It's a versatile garment, can be worn as a collar or hat, and the breathable and insulating fabric is available in three colours (black with pink stripe / chartreuse with black stripe / cream with candy stripe (Rapha-FOCUS version).
We know many people dislike wearing darker hues when cycling in the winter and to recognise this Rapha are taking an interest in visibility with their new range. So there are a couple of new garments designed to be highly visible during daytime riding and nocturnal training or commuting.
The Long Sleeve Brevet Jersey (£195) is long sleeve jersey made from Sportwool and it comes with a matching hi-vis pink Brevet Gilet. Intended for long-distance rides when you need the best visibility on the dark country roads, it also features hi-vis chestbands, armbands and large pockets for carrying plenty of food. The front of the jersey also has a zipped chest pocket for carrying a brevet card.
The distinctive Hi-Vis Gilet (£100) comes with hi-vis pink and large central reflective stripes that should ensure all other road users can see you. A durable fabric is used so it can withstand the toughest months of the year and it's windproof, so you could wear it over a long-sleeve roubaix top, for example. A DWR (durable water repellent) treatment should keep most of the rain off.
The Long Sleeve Pro Team Jersey is “designed for high-tempo training and racing” says the Rapha blurb. It's made from a high-stretch moisture wicking fabric exclusive to the company with a racey fit and low-cut collar. Seams are bonded and there's two colours available (black/cream and navy/chartreuse).
Rapha's women's range has been expanded, with new options and colours. There's a new Long Sleeve Base Layer (£65), a 100% merino wool top with flatlock seams and all the benefits (breathable, high drying) of the natural wool.
Rapha's celebration jerseys have always been well received and the latest special edition jersey Lombardia is named and styled in homage to the Giro di Lombardia, a classic season ending road race around Lake Como in Italy. Breton-style buttoned collar (three buttons on the left shoulder) are used instead of a zip opening and the red, orange and fig colours give a very autumnal 'falling leaves' feel which is very apt. It'll cost £160.
And that's not all, there's a new City Riding collection on its way too. Details as and when we get them.
All very exciting and we'll be getting a closer look at the new products soon. Rapha's online lookbook showcases the new clothing range and you can view it for yourself here. You can see the new range in detail at Rapha's website www.rapha.cc. Most of the new range will be available early October.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.