Road Rags launch merino bike clothing

New brand offer woollen clobber for wearing on and off the bike

by Mat Brett   November 28, 2012  

New London-based bike clothing company Road Rags are offering a range of men and women’s merino wool seamless garments all made in England.

The clothing is aimed at urban cyclists, the idea being that you can wear it on the bike and then keep it on in the office, out on the town or whatever – without looking like you’ve just stepped off the bike or smelling like a locker room.

We’re pretty sure that you’ll know about merino wool’s natural wicking properties that help keep you comfortable, and the fact that it’s naturally antibacterial so it doesn’t start to hum like many synthetic fabrics do as soon as you get the slightest bit sweaty.

The Hoxton is the simplest item in the range; it’s essentially a merino T-shirt/base layer with an extended tail and a double pocket back there. You get aerated underarm stitching and a ribbed crew neck. This one is £95.

The Smithfield, priced at £115, is long sleeved with a thumb hole retainer to make sure your wrists stay covered. The underarms are aerated and the rear is dropped, like they are on the Hoxton, and the neck is really high so you can cover up your chin and even your ears when it’s cold out. Obviously, you can roll it down out of the way when it's not.

The Shoreditch, worn in the main pic up top, is pretty similar to the Hoxton but for the off-centre neck zipper. It's priced at £130.

Road Rags offer women’s clothing too. These Holborn legging, for example, come with an integrated skirt for £90.

“In essence the clothing has been inspired by the needs of the commuter and the desire to look a little more stylish than many of the present offerings allow,” said Road Rags Director Vaughan Hobbs. “We cut and shape for the normal rather than the 'racing whippet'.”

Barely a week goes by these days without us hearing about a new line of clothing intended for use both on and off the bike. Hopefully that’s an indication of the growing popularity of cycling as a means of urban transport.

The postman should be delivering some of the products to road.cc shortly so we’ll let you know how we get on with them as soon as pos. In the meantime you can check out the full range at www.roadrags.cc.

40 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Is wearing cleats with toe clips on your pedals the latest in cycling 'cool'? Thinking

posted by MinardiM189 [31 posts]
28th November 2012 - 16:50

2 Likes

MinardiM189 wrote:
Is wearing cleats with toe clips on your pedals the latest in cycling 'cool'? Thinking

I had not noticed that till you mentioned it. Must be them new fangled SPD Quill pedals.

Nice looking kit and nice that it's made in the UK. The logo is a bit unsubtle though.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [273 posts]
28th November 2012 - 17:18

3 Likes

I'm struggling to find an equivalent product in the Velobici range, so let's highlight a few of the alternatives:

Torm.cc Baselayer - £28
Endura BaaBaa - £39.99
Vulpine Merino T-Shirt - £55
Rapha Merino Baselayer - £60
Vulpine Merino Button Jersey - £80
Rapha Merino Polo-Shirt - £110

Ugly RoadRag Hoxton thing - £95
Ugly RoadRag Hoxton thing + zip - £130

I stand by my "overpriced" comment.

posted by Mr Will [91 posts]
28th November 2012 - 17:23

2 Likes

Thumbs down from me I'm afraid, for the names of the garment, for the designs, for the labels and for the awful name.

It looks like the sort of shite spawned by a challenge for some gimps on The Apprentice.

posted by farrell [1564 posts]
28th November 2012 - 17:37

2 Likes

Mr Will wrote:
I'm struggling to find an equivalent product in the Velobici range, so let's highlight a few of the alternatives:

Torm.cc Baselayer - £28
Endura BaaBaa - £39.99
Vulpine Merino T-Shirt - £55
Rapha Merino Baselayer - £60
Vulpine Merino Button Jersey - £80
Rapha Merino Polo-Shirt - £110

Ugly RoadRag Hoxton thing - £95
Ugly RoadRag Hoxton thing + zip - £130

I stand by my "overpriced" comment.

You need to to struggle harder Mr Will
http://www.velobici.cc/firenze-pullover-anthracite-4317-p.asp

All those garments you list - the only one I'm not sure about is the Endura Baa BAA (and I'm still pretty sure) are made in China (or Vietnam in the case of the Torm) or other points in the Far East. Nothing wrong with that but would you willing to work for what a Chinese factory worker is paid or cheaper still someone in Vietnam?

Personally I'd go for the Velobici one

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4154 posts]
28th November 2012 - 18:05

2 Likes

No buyers then ? Plain Face

Sudor

posted by Sudor [183 posts]
28th November 2012 - 18:42

3 Likes

That top pic. Way too YMCA.

posted by fennesz [97 posts]
28th November 2012 - 19:57

2 Likes

Not cycling specific, but chocolate fish merino (daft name I know)is the best quality I've found and is still made in New Zealand (unlike Icebreaker).
Strange how they can ship it half way round the world and still be cheaper than stuff made in the UK. NZ is hardly the land of sweat shops.
I'm sure road rags have a very healthy mark up, to cover the cost of living in the metropolis.

posted by mikemorini [24 posts]
28th November 2012 - 20:04

2 Likes

Probably very nice, BUT.
Handwash (Merino wool), expensive, does what better ppriced technical base layers do anyway, and the logo thing.
If I'm paying £130 for a tarted up polo shirt, then you can keep the logo off, thanks. My £75 shirts don't bear logos. My £lots suits and overcoat don't carry logos. Because the makers know the quality and that you might just reference them to friends. If there's to be advertising cost price would be more appropriate, about £45 tops not £130.
It really does look like a "cash in" job on the back of the Rapha created market.

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
28th November 2012 - 22:59

2 Likes

If you don't like logos and labels, take a look at Rohan's clothing - the name is usually embroidered in the same colour as the fabric, very subtle. They have merino tops but they are not cycling specific (or particularly cheap)

posted by CarolineF [8 posts]
28th November 2012 - 23:38

2 Likes

Erm, 'hastily set up'? 'Quick buck'..?the time and effort required to set up a clothing brand (sourcing, design, production, marketing, web presence ) is huge, especially if you want to produce in the UK where there are few options (much much cheaper in the Far East obv). In the current economic climate I take my hat off to anyone willing to invest in a start up and the fact that its a cycling /casual brand shows how far the sport has come. If you think it's overpriced you might be right but the market will soon decide . In the meantime ...don't be a hater

Gstar's picture

posted by Gstar [12 posts]
29th November 2012 - 8:46

2 Likes

BBB wrote:
I haven't seen cycling specific pyjamas before Wink

Rolling On The Floor
You're on to somnething there - maybe they should add a Merino onesie to the range?

posted by chris75018 [100 posts]
29th November 2012 - 9:15

2 Likes

Another brand if you don't like logos and labels is Armadillo Merino. The garments are not cycling specific but are styled with raglan sleeves, with no labels on the inside and single fabric panels under the arms to avoid chaffing. The Elite garments use a cool new fabric made from a compact merino yarn so the fabric feels silky smooth and yet it's very hard wearing. Merino is expensive in comparison to the alternatives but even with merino you get what you pay for.

posted by AndyCap [1 posts]
29th November 2012 - 9:15

1 Like

Seriously the names given are so unbelievably naff nobody in Hoxton would be seen dead in them.

posted by belgravedave [213 posts]
29th November 2012 - 9:35

1 Like

Gstar wrote:
Erm, 'hastily set up'? 'Quick buck'..?the time and effort required to set up a clothing brand (sourcing, design, production, marketing, web presence ) is huge, especially if you want to produce in the UK where there are few options (much much cheaper in the Far East obv). In the current economic climate I take my hat off to anyone willing to invest in a start up and the fact that its a cycling /casual brand shows how far the sport has come. If you think it's overpriced you might be right but the market will soon decide . In the meantime ...don't be a hater

I'll assume that was directed at me, I notice however that you've chosen to omit the question mark that I placed after the comment, thus changing the context slightly - also, you've ignored the fact that that particular comment was more directed towards the £2300 50's Claud Butler bargain bin fixie with they're also selling, rather than the clothing - which I clearly stated I liked... with the exception of the price & the large, eye level, white on black, bold type, hideously cheesy logo which ruins the whole range in my estimation.

But don't let that get in the way of your "hater" speech, haters gonna hate, after all.

And as for "sourcing, design, production, marketing, web presence" - in other words, designing some stuff, getting it made & trying to sell it, if they had applied even an ounce of market research prior to manufacture, they'd have realized, like echoed in pretty much every comment above, that having an eye catching, contrasting, ugly logo on an allegedly subtle, versatile range is complete idiocy. A contradicion in terms if you will.

And i'm not a hater - just cynical, do you think any of the models used in the photos look as though they ride bikes? Do you think they've deliberately chosen "hipster" types in the marketing to try to appeal to a certain demographic? Would you drop £2300 on about £500 worth of randomly assembled bike parts?

Note the question marks this time - these mean it's a question, maybe even a rhetorical one, that you don't need to answer, not a statement of fact, or even necessarily opinion.

Just to clear that up for you, and for Road Rags - best of luck with the range, I like it, take that logo off it & you might just sell some.

Big Grin

posted by mcj78 [21 posts]
29th November 2012 - 10:16

1 Like

Interesting how if you put a UK type brand on clothing, the Brits will slate it. But if you put a french or italian name on clothing, cyclists will pay double the price just to get that continental look. No contradiction there, entirely logical....

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
29th November 2012 - 11:15

1 Like

Their bicycles are outrageously priced. I can't quite believe it. £2000 for a reconditioned fixie?! I'm actually offended. What kind of mug do they take me for?!

+1 on all the hideous logo comments, and their website is a design disaster too. As @mcj78 points out, it seems like this company has been created to cynically milk the new and expanding cycling market. I for one, will be avoiding and encouraging others to do likewise.

posted by Mr. Rossi [37 posts]
29th November 2012 - 11:16

0 Likes

As much as I dislike the brand and image, I don't actually think this is the case. I imagine that it has been set up by a bunch of 20-somethings who are designing the products they themselves want.

Sadly, they seem to lack the business sense to realise you can't just design your ideal product regardless of cost, add a mark up and expect it to sell. You need to start from what the market will bear and work backwards to the product.

posted by Mr Will [91 posts]
29th November 2012 - 12:17

1 Like

Made In England, something new and slightly different in appearance. I say good luck to them, especially at a time where starting a new business takes alot of guts and is a huge risk. Some of the comments on here really do make me sad that your so quick to slag them off before they have even launched. If it's not your cup of tea then so do we really need to know. Some of the comments on price also piss me off, the products clearly aren't aimed at you so why bother to comment. Yes i work in London, and yes i'm a hipster Cool

posted by Cervelo12 [78 posts]
29th November 2012 - 14:22

1 Like

bfslxo wrote:

... hate things only made for people who live and commute about 1/2 mile to work in London and not near 8 miles via town & country roads

That's just bilge. "It's not made for MY commute so it must be sh*t". Cycling snobbery of the highest order Yawn

hatchet harry's picture

posted by hatchet harry [13 posts]
29th November 2012 - 14:45

1 Like

hatchet harry wrote:
bfslxo wrote:

... hate things only made for people who live and commute about 1/2 mile to work in London and not near 8 miles via town & country roads

That's just bilge. "It's not made for MY commute so it must be sh*t". Cycling snobbery of the highest order Yawn

HH - a bit of an ott comeback there!!

i never said it was sh~t, in fact i actually quite like it and the logo doesn't bother me at all but it like many of the new brit brands are aimed at people who live in Metropolis cities rather than the larger commuter community at large therefore the big brand boys end up getting my bucks rather than the likes of this manufacturer otherwise my warerobe would be full of rapha & the likes

posted by bfslxo [128 posts]
29th November 2012 - 15:09

1 Like

bfslxo wrote:
hatchet harry wrote:
bfslxo wrote:

... hate things only made for people who live and commute about 1/2 mile to work in London and not near 8 miles via town & country roads

That's just bilge. "It's not made for MY commute so it must be sh*t". Cycling snobbery of the highest order Yawn

HH - a bit of an ott comeback there!!

i never said it was sh~t, in fact i actually quite like it and the logo doesn't bother me at all but it like many of the new brit brands are aimed at people who live in Metropolis cities rather than the larger commuter community at large therefore the big brand boys end up getting my bucks rather than the likes of this manufacturer otherwise my warerobe would be full of rapha & the likes

There is probably a very good reason for this, you probably require highly technical clothing for your commute, many start up's cannot afford the minimum's required to order this stuff or have the technical knowledge. merino is the easy foot in door. I'm guessing, anyone reading this work in cycling clothing shed any light? I suspect there is more merino out there than required with all these casual/city brands emerging but I still wish them all good luck and take off my Rapha cap to them.

posted by Cervelo12 [78 posts]
29th November 2012 - 15:34

1 Like

" it seems like this company has been created to cynically milk the new and expanding cycling market. I for one, will be avoiding and encouraging others to do likewise".

Really ?....by phone or email?....Prob best just to write in to the Dail Mail and spread the love

PS the 'we hate Hipsters/London/fixies' thing isnt nearly as egalitarian as you think

PPS "And i'm not a hater - just cynical, do you think any of the models used in the photos look as though they ride bikes"

Good point, but err..what do people who ride bikes 'look like' btw, i have never been able to tell....

Gstar's picture

posted by Gstar [12 posts]
29th November 2012 - 18:36

1 Like

Looking like a cyclist isn't half as bad as trying too hard not to look like one.

Ground Effect and Endura for me, thank you very much.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [188 posts]
29th November 2012 - 23:09

1 Like

It's just a new company. You don't *have* to buy their stuff.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3424 posts]
30th November 2012 - 8:44

1 Like

the prices on the bikes are eye-wateringly outrageous. bit confused by the inch pitch cotter crankset on a 'later period' claud butler.

they're quite late to the party though, a number of london fixie start-ups have attempted to capitalise on the high disposal income and low product of awareness of new cyclists with very expensive garments and even more expensive and shonkily reconditioned bikes.

their website seems like a carefully constructed parody, right down the arty shots of them riding four abreast by the barbican and the dead links to dead bike brands like witcomb - who incidentally got absolutely slated by online web forums when they increased frame prices substantially, but have since disappeared (sadly) off the face of the planet.

i don't wish them any ill and the merino stuff is ok, not cheap, heavily logoed, a bit meh, so not that different to a lot of merino.

I just can't see any justification, either financially, commercially, morally or in cycling terms, for the cost of their bikes. apart from I guess it's london, they do things differently there.

posted by pj [141 posts]
2nd December 2012 - 20:04

1 Like

I had the pleasure of having a look at some of the stuff in leadenhall market yesterday, and also a chat with one of their people (indeed it was the lady in pic 8). The quality is high, it's seamless, and it's lovely and soft, relatively discrete and will always be an appropriate / subtle colour and would normally potentially buy it. But the logo wasn't discrete enough for me.

There is also another 'supplier' to be aware of for merino baselayers - Uniqlo have 100% merino sweaters (including rollnecks) for £20, and they're long enough in the body which could have been a problem. Buying one size below normal, voila - quality merino baselayer at a fraction of cycling specific prices!

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [180 posts]
6th December 2012 - 11:18

1 Like

Have the good fortune to own some Road Rags clothing. Quality, soft, seamless with attention to detail. In my view high quality at the price this demands. It is made in the UK which I like. I try to buy British even if this means paying a little more. If we cannot buy our own products how will we get out of the crisis this country is in?
Wear my Road Rags for walking, running, yoga, cleaning out the drains in the floods!! oh and of course cycling. I love my Road Rags. Smile

posted by BJ [3 posts]
6th December 2012 - 15:52

1 Like

looks suspiciously like a post by someone who works for road rags.

definite emphasis on the 'good fortune' bit. Can't own it with anything less. 'small fortune' not enough.

i'm not sure buying road rags is the answer to the wider financial crisis. it might help the company out in their quest to renovate pokey old frames and pass them off as expensive steel bongo.

posted by pj [141 posts]
6th December 2012 - 20:01

2 Likes

I'm gonna start my own Cycling clothes label and make "merino" everything TV's, Microwaves, Cars everything and I will charge £1m for every item.

posted by joebee9870 [57 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 16:02

1 Like