It’s already been a busy year for Rapha, kicking the year off with the announcement of the Team Sky partnership thrusting them into the spotlight of the professional peloton. Today they’ve revealed details of their 2013 spring/summer racing and training range. Highlights include some bold new colours, an expanded women’s range and new hot weather clothing and all accompanied by some suitably 'epic' videos (scroll to the end for them).
With three new jerseys Rapha is marking the year, 1962, when trade teams returned to the Tour de France and roadcc's editor was born though that bit probably isn't part of the Rapha celebration - well, not officially at least. From 1930 until 1961 only national teams could compete in the race - in 1930 organisers even made riders compete using identical yellow bicycles supplied by them. In 1962 though the trade teams were allowed back in and that race Jacques Anquetil claimed the yellow jersey, with Joseph Planckaert and Raymond Poulidor second and third respectively.
These three Trade Team Jerseys (£110) celebrate each of these riders and their teams, Flandria & Planckaert (red and white), Mercier & Poulidor (yellow and purple) and St Raphaël & Anquetil (Light blue, white and red).
The three merino jerseys are finished with embroidered icons , drawcord hems and gripper elastic and three pockets.
There’s also matching caps as well for the complete look. They feature rider emblem graphics and are made from 100% cotton.
The new Hot Weather collection, clearly not designed with the UK summer in mind, is designed for the “hottest, most humid climates” proclaims the Rapha press release. Guess if you’re planning some nice trips abroad this year you might be interested, we can certainly imagine some of the demands from Team Sky will be kit that works in the hottest races. In this new collection are two items, the Lightweight Bib Shorts and Super Lightweight jersey. As their names suggest, they’re based on the regular Classic Bib Shorts and Lightweight jersey, but boast better breathability when the going gets, errm, hot.
The Super Lightweight jersey (£100) is made from a combination of three lightweight fabrics.
They reckon is a lot more breathable than the regular Lightweight jersey, and very good at wicking sweat. It’s going to be available in three colours, blue, red and white.
The Lightweight Bib Shorts (£140) that uses a much lighter weight fabric than the Classic bibs and the fabric has been treated with a sun-block finish giving up to Factor 50 protection. The mesh sections in the jersey lighter than before and there’s a larger cutaway at the back. Inside the shorts is a totally new chamois exclusive to Rapha. To prevent the pad getting soaked in sweat, it has a perforated construction, which also makes it lighter.
They’re finished with a left leg band available in red, blue or white.
To complete the Hot Collection there’s a new Lightweight cap. A quick drying poly cotton with stitched eyelets and available in blue, black and white.
There’s new offerings for women, as well as new colour options for the Wind Jacket (£170), purple and red, and a choice of purple, cream or grey and hi-vis pink Lightweight Jerseys (£110), they’ve introduced the all-new Soupless Jersey and Women’s Classic Bib Shorts.
The Souplesse Jersey (£125) has been designed from the outset to address the differences between men and women with a female-specific cut, including shorter sleeves and separate cuff fabric for a comfortable fit.
There’s two rear pockets and a central pump pocket, plus a zipped pocket. There’s contrast stripes and polka dot collar linings. Three colours to choose from, mauve, dark blue or light blue.
The same approach has been applied to the new Women’s Classic Bib Shorts (£150). The men’s Classic bib shorts are excellent and perfect for comfort on longer rides, and a similar approach has been applied to the women’s version. they have a fit designed specifically for women of course, with a soft mesh upper with a full-length zip front. The back panel is an open-knit mesh for maximum breathability and the lightweight fabric is extremely breathable.
The Women’s Classic Wind Jacket (£170), follows similar lines to the men’s version, with a windproof and water resistant fabric, but with a cut tailored for women. It’s available in Purple, Cream and Red.
We always expect Rapha to have something a little quirky up their merino sleeves, and this year it would seem the Polka Dot Silk Scarf (£50) is it - the polks dots are the quirky bit, the scarf itself is a hardy Rapha perennial - we reviewed it a few years back. It’s hand stitched in England from 100% silk, and the material has been treated to make it sweat and shower resistant.
There’s a new short sleeve women’s base layer (£60) as well, made from 100% merino, naturally, and with a female-specific cut. Available in light blue or grey marl, with a v-neck and flatlock seams.
The Women’s Grand Tour Gloves are a leather thing of beauty. Handcut from African Hair Sheep Leather, they’re stunningly beautiful as much as the price is eye-watering. Double-stitched in the areas prone to high wear to make them more durable. Choose from black or cream, available in March.
A new colour option is added to the Classic Wind Jacket (£170), their lightweight stowable windproof and water resistant top.
It’s now available in the same Chartreuse as the Hardshell we tested recently, and there’s an orange and black colours too. It still feature the same offset zip, long dropped tail and small zipped pocket.
The Classic Jersey (£130) has been Rapha’s best selling product and was one of the iconic jerseys, all black design with simple white arm band, that launched the brand eight years ago. It’s been constantly fettled and tweaked over the years, and many colour options have come and gone.
This year they’ve refined the fit even further and will offer it in two new colours (red and blue) with corresponding arm warmers and Rapha Caps to match. Details include large cargo pockets and a zipped valuables pocket, a fully lined zip with lockdown puller and is sold with arm warmers.
The Rapha Cap (£25) is now available in corresponding red and blue to match the Classic Jersey. A windproof and water resistance cotton construction protects the head while still being breathable, and it’s finished with a strip of anti-bacterial tape.
The Club jersey (£110) picks three heroes of the sport Tommy Godwin, Ramon Hoyos and Gastone Nencini for the three new colour options, fig, light blue and black respectively.
The Lightweight jersey (£110), a classic choice for riding anywhere hot and sunny, is now available in two new colours, fig and papyrus
The Pro Team range hasn’t been ignored, there’s the all-new Pro Team Race Cape. Rapha now get a lot of feedback from Team Sky and the Rapha Condor JLT team, and they’re channeling this into revised Pro Team garments. The Race Cape came out of just such a discussion, it uses a proprietary stretch fabric that is completely waterproof and claims to be breathable. It also interestingly eschews the usual off-set zip in favour of a simple centrally aligned zipper. It’s not due until mid-March, and will be sold in grey or blue.
The Pro Team Bib Shorts (£170) use a new Lyrca-based fabric that is proprietary to Rapha. It uses a coldblack technology to keep the heat off and are now available in high-vis pink and chartreuse.
You can pair those shorts with the updated Pro Team Jersey, now available in Grey/high-vis pink, Chartreuse/grey, White/azure, Black/chartreuse.
No word on pricing yet, they’ll be available in mid-March.
The Pro Team socks (£15) are now available in High-vis pink and Chartreuse.
And now for some video… a woman nearly smiles in the first one:
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.