Rapha is starting its second year as clothing partner to Team Sky with an updated range and several new additions. Here are the highlights…
The Pro clothing is made to the same spec as the kit used by the Team Sky riders. We’ve shown you the Mesh Skinsuit as modelled by Tour de France winner Chris Froome; Rapha are using similar technology for the Mesh Jersey (£140) that’s due for release in the summer, although they're not releasing pics yet.
There will also be a Lightweight Gilet (£150, to be released in March) and two new glove designs.
These Pro Mesh Mitts have perforated leather palms but no padding, for those who prefer the slimline approach. Unusually, Rapha use two different materials for the wipes on the back of the thumbs, as recommended by Team Sky riders, apparently. The right glove has a towelling panel designed for the forehead, and the left glove uses brushed polyurethane for the nose and mouth. These are £50 a pair.
The Classic Mitts have padded goat leather palms with synthetic suede at the base. Rather than mesh, the backs are made from Lycra. These are £70.
The Replica products are lower-priced versions of the kit worn by the pros. The biggest changes here are the new design women’s jersey and shorts. The Women’s Replica Short Sleeve Jersey (above), for instance, is made from a breathable polyester with an anti-bacterial treatment. You get a soft, stretch fabric on the cuffs for a snug fit. It will be available from late January – so within the next couple of weeks – at £75. A men's version will be available too, of course, as will men's and women's replica bib shorts.
The Personalised Jersey option (£95) is back for 2014, allowing you to have your own surname and national flag added onto a Replica Jersey.
The Supporter range doesn’t include performance kit but rather, as the name suggests, products aimed at roadside fans of Team Sky.
The lineup includes new Sprinters Jeans (£170) and an updated Merino Hooded Top (£160), both available from February.
A cotton Team Sky Supporters T-shirt will be available from late January at £30. A blue stripe runs the length of the back and you get another stripe around the left arm in traditional Rapha style.
For more details on the entire range go to www.rapha.cc
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.