Rapha have just released their Explore apparel range, which includes bib shorts with pockets, a technical t-shirt and a base layer. With this collection following the launch of the new Aussie Grit apparel brand, it appears that gravel clothing may be becoming a thing.
The Explore Cargo bib shorts are Rapha's first with pockets. There is storage on both legs and at the rear, meaning they will carry as much as a regular jersey. They're made with a lightweight water resistant material, and went through over a year of testing in various weather conditions before the finished product landed.
The collection also includes a technical t-shirt and polo, which has a looser fit than a jersey but is made with breathable fabrics - "a whole new option for long and short days in the saddle and out of it" say Rapha. The Explore Brevet base layer has a permanent super-antibacterial finish to the fabric to keep it fresh and prevent ponginess for longer, and was tested at ultra-distance races before its release.
You won't be surprised to hear the handsome gear also has some pretty handsome price tags: the shorts are priced at £195, the tee is £55, the polo is £70 and the base layer £60.
We've also caught wind of the new Aussie Grit Apparel brand, launched from scratch by Formula One driver and outdoor sports enthusiast Mark Webber. The Flint shorts (£149, pictured above) are described as an off-road garment but have features of both road and MTB shorts. The 'Anchor' waistband offers a close fit ans holds the inner and baggier outer section together, providing road comfort and off-road protection. Aussie Grit also have a jersey, gilet, shell jacket and beanie in their cycling collection.
Neither of these two brands are actually the first to market crossover clothing. Pedal ED claimed "the first specific gravel pant" back in 2016 with their Kyoto shorts, that have a bib short inner section and baggier exterior to give the best of both worlds: "the perfect match between aerodynamic needs and comfort during long rides", so say Pedal ED.
We'll be looking out to see if other brands follow suit with some sort of road and sort of off-road clothing - but after these latest releases, it appears that gravel clothing has arrived...
*UPDATE* We didn't have to wait long for our predictions to come true... Vulpine have just launched their Gravel short (see below), available to pre-order now for £70! "Our toughest and most versatile shorts yet, perfect for cruising down city streets or grabbing a beer at the pub", say Vulpine. Not exactly what we'd describe as gravel riding, but the name's there all the same...
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.