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Rapha tease release of Explore shoes, expanded women's range, Paul Smith Ltd edition kit and more this year

A little glimpse at what you can expect from Rapha this year

Rapha has ‘teased’ some of its forthcoming product releases by emailing us some details and pictures, which includes new shoes, women’s bib shorts, more affordable Cargo Core bib shorts, more commuter clobber a collaboration with Paul Smith and much more.

Let’s start with the new shoes because that’s the most interesting and exciting new development, and we’ve had a sneak at them being raced in Australia this month. Rapha has done shoes before but partnered with Giro, but this new Explore shoe as it’s to be called appears to be a ground-up redesign.

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Rapha has been using the Explore tag for adventurey/bikepacking products, and it says the new shoes are designed for everything from endurance cycling to riding off-road trails, as well as pro racing obviously. We don’t have any details to go on, but we can see they have combined laces with a velcro strap. We are told the shoes feature a spacious toe box, snug heel and a carbon fibre sole which is protected to provide durability.

Rapha reckons they are the “world’s most comfortable road shoe” but we’ll be the judge of that when we get to try a pair. Price is anyone’s guess but somewhere in the region of £200-300 would be ours.


Onto other new clothing, and Rapha is expanding its women’s cycling short range with three new offerings featuring padded inserts tailored to meet different riding requirements. The new shorts borrow features from other items so expect cargo pockets and the self-centering magnetic clasp from the Souplesse Race shorts.

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The Cargo bib shorts and bib tights have, despite some mocking on social media, proved to be surprisingly useful both for off-road riding and long winter training rides or bikepacking/Audax/touring capers. The only downer was the high price tag, but that will be amended by the new Core Cargo Bib Shorts, Core being the name for Rapha’s line of reasonably priced clothing.

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Rapha has always provided a good range of clothing and products for city commuting cyclists, and for 2019 it will launch a new Commuter Backpack. It’s designed to be tough and durable to withstand daily commuting, has a semi-rigid construction and an entirely reflective base to help you stand out on the road.

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No new Rapha announcement would be complete without some limited edition designs that dig deep into the history books of cycle racing and some special collaborations, and this year will be no different.

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Meet the cheetah will honour US champion and Olympic medallist Nelson Vails, there’s the return of Paul Smith with a special RCC x Paul Smith collection that imagines what a team sponsored by the famous designer in the 1960s would look like, and perhaps controversially Marco Pantani’s success in the Giro-Tour double in 1998 will be celebrated with a new jersey.

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And lastly, there’s a new Brevet Insulated Gilet which “celebrates the spirit of adventure fostered” by adventure and bikepacking races like the TCR and many others.

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That's all for now, stay tuned for more product news from Rapha soon.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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