Rapha has announced a new Mechanics collection of clothing that's designed specifically for the workshop, although it'll doutless be worn mostly as casual wear for general off-the-bike use.
There's a lot of fashion-focused workwear out there from the likes of Engineered Garments, for example, as well as more mainstream brands, and the Mechanics collection looks like Rapha's bikey equivalent.
"Informed by bike builders and mechanics from the EF Education First Pro Cycling, Focus, Genesis and Feather Cycles, we have researched the optimum pocket angles, reinforced stitching points and most useful tool loops for clothing that is fit for purpose," says Rapha.
"Most importantly, together we have determined which fabrics offer the most durability to create a collection that looks incredible and more than meets the demands of everyday use in the workshop."
We've been using a few of the items of clothing for several weeks. We don't review off-the-bike clothing but we'll give you our initial impressions down below. First, though, we'll run through the range...
These are made from a robust twill cotton fabric (2% elastane) and come in a loose cut. You get angled front pockets, enamel-coated rivets and a metal-zipped fly.
"We’ve lined the front pockets with ripstop cotton for added durability, while the two rear pockets are reinforced along the bottom and the top edge with the same ripstop fabric," says Rapha.
The left rear pocket features a 3D embroidered Rapha Pro Team logo and you get a tool divider on the right-hand side.
These are similar to the above but they come in the same cut as Rapha's existing Randonnée Trousers.
Whether you go for short sleeves or long sleeves, the T-shirts are designed to be loose-fitting and hard-wearing, made from 260gsm cotton.
Each comes with 3D embroidered Pro Team bars towards the bottom hem.
The relaxed-fit shirt is made from ripstop cotton (to stop any tears from spreading) and comes with snap fasters at the cuffs.
The chest pocket features a tool divider and is reinforced at both the top and the bottom.
The jeans are made from 12.75oz denim produced by US mill Cone.
"They have been given a rinse treatment for a softer worn-in feel and a loose fit allows for freedom of movement," says Rapha. "Through input from professional bike builders and mechanics, we have created angled front pockets which give easy access to tools and are lined with ripstop cotton to prevent damage."
Rapha's Pro Team logo is embroidered around the back, hidden by one of the pockets. The idea is that it'll gradually imprint on the outside of the pocket with wear.
The jacket is made from a heavyweight cotton twill with a little elastane (2%) to provide some stretch (like the Mechanics Trousers).
"We’ve taken input from lifelong mechanics to incorporate a number of workshop-specific features including three spacious pockets for tools, lined with ripstop cotton to guard against damage," says Rapha.
Each pocket is reinforced with enamel-coated rivets while the chest pocket includes a tool divider.
You also get snap fasteners at the cuffs, a zip with an oversized pull and an integrated hanger loop on the back.
Rapha sent us three of the items – the relaxed fit trousers, shirt and jacket – a few weeks ago so we've had plenty of time to use them.
The build quality is high throughout, as you'd probably expect from Rapha, and the fabrics used are hard-wearing, as promised. The shirt, for example, is a heavier weight than a typical office-type shirt – it's more of an overshirt.
The trousers are tough too, with rivets on the corners of the pockets so the stitching won't come undone if you ever catch them on anything, and the same is true of the jeans-style seams.
My favourite item is the jacket, which is a lot like a traditional French worker jacket in terms of cut. It's a similar weight too, making it good for a summer evening or spring/autumn daytime use, although there's no lining so it won't keep you warm when the temperature really drops.
As with the trousers, the pockets are riveted (they're proper rivets that go right through the fabric; they're not just for show).
None of these clothes is packed with features, they're no-nonsense workwear-style with a little Rapha twist to the appearance. All three that we've tried have washed well without any shrinkage, and we reckon they look better after a bit of wearing in.
All of these items, except the denim jeans, are available in various colours.
For more info 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.