For a long time I didn’t even contemplate purchasing Rapha cycling kit, I knew I couldn’t afford anything so I simply didn’t tempt myself. I choose to mock those in the kit instead, poke fun at the stereotype ‘Rapha’ cyclist in a similar way the mock website did that popped up a year or so ago.
Truth be told I was jealous and wanted to own some kit, see what the fuss was, even just to see if the money was worth it?
It was the Rapha sample sale where I had the opportunity to make my first Rapha purchases, Pro Team thermal bib shorts and a Rapha Pro Team Jacket. I knew these two items would get the most use and would be usable (give or take) all year round.
I can still remember my first ride on the Pro Team bib shorts, it’s a horrendous metaphor but I stand by it to this day.
Riding Pro Team bib shorts is the closest you’re going to get to riding a Unicorn. Fact.
The fit, fabric, chamios, attention to detail was all absolutely bang on. The quality of the kit makes a huge difference when on the bike, particularly in the fit and chamios. To this day I’ve not had any bibs come close to the comfort of the the Rapha bib shorts so it’s safe to say the money is without a doubt worth it.
For the Trans Continental Race I was fortunate enough to get hold of a set of light weight bibs and jersey. Given the potential temperatures during the race it was in my best interest to get some kit that would perform in warmer conditions, the Rapha lightweight bibs and jersey were an ideal option for the heat I’d experience further south east into Europe.
^Image taken from Rapha.co.uk
I was already familiar with the comfort due to my first purchase so I had no concern about fit, it was the only choice in my opinion. The weight of the fabric for the lightweight bibs is much thinner then that of the pro team bibs, same goes for the jersey, this adds more ventilation and keeps body temperature down in the hotter/humid conditions.
^Just to give an idea of how thin the fabric is.
The style and branding is all in line with Rapha’s usual concept, subtle yet distinctive, a white band on the left thigh with ‘Rapha’ printed across. The beauty of this is it’s easily matched with bike or other jersey’s.
The gripper on the legs is slightly different to that of the pro team bibs, 3 adjacent thin strips preventing bunching or movement of either thigh.
One of the benefits of the lightweight kit is it’s ability to dry fast. Whilst passing through Italy, I was caught out in the rain quite a few times, one thing I noticed was the kit dried almost immediately, even the chamios seemed to dry quickly when soaked which was a huge bonus on the Trans Continental Race.
^Image taken from Rapha.co.uk
Rapha isn’t cheap no, but like the FYXO saying “life is too short to ride shit bikes” and I believe the same concept should be applied to kit, Life’s too short to ride shit kit.
It took me a while to commit but once I did I havent regret it once. It’s only when I’m wearing other branded kit that I notice how incredible the Rapha kit is.
See for your self and let me know your thoughts. I can assure you won’t be disappointed!