Rapha have set themselves, and the cycling apparel industry, a high bar to beat in terms of garment quality, design and customer service. And their short sleeve tricolour jersey and Classic Bib Shorts II live up to and exceed these high expectations when it comes to the Rapha range.
IMAGES - JARROD MCSHANE
While it’s an easy opinion to have and easy to say “Rapha is too expensive for what it is” I’d have to argue that investing in a Rapha kit is worth every dollar.
Out of the postage bag, the first thing I always notice is the attention to detail these products have. The swing tag that is thoughtfully safety pinned rather than attached to the jersey, the invoice that comes in a durable envelope that you’re always hesitant to through away for some reason and finally the nice touch of the Chamois cream included.
Rapha Merino Tri Colour Jersey
Let me be upfront here, I LOVE navy blue… I have a whole outfit that I sometimes accidentally leave my house in where I have navy shoes, pants, jacket, hat and backpack. That is until I catch a glimpse of myself in a nearby shop window and double back to change.
The look of this jersey is understand and classic, it really is reminiscent of a simpler time in cycling before pro teams existed and riders were emblazoned with sponsors.
The merino wool in this jersey really adds a lot to the experience, keeping me warm and snug on those chilly mornings, I can wear it for a high tempo ride have it not stink when I take it off at home like so many other kits I own.
What Rapha does so well and far better than many other brand is pay attention to the 1 percenters, or details if you will. In the Tri Colour Jersey the technical fabric and look are great, and it is made just that bit better with an internal phone pocket and hole to run your phone’s headphone through, the zippered “hidden” pocket on the back of the jersey is another little flourish that while impractical to use while riding, adds a sense of security and comfort to storing your keys.
The zipper protector at the top of the neck make sure that when you’re fully zipped up on those cool morning, you won’t get a rubbing from the zipper.
Overall, this is a winning jersey. While the price is high for a kit, the quality will ensure it lasts and the ongoing comfort will ensure the initial painful transaction is quickly forgotten.
RRP - A$180 - available at www.rapha.cc
The Classic Bib Shorts II
For the last few years, a lot of people have been sensitive to the price point of Rapha, and understandably so as these bib shorts alone retail at 81.4 lattes, or $285 in the old money.
What’s important to remember though, is that these are an investment as they not only look and feel great, the wear and tear on these, even after prolonged use and washing, is minimal.
This soft nylon bib short fabric is something that demanded to be touched and stroked. I don’t mean that in a creepy way, they just have that premium feel that one would expect with a garment of this price point. As an added bonus they are a matte finish which I love when looking for subtlety.
The fit of the short is nice and long in the leg with the improved dimpled leg grippers making sure everything stays in place when riding. I have the added feature on my body of not shaving my thighs, so it was refreshed to find a pair of shorts that doesn’t grip and rip my leg hairs. On the point of the elasticated leg grippers though, I normally prefer something a bit wider, these ones measure at around an inch and I found that they leave some nice marks in my thighs after a while.
The flat lock stitching holding together the various panels along every seam adds to this all day comfort that Rapha spruik on their site.
The chamois is like a plush little cushion and contours to the shape of your body very well without spliting or riding. Staying at rear, a key pocket is tucked away in the small of the back for that added bit of storage. There isn’t a zipper or velcro closer on this, so it doesn’t cause any rubbing or chaffing with a jacket over the top.
Overall, a quality product that makes for an excellent first run at a Rapha purchase or as an add on to your extensive collection.
RRP: $285AUD - available at www.rapha.cc