Since its establishment in 2004, Rapha clothing has had quite an impact on cycling fashion with its plain aesthetic featuring a single trademark strip on the left sleeve and hot pink accents.
Founder Simon Mottram first leapt into cycling clothing because he felt the cycling kit market was dominated by loud kits plastered with gaudy logos, and garments were cut for only those with a 'pro' build, a physique that vast majority of riders don't possess.
The brand's first product was the Classic Jersey featuring a more relaxed fit, muted colours and a merino wool blend. From there the brand's range of cycling clothing, casual clothing and accessories have increased tenfold. They've also launched a worldwide cycling club complete with clubhouses, hosted a series of events and sponsored both the EF Pro Cycling and Canyon-SRAM pro teams. Rapha also offers free garment repairs and a jersey downsize program, offering discounts if you lose weight from training.
Rapha has never been shy about being a premium brand, and in all fairness, their gear stands up to plenty of abuse, just don't be shocked by the hefty price tag.
In 2017 Rapha was acquired by RZC, and investment firm run by the Walton family who also owns Walmart.
Rapha clothing you can buy today
Rapha Pro Team Long Sleeve Thermal Jersey - Colourburn
Long sleeve jersey for high intensity winter training rides
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Pro | Price: £150 / $205 / AU$260
Made from slightly thicker fabric than the Pro Team Long Sleeve Aero Jersey that's brushed on the inside, the Colourburn Thermal top is fleecy on the skin and provides the right amount of warmth for high-intensity riding.
With the Pro Team/Souplesse moniker, this jersey is a race fit and is designed not to flap in the wind or bunch up at the joints, it also features a rear pocket layout that sits completely flat when empty. Rapha has also removed all the seams from the front of the jersey, moving the bonded shoulder seams down towards the shoulder blades. Coming in six faded colourways there is a Vislon zip backed by a full-length placket and reflective accents throughout to aid visibility.
High tech waterproof jacket that packs down to the size of a tube
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Pro | Price: £220/ $295 / AU$385
At some point, you're going to get caught out in a biblical downpour and a solid rain cape will keep you as comfortable as possible. Rapha's Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket is made from the membrane masters' ShakeDry material and moves the waterproof membrane to the outside, getting rid of the DWR treated face fabric — the layer that wets out and becomes saturated on other waterproof jackets.
With no outer fabric to soak through, there is no chilling effect and the garment can be lighter and pack down smaller. All the seams are sealed to prevent rain from sneaking through and the hem, cuffs and collars are elasticated to keep the water on the outside.
Rapha Winter Gloves
Perfect for rides at temps around freezing — if you can afford them
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: N/A | Price: £80 / $110 / AU$140
Fleece-lined, water-resistant and lightly insulated, Rapha's Winter Gloves are designed to keep your hands comfortable even in temps hovering around freezing. The suede palms are abrasion resistant and feature gel padding to relieve pressure and help you maintain grip — the fingertips also play nice with touchscreens too.
At the top, there is a low profile knitted merino cuff which slides under your jacket without too much bulk, and an oversized pull makes them easy to slip on. Rapha has also added reflective logos on the back of the hand and the pinky for improved visibility while signalling.
Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II
Rapha's best selling bibs, new and improved
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £170 / $235 / AU$295
A good pair of shorts can make all the difference in your comfort on the road and if you're in the market for a solid set of bibs, you can't go wrong with the updated version of the Classic bib shorts.
The original version was the brand's best-selling pair of shorts, and Rapha has only made minor tweaks for the second iteration. The most noticeable difference is the new chamois which comes in three sizes and is used to tailor the contoured padding through each size. The bulk of the shorts are made from high-stretch, soft-on-the-skin lycra, and the soft mesh braces feature a sizable cut out over the spine to aid in breathability. All the seams are flatlock stitch and the lower hem sees silicone grippers to prevent them from riding up.
Rapha Cargo Winter Tights With Pad
Pockets, pockets and more pockets
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £240 / $325 / AU$410
Mountain bikers have been using cargo bibs for some time so they can carry spares, tools and food without needing to take a backpack. While road jerseys have always had pockets, for the packrats among us (this writer included), it was hard to stuff everything in — especially on gravel rides.
The Cargo winter tights are made from a DWR treated, fleece-backed fabric and feature two pockets on the outer thigh and lower back. The pockets on the right side are made from mesh for quick access and those on the left are zippered and water-resistant. Rapha as also added reflective stripes on the rear of the calves for maximum low light visibility.
Rapha Brevet Insulated Gilet
Perfect for keeping your core warm on a long blustery day on the bike
Gender: Women | Fit: Pro | Price: £195 / $270 / AU$340
Changeable weather conditions come with the territory when riding in autumn, winter or even spring and the Brevet Insulated Gilet is designed to keep you warm and toasty regardless of climate. The vest is lightly insulated with Polartec Alpha insulation which, for its weight, holds a surprising amount of loft for warmth but also breathes to help you thermoregulate.
The exterior of the gilet is DRW treated and the insulation is hydrophobic, keeping its warmth even when wet. There is also a two-way zip, allowing you to dump heat after a hard effort. Available in three colours, the strips across the front and back of the vest are reflective for added visibility.
Rapha Classic Jersey II
Rapha's best jersey to date
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £110 / $150 / AU$195
Updating the product that arguably built the foundation of a brand is no small task, which is probably why it took Rapha 12-years to overhaul the Classic Jersey. The second version features an improved fit, longer sleeves, shorter length and all of the seams are bonded rather than stitched which, they claim, saves weight.
Rapha has also updated the fabric to a new Merino blend called RMP150 —(Rapha Performance Merino, 150g per square meter.) According to Rapha, this unique fabric is lighter, softer and more breathable than generic merino blends and amplifies merino’s "cool when it's hot, warm when it's cold" characteristics.
Rapha Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts
It's like a dropper post for bib shorts
Gender: Women | Fit: Pro | Price: £195 / $270 / AU$340
When nature calls, bib shorts are inherently inconvenient for lady shredders, because there is no way to get them off without first taking off your jersey. So Rapha aimed to solve the problem with its detachable bib shorts.
Utilizing a magnetic clasp at the bottom of the mesh braces which can be released with one hand, the bibs can be undone during a quick pit stop without first having to strip off layers. The magnetic clasp is made from injection moulded plastic for long term durability, and it's attached to a robust grosgrain fabric that's bonded to the mesh. Rapha then puts an extra section of material under the buckle to prevent rubbing or chaffing. Beyond the clasp, the Souplease Detachable bibs feature a women's specific dual-density chamois, flatlock seams and softer fabric said to balance comfort and compression.
Rapha Pro Team/Souplesse Base Layer
Open mesh, highly wicking against the skin layer
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £45 / $65 / AU$80
A base layer is designed to wick sweat off your skin, and can help your body thermoregulate and prevent that gross, 'my jersey is a sopping mess, and it's stuck to me' feeling.
Rapha's Pro Team Base has just been updated with a new open mesh fabric that's said to be lighter, stretchier and more breathable. Bonded and flatlock seams are used throughout, and the textiles also get anti-bacterial and wicking treatments to keep the fabric from becoming funky. Rapha makes the Pro Team base in Mens' and Womens' cuts, with and without sleeves.
High performance shoe with hyper-stiff sole and woven upper
Gender: Unisex | Fit: As expected per size | Price: £260 / $355 / AU$450 / €310
Rapha has long had shoes in its range, but they were usually based around an existing Giro shoe, with the British outfit adding design elements to the upper. Rapha since took design in-house with the Classic shoe, and then turned up the heat with the latest Pro Team Powerweave shoes.
The shoes are relatively narrow in shape, so might not be for those with wider feet, but, for our tech team at least, they were perfectly comfortable straight out of the box. You get modular adjustable arch support, too, so for those of us with flat feet, there's no need to shell out for extra insoles.
They're certainly not winter cycling shoes but they don't fail at keeping your toes cosy on those chilly winter mornings. They're also not waterproof, and they don't claim to be, yet despite the British weather doing its best to ruin the electric purple aesthetic of our sample pair, the DWR coating has kept them looking box-fresh and beautiful.
They are hyper stiff, easily adjustable with the BOA dials, and feature a pressure-dispersing tongue, which is thicker and doesn't conform to the foot shape quite as much when pulling up in the pedal stroke.
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Shadow Jacket
Rain busting yet breathable jacket
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Pro | Price: £195 / $270 / AU$340
Rapha's Shadow range is the brand's take on the wildly successful Gabba Jersey. Instead of using a multi-layer laminated fabric, Rapha has opted to use stretch woven yarns that are dipped in DWR and then treated again after the fibres are woven into a fabric. Most of the time DWR only creates a temporary moisture barrier, however, in our experience the Shadow kit keeps the elements out almost as well as a fully waterproof garment for an extended period of time in the pouring rain. The advantage of not using a laminated fabric is the breathability of the garment isn't compromised, that said DWR treatments fade over time and need to be refreshed or retreated semi-regularly.
The is cut to a race fit but features plenty of built-in stretch, a two-way zipper, and elasticated closures at the cuff. Rapha has also cut down on the bulk of the Shadow gear, and it will now fit into a pocket.
Rapha Indoor Training Tank
Minimal sleeveless top for hot indoor training sessions
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £35 / $50 / AU$65
The idea of indoor specific cycling clothing might seem a little ludicrous, however as the likes of Zwift and TrainerRoad becomes ever more popular people are able to justify investing in a dedicated kit for training.
Indoor cycling garments prioritise breathability and moisture-wicking efficiency over aero and storage. The Rapha Indoor Training Tank uses a lightweight fabric with a gradient knit structure to help pull moisture away from the skin. Cut slightly looser than a base layer it features stretch panels, a long back and bike-specific-shaped armholes to assure a good fit in a riding position.
Rapha Cargo Shorts
Pocket convenience on the turbo trainer
Gender: Men and Women | Fit: Regular | Price: £95 / $130 / AU$165
Rapha's Cargo short is not an indoor-specific piece of clothing, however, that doesn't mean it won't serve you well on indoor training sessions. Without the shoulder straps of bib shorts, waist cut shorts limit the amount of fabric touching skin to help reduce heat build-up.
Pockets may seem like an odd feature for indoor training, but with many indoor-specific jerseys doing away with rear pockets to help maximise breathability around the lower back, having easy-to-reach pockets stops your Zwifting being disturbed if you need to grab a quick gel.
The Cargo shorts feature Rapha's Classic chamois pad for comfort and the material is plenty durable should you wish to venture beyond your kitchen and need shorts with additional storage.
Rapha clothing range explained
Given the size of its range, you could argue Rapha has become more of a lifestyle brand than just a cycling brand, with everything from WorldTour-proven racewear, to everyday kit, luggage and even sunglasses and headphones. Here's a quick overview of the different ranges on offer.
Pro Team - the kit used by the brand's sponsored race teams. Expect a slim cut for max aerodynamics and lightweight technical fabrics.
Classic - The brands original kit, the name of the game is comfort. You'll find more relaxed cuts here and heavy use of materials like merino wool.
Core - Rapha calls these essentials for everyday riding. Garments that are just as comfortable on a commute as they are on a day in the mountains.
Souplesse - this is Rapha's top-end women's clothing — think Pro Team for women. Here you will not only find women's specific cuts and chamois but also things like detachable bib shorts for quick and easy bathroom breaks.
Brevet - This is the brand's adventure range. Here you'll find lots of pockets, puffy jackets and gear designed to keep you comfortable day after day, no matter how bad the weather gets.
City - Commuter and off-the-bike gear. You'll find lots of t-shirts, luggage and even a coffee dripper and filters.
Logo - T-shirts, hoodies and socks
Mechanics - In case you had any reservations about calling Rapha a lifestyle brand, take a skim through the brand’s ‘casual workwear' range.