Sunday 19 January 2020

I've sort of gone off Rapha cycling gear when riding my Brompton

Over the years I have bought a few items of Rapha cycling gear but in recent times - like the blog title states - I have sort of gone off it. I'll explain why.

Rapha clothing is definitely a celebration of road bike cycling, with the entire range geared towards that genre. I suppose it was this very association that drew me to buying a few items from Rapha in the first place. I sometimes participate in events that are firmly geared towards the road bike. Imagine a chap turning up on a Brompton who also sports a few items of Rapha clothing. Apart from the semi-attention seeking nature of this, there is a little bit of a two-fingered salute to the roadie who tuts at the thought of non-carbon gate thrashing one of 'their events.'

If you ever go to Richmond Park early on a Saturday / Sunday morning (I am sure that you have your equivalent location wherever you live) you will encounter the best and worst type of roadie. The latter is a selfish bore, glad head to toe in Rapha, sitting on an ultra-expensive road bike who thinks that by virtue of expensive gear they are but a step away from a professional cyclist!

Having a look at the prices of Rapha gear this is the obvious elephant in the room. Even at sale prices with large percentages off, I just don't think their stuff is worth it. Yes the quality is there, it lasts well and they can withstand several washes however price is a factor. I keep coming back to the notion I can get better for less.

I suppose for me what it comes down to is the overall look, image, vibe or whatever you want to call it of having that Rapha label - as discrete as it often is. For me it is something I don't aspire to. I have not really been into cars but in the past I have strayed away from certain brands purely based on my perceived image of the type of driver that purchases such a make of car.

Wear whatever you want on your Brompton or road bike says I but for me I won't be rushing into the Rapha shop on Brewer Street in London or clicking online to buy anything else.

Your thoughts on this would be welcome in the comments section.


  1. I bought my first Rapha pieces of clothes 10 years ago: at that time, I knew the brand (mainly beacause I used to read Cycling Plus magazine), but never try or even see a product (other than in pictures): I am French and lives in south-west of France.
    I was a tourist wandering around Picadilly circus in December 2009, as someone passed me by, wearing a Rapha T shirt. I wanted to stop to know where the T shirt came from, and as I caught up with him, he entered the Rapha shop at Brewer street... I bought a rain jacket and a wind jacket (at full price).

    Since that time, I have regularly bought products from Rapha, mainly from their Street or Classic lines, and mainly during sales.
    Yes, I totally agree: Rapha products are expensive, but at similar prices as many other brands (Gore Wear, Assos, Patagonia, Icebreaker...). I have products from all these brands (and other...) and I am glad to have these quality products each timeI am on my bike when weather is harsh (I commute by bike to go to work: 1h each travel).

    From time to time, Rapha has products at totally weird prices in their catalog; but no one is forced to buy... I think, it must not divert cyclist from their other products.

    I think that not living in England helps to consider Rapha only as a brand making quality products for cyclists,at high but justified price (It's my personal opinion only), and not have that love/hate behavior about this brand, that I feel when I read English forums.

    I am forgeting one point: Happy New Year Mr Orange.
    Thank you for your blog, your articles ad our pictures. You may wear whatever you want, please continue to ride and tell us about that.

  2. Many thanks for leaving a comment and kind words my friend.


  3. Apologies for revisiting an older topic, but I recently found myself in a scenario similar to yours. Dressed in professional-grade Rapha gear and navigating a Brompton CHPT3 among road cyclists, my background as a semi-professional cyclist (with over three years of rigorous training, though I never fully transitioned into a pro) has left me with an extensive collection of cycling apparel. My shift from a traditional road bike to a Brompton was motivated by a desire to enjoy rides with my family, accommodating even the kid's balance bikes.

    On weekends, while my family engages in indoor ice skating, I seize the opportunity to blend my love for road cycling with the practicality of my Brompton. Ignoring the mixed reactions from fellow cyclists, from bewilderment to admiration, my focus remains on the joy of the ride. Curiosity often leads to questions about my choice of a Brompton, my answer is always the same: Because it is more challenging than a road bike. Remarkably, I find myself surpassing a significant majority of cyclists I encounter with my CHPT3. I am in the USA, in UK probably will be a totally different result. Still, it is not about the bike or cloth, but who rides and wear it.

    1. Not at all. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.


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