The boutique-iest of boutique cycling brands have stated their dirty intentions
Rapha recently announced that they are going to be doing mountain bike apparel in 2021. Why? And what? We should see it at trade show this autumn.
In one of those grandiose ‘open letter‘ things, Rapha head honcho Simon Mottram writes the following…
“Much further up the road, there’s a launch that’s been coming for a long time. Back in 2004, Rapha started out with a small exhibition in East London where every photograph was taken on the tarmac. Since then, we have grown into something much greater with a mission to support cycling in all its forms. Though the cycling world seems at times to be divided into tribes, we believe we can have a legitimate place in each of them. In 2021, Rapha will launch its first collection of mountain bike clothing, making the most of our design expertise and a new office in a mountain biking mecca, to take the brand somewhere entirely new. More specific details will follow over the course of the year before this exciting new chapter gets fully underway in 2021.”
The move into mountain biking will arguably be due to two reasons.
Firstly, Rapha sharehaolders will be pressing for constant expansion into new market. That’s what shareholders do. Capitalism and all that.
Secondly, Rapha are part-owned by Walmart (yes, the same outfit who part-own ASDA). And the head honchos of Walmart – the Walton brothers – are big into mountain biking.
What will Rapha mountain bike apparel look like?
No one knows just yet. Probably not even Rapha themselves will have committed the designs to the manufacturers yet.
Suffice to say, Rapha’s Brevet range of bikepacking and gravel biking clobber will be a large influence. As too will the Randonee garments from Rapha’s City range.
One thing that we can be fairly confident in saying is that Rapha’s mountain bike apparel will be much more on the fitted and minimalist side of thing. That’s what Rapha do. It’s their aesthetic.
And it won’t be cheap.
At the very earliest we might see some Rapha mountain bike apparel at the end of this year. The Autumn-Winter range.
But before that there is the slight chance that we might get some further clues during this year’s Cape Epic mountain bike race. The road racing Education First Pro Cycling team are competing in the Cape Epic this year (March 15-22). Rapha design the clothing for this team. Maybe we’ll see some prototype garments then?