Rapha's badass team kit for Canyon//SRAM is now available to the general public. Or at least, selected items are (see below for further details).
Rapha developed a full range of clothing to suit all weather conditions – including deep-winter jerseys through to time trial suits and casual wear – using technical fabrics and extensive testing, and created a bright, bold and eye-catching design with flashes of colour on a black background that are intended to evoke a feeling of speed and movement.
Unveiled in Mallorca during a winter 2015 training camp, the kit quickly turned heads according to directeur sportif Beth Duryea. "I’d seen the first design some time ago but to see it here live in Mallorca for the first time, with all the different pieces combined, it fits perfectly to the image of the team," she said at the time.
The British clothing company will part ways with Team Sky in 2016 after many years of successful partnership, and has instead turned its attention to women's cycling, teaming up with new UCI women's WorldTour team Canyon//SRAM Racing. Combining athletes with the racing pedigree of Tiffany Cromwell, Trixi Worrack and Lisa Brennauer on the roster, and with such established brands behind the team, it marks a significant step forward in the development of women's competitive cycling.
Rapha says it has embarked upon a newly extended research and development programme for women's elite-level racing kit, and plans to work closely with Canyon//SRAM for feedback and opinion on how the race kit performs.
The kit has received positive responses from team members already, with Cromwell commenting that the kit makes her feel "fast and confident'.
"It’s a really cool looking kit and I love the pop of colour," the Aussie rider said. "I think when you put this kit on you’re ready for business: all the pieces fit really well [together], it’s aero, fits in all the right places and the fabrics are soft on your body."
British rider Hannah Barnes is also a fan. "[What I love most about the kit is] the brightness," she said, "[and] also the way the colours fade and almost look like you are already going fast when you’re standing still."
The company had several specific aims in its approach to the aesthetic design of the kit, which it wanted to look strong and energetic, and not gender specific. Designer Ultan Coyle was inspired by, interestingly, the hazard warning tape seen on building sites.
"I liked the idea of wrapping the body in the tape to suggest an athletic threat or danger to add attitude and which would come in handy when racing… so the tape formed the basis for the print which we then we re-coloured, or electrocuted it, to make it more striking."
Details and pricing
For anyone taken with the kit and eager to get their hands on it, selected items are available in a retail version as of May 2016 (or will be very soon), with men's versions becoming available in 2017.
- Aero jersey: £130 / $210 / AU$230
- Shorts: £170 / $260 / $315
- Gilet: £80 / $120 / AU$150
- Sports T-shirt: £30 / $50 / AU$60
- Snood: £15 / $20 / AU$27
- Musette: £15 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Cap: £20 / $TBC / AU$TBC