Hot on the heels of Rapha’s partnership with skateboard streetwear brand Palace comes a set of wireless earphones for indoor training launched in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen.
The limited-edition Rapha + Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport earphones cost £300 / $350 / €350 / AU$550 and are based on the luxury electronics company’s first sports-specific earphones.
What makes them sports-specific? The E8 Sport earphones offer IP57-certified waterproofing, so they are apparently completely sweatproof (the earphones are waterproof down to one metre for up to 30 minutes, according to Bang & Olufsen).
Wireless earphones offer a few benefits over cabled earphones or over-ear headphones if you like listening to music on the turbo trainer. Being wireless, there’s no cable to get tangled or in the way during a turbo effort, they should offer a secure fit, and they are less likely to contribute to overheating compared to over-ear headphones.
The E8 Sport earphones come with a range of ear tips for a secure and comfortable fit, according to Rapha. Rapha says this also ensures “uncompromising sound quality, even when sprinting out of the saddle”.
Speaking of sound quality, what you’re largely paying for here – because these are very expensive, even by premium earphone standards – is Bang & Olufsen’s renowned audio quality.
Still, the E8 Sport earphones offer a number of smart touches and clever features, including an anodised aluminium case and a one-finger touch interface to play or pause music, skip tracks, answer calls via the two microphones, and so on.
Grooves on the interface are said to improve grip when wet or sweaty, while there’s also a ‘transparency mode’ which allows you to temporarily reduce volume, to bring you back to reality after a hard effort.
Claimed battery life is up to seven hours per charge and the earphones come with a silicone-coated case, which provides three additional charges. Android and iOS connectivity comes via Bluetooth 5.1, AAC and aptX.
The Rapha branding is subtle but the earphones are finished with the brand’s signature pink, while one earphone also has a laser-etched Rapha logo. The connection tone has been customised to the sound of a cowbell ringing (if you’re not familiar, cowbells are often used by fans cheering at races).
Former professional cyclist and Olympic gold medallist Pete Kennaugh said: “I find music highly inspiring during my indoor turbo sessions when it can perhaps be more difficult to motivate yourself.
“The sound is brilliant and they fit perfectly, which has always been challenging when using earbuds with the fear of them falling out, but the E8 earphones stay in your ear no matter what and can be easily paused with one touch of a finger.”
Bang & Olufsen VP of product management, Christoffer Poulsen, added: “Music has the ability to push you to your limits and achieve your ultimate training goals.
“We are excited to partner with Rapha to create the optimum experience for indoor training with Bang & Olufsen’s first dedicated sports earphones.”
The Rapha + Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport earphones will be released in “very limited quantities” via the Rapha website on 16 November, and will also be available at selected Bang & Olufsen stores and Rapha clubhouses.