Buyer's Guide

A Buyer’s Guide To Rapha Cycling Clothing

Cycling isn’t just a sport; it’s a way of life for many enthusiasts around the world. It’s a blend of passion, fitness and adventure. When it comes to embracing the adventure of cycling with premium performance materials in mind, one brand stands out above the rest—Rapha.

Rapha is a unique and beloved UK brand in the world of cycling apparel and community. The brand’s collections are celebrated for their adaptability and long-lasting quality. From their classic and city to the Pro-team and lifestyle collections, they offer a range of performance attire designed for diverse cycling routes and stylish athleisure pieces for everyday wear. For everything you need to know about the UK-based designer, here’s our guide to all things Rapha.



Rapha’s British Cycling Culture Heritage

Rapha was born in the heart of London in 2004, thanks to the vision of founder Simon Mottram. Simon, a passionate cyclist and a branding enthusiast wanted to create a brand that could celebrate the elegance of cycling. The name “Rapha” itself is a tribute to the legendary 1962 Giro d’Italia, known for their iconic pink leader’s jersey with a pink armband. Rapha’s armband logo proudly carries forward this legacy.

The brand’s mission is to inspire and equip individuals to embrace a cycling lifestyle, whether it’s for daily commutes or long adventures. This is accomplished by creating top-quality cycling apparel that’s designed to excel in various terrains and rigorously tested worldwide, all with the aim of enhancing the cycling experience for all enthusiasts.

rapha cycling club


At Rapha’s global locations, you can find a dedicated team of individuals who all share a deep passion for cycling. Many of their staff prefer to commute to work on their bicycles, and on Wednesday mornings, they collectively pause their work to embark on a shared ride. In addition to this, three times a year, Rapha’s offices close for a full day to commemorate one another’s achievements during their three annual office rides. The brand also has awards they present to their staff based on their performance during the many rides they go on throughout the year.

Rapha’s Key Brand Values

Rapha’s actions are rooted in a shared set of core values. Despite its expansion into a wide array of endeavours, the values that initially steered the brand’s progress still drive it today. Whether it’s team members in Seoul or San Francisco, everyone within Rapha’s diverse team is dedicated to upholding and embodying the following foundational values:

  • Love the sport – make it part of your life.
  • Think for yourself – lead by example.
  • Suffer – good enough isn’t.
  • Inspire others – be proactive, always.


Rapha’s High-Quality Designs

Rapha’s core philosophy is to blend high-performance materials with cutting-edge design. Their commitment to quality is evident in every product they offer. From the selection of premium fabrics to the meticulous tailoring, Rapha sets high standards for its cycling apparel. Whether it’s a jersey, bib, shorts, or outerwear, you can expect the best from Rapha.

Through the last 17 years, the brand has been focused on redefining comfort, performance, and style for cyclists. By using the most advanced technical fabrics, Rapha maintains an entirely in-house design process. They utilise a worldwide network of wear testers to rigorously assess prototypes, ensuring that each product outperforms the previous in terms of performance and quality.

Rapha’s Wide Range of Cycling Products

Rapha caters to all aspects of cycling. Whether you’re a road cyclist, gravel grinder, or urban commuter, they have something to offer. Their products are designed for the demands of various cycling styles, ensuring that you not only look good but also perform at your best.

The Rapha Pro Team Collection is tailored for professional and performance-oriented cyclists. These products are designed for maximum aerodynamics and efficiency, featuring sleek and race-ready designs. The brand has also sponsored professional cycling teams, such as Team Sky (now known as INEOS Grenadiers) and has created team-specific kits.

On the other hand, Rapha’s Lifestyle Collections embraces the art of cycling in everyday life. They blend athleisure with performance and sophistication. From stylish tees and cosy hoodies to durable backpacks and comfy caps, this collection celebrates the spirit of cycling both on and off the bike.

rapha clothing


Rapha’s Tailored Sizing and Materials

One noteworthy aspect of Rapha’s apparel is the tailored fit. It’s designed to be snug, reducing wind resistance, and enhancing aerodynamics. However, this means that sizing can be different from what you’re used to with other brands. It’s advisable to check Rapha’s sizing charts carefully.

Rapha uses a variety of materials, including merino wool and technical fabrics, known for their excellent moisture-wicking and temperature-regulation properties. Merino wool is a staple in their products, keeping you comfortable in a range of weather conditions.

rapha cycling clothing


Rapha’s Dedication to Sustainability

As a brand with a dedicated commitment to a singular goal – inspiring people around the world to embrace a cycling lifestyle – Rapha continuously evaluates its environmental impact. Beyond the aim to introduce more individuals to the joys and advantages of cycling, the brand also recognises its responsibility to ensure a positive environmental impact.

So far, Rapha has implemented 100% carbon-neutral shipping, the preservation of over 9,000 garments through the free customer repairs service, and the acquirement of a 99% organic cotton for use in their SS22 product line. However, the company acknowledges that there is still much work to be done.

Who’s Collaborated with Rapha?

Many premium brands have collaborated with Rapha to produce high-end cycling clothing, with the likes of Paul Smith, who created a collaboration based on friendships both on and off the bike, as well as a shared passion for vintage cycling jerseys.

In addition, Shrimps collaborated with the brand to create a “one-of-a-kind” collection with the use of Shrimps’ signature playful patterns and designs and Rapha’s innovative cycle clothing to bridge the gap between fashion and cycling.

rapha x shrimps


Rapha is More Than Just Cycling Clothing

Rapha’s engagement with the cycling community goes beyond apparel. They sponsor professional cycling teams and organise events and rides worldwide such as the Women’s 100 to the Festive 500.

Whilst you can join the Rapha Cycling Club, which shares a global community of active cyclists with exclusive access to products, experiences and offers. This is an excellent way to meet fellow enthusiasts and explore the camaraderie of cycling.

rapha cycling club



Written by Hannah Needham

Featured Image Credit – @rapha_uk

Hannah Needham

Hannah Needham

Writer and expert