For the past seventeen years, Rapha's focus within cycling has been on the pavement variety. But in their mission to "make cycling the most popular sport in the world," they're working with the likes of Jill Kintner, Ella Conolly, Adam Craig, Bryn Atkinson, Eliot Jackson and Joey Schusler, to launch their first mountain bike apparel line. When I spoke with Rapha
in January of 2020, they said that they had always been inspired by mountain biking, but the investment from Tom Walton and Steuart Walton (RZC Investments), both of whom are avid mountain bikers, played a role in the decision to enter the mountain bike apparel market.
The first Rapha Performance Trailwear line is streamlined, with men's and women's versions of their two jerseys, baggy shorts, liner shorts, and jacket. There's also a women's tank top and a collab helmet with Smith in addition to a selection of accessories, including a hip belt, sunglasses, socks, and a five-panel hat. Each of the women's items are offered in two colourways, while the men's items are offered in three colourways. The line might not be extensive, but it feels like a lot of thought was put into what would be included in this first offering.
The apparel has the trademark Rapha look, low-key but distinct, but what really sets it apart is the fact that many items are made of recycled fabric and each item in the Rapha Performance Trailwear collection comes with a set of patches and instructions on how to use them to repair your garment if it gets damaged. Rapha has repurposed leftover material to create the adhesive-backed repair patches that come with each garment. It's a small thing, but a really nice touch. And, if you find yourself with "more catastrophic damage to your garment," Rapha requests that you consider their free repair service at rapha.cc/repair-service
before purchasing something new. Rapha Performance Trailwear Overview:
Women's Trail Liner $110 USD
Women's Trail Technical T-Shirt* $75 USD
Women's Trail 3/4 Sleeve Jersey* $100 USD
Women's Trail Tank* $70 USD
Women's Trail Shorts* $150 USD
Women's Trail Lightweight Jacket* $180 USD
*Comes in two colourways.
Trail Cargo Bib Liner $135 USD
Trail Technical T-Shirt* $75 USD
Trail 3/4 Sleeve Jersey* $100 USD
Trail Shorts* $150 USD
Trail Lightweight Jacket* $180 USD
*Comes in additional colourways.
Trail Socks $23 USD
MTB 6-Panel Hat $35 USD
Trail Hip Pack $80 USD
Pro Team Full Frame Glasses $165 USD
Rapha x Smith Forefront 2 Trail Helmet $240 USD
Rapha says the honeycomb fabric structure wicks sweat away from the body. There are four colourways for the Trail Technical T-Shirt including Dark Grey / Light Grey, Light Grey / Black, Green / Black, Blue / Orange.
The Trail 3/4 Sleeve Jersey is the second men's jersey and retails for $100 USD. It's also made of recycled fabric and Rapha says that the textured fabric back not only wicks sweat away from the skin but also disperses the moisture over a greater area, creating a fast-drying shirt.
Four colourways for the Trail 3/4 Sleeve Jersey including Dark Grey / Light Grey, Light Grey / Black, Green / Black, Blue / Orange.
There are three colourways for the Trail Shorts and one for the Trail Cargo Bib Liner that retails for $135 USD. It is made of a lightweight mesh, has two cargo pockets, and is made of recycled fabrics.
The Trail Lightweight Jacket is a packable windproof shell that retails for $180. It comes in three colourways and stows into its chest pocket for maximum packability. It also comes with an added strap that allows you to cinch it down on your frame. It is made with a lightweight but breathable ripstop nylon fabric that's treated with DWR. The hood is helmet-compatible.Women's Apparel:
Rapha says that the high strength knit makes it durable and snag resistant. It comes in Purple / Light Grey and Dark Grey / Light Grey.
It also comes in Purple / Light Grey and Dark Grey / Light Grey.
The Women's Trail Lightweight Jacket is a packable windproof shell that retails for $180. It comes in two colourways and stows into its chest pocket for maximum packability. It also comes with an added strap that allows you to cinch it down on your frame. It comes in Dark Grey / Light Grey and Purple / Light Grey.
The Trail Shorts are designed for use with or without knee pads. There are two hand pockets plus zippered side pockets with an integrated phone sleeve. They're constructed of plain weave stretch nylon and have a variable width belt system and they retail for $150 USD. They come in Black / Light Grey and Purple / Light Grey.Accessories
The Rapha + Smith Forefront 2 Collab helmet comes in two colourways and retails for $240 USD.First Impressions (from Brian & Levy)
The Trail Cargo Bib is comfortable as you'd expect, and the storage pockets are sleek—no bagging out or flopping like some other bib-based cargo pockets, but also not a ton of room and they probably won't hold a bottle. Levy doesn't love the lack of a middle back pocket, but he also loves to tell a story about being permanently damaged from falling onto a multitool that was in a middle jersey pocket, so take that with a grain of salt. The shorts and jersey are a neutral fit, maybe a touch baggier than we'd have expected. I haven't had a chance to wear the jersey or the jacket yet but the shorts seem excellent so far. They're using some fairly substantial fabric on them, and the lower zips wrap around your leg to keep things from flapping around. Really nice. Levy says the inseam is a hair long for him, but on the plus side nobody has to see his gorby gap.
We'll do a longer term review at some point, but on first impressions it seems like Rapha is jumping into the MTB market the right way.They've taken their time getting here, and don't appear to be resting on their road hype. None of the stuff they're launching today feels like an afterthought to go after a growing market. We're excited to see what they can bring to the premium MTB apparel space.
Learn more at rapha.cc/mtb