One night, after Portland’s Tuesday night PIR race I was riding home with Otis who lived in the same neighborhood as I did. It was our first time meeting in real life though we’d been talking on twitter a fair amount, but that doesn’t really give you sense of what each other does for a living. That lead us to copy writing and branding agreeing that part of selling a product was telling a story that customers could get behind. One they could see themselves in. That lead us to Rapha, who are the kings when it comes to spinning that narrative.
At the time I owned a few Rapha products.
- 3 caps
- Essentials Case
- Old Prototype of a Softshell Jacket
- Old Prototype of the Stowaway Jacket (now the classic wind jacket)
The jackets aside (which I picked up 50 and 60 dollars on craigslist!) I owned only products that my customer service salary could allow. Later I would work past my salary, save some pennies and bought a Long Sleeve jersey this past winter. I love it, but since I bought it on clearance there was only Large left. I figured I would fit a “Rapha Large”, just like people will tell me, “I wear a medium, except in Castelli, I wear an XL” Well, the Large is too big, which doesn’t stop me from wearing it, but it doesn’t fit right so I’ve refrained from writing a review.
Two weeks ago I took the plunge and purchased another jersey. This time it was the Club Jersey, which gets a new set of colors (3) every year. Each jersey is colored and named after a cycling legend. This years color ways are Fig, Black and Light Blue. I picked up the last of CBS Fremont’s Fig jersey – in the proper size this time – which is named after English Cyclist Tommy Godwin a track and endurance cyclist who was capable of putting down 75,065 miles a year. You can learn all about him on the linked wikipedia page, or you could just peep the label inside the right jersey pocket. That brings us back to the story.
Aside from looking good, being comfortable and functional, good kit should inspire you. It should raise in you a desire to set out and have your own version of the adventures you see the Rapha Continental having. In addition, any brand pedaling road wear should have a focus ON THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT which Rapha does beautifully.
Regardless of what you may think of the black and white aesthetic and use of the word “epic”. Regardless of what you may think about the pictures of riders sprinting against each other sans helmet (get over it I say!) you can not deny that this is some of the best cycling ware around. The fit on my jersey is perfect. It doesn’t sag when the pockets are stuffed and despite the quarter zip, it keeps me cool when the temps rise. I wore it yesterday and immediately washed it so that I could wear it again today. Simply put it is the best jersey I’ve ever worn. Now I just need to save up for a pair of bibs so I can stop mixing my kit brands.
As with previous reviews this item was purchased (with a small discount) with my own money from one of my favorite shops (studio).