Rapha, Rapha, read all about it!

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
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Tokyo
#2
That article said:
However, it was in 2007 that sales "really started to motor", as cycling suddenly started to become fashionable in the UK.
In the context, an odd choice of metaphor.

Rapha is from London, where, the BBC tells us:

BBC said:
More than 550 people were mugged for their bicycles in London in the past year
When a cyclist approaches, it's not very easy to see whether he's riding Dura-Ace. Easier to see whether he's wearing Rapha. Which might suggest an increased probability of Dura-Ace. So if I were a London bike-jacker, I'd be rather interested in Rapha; and if I were a London bike-rider, I'd be particularly uninterested in Rapha.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,290
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#5
Not really about cycling, everything about fashion brand marketing.
Yeah absolutely. As a fashion brand it works perfectly, and has an untouchable position in the market.

The kit is high quality, no doubt, but you are right; this is a fashion brand with marketing that works perfectly for its target audience.
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
982
594
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Tokyo
#6
Rapha. I couldn't give a damn about the brand. I don't like the large lettering on the pro-team shorts. I don't too much care for the look of the clothes in general. However - I find myself wearing it because every piece I've bought has been amazingly comfortable and functional. Recently I bought a pro-team base layer and pro-team light weight shorts (yes with the lettering). The base layer is great. Really like it. The shorts are amazing. In two years, I've tried shorts from Campaqnolo (yeah, yeah, I know), gs-astuto, Q36.5, Assos and now Rapha. I really liked the gs-astuto ones for ages but I guess they are getting old now. The Campaq ones were an old pair (24 years?) I had so never going to be good. The Q36.5 - another disaster (although my dad says he loves my hand me downs). I liked the Assos for a while but the chamois gets dry and loses little pieces as well as some of the branding coming off after not so much wear. None however felt like the Rapha. The pad is amazingly comfy and the cut is really nice. They are not the best inside on rollers and need air flowing through them to be cool but outside they shine. I hate buying shorts as it seems like such risky business with all the luck I've had so far, so I'll probably stick to this brand for a while as that is where the quality is as far as I can judge. Expensive and all as it is...
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
511
392
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Japan
#7
I'd echo many of @wexford 's views about the quality of the stuff. The pro team bib shorts are the best I've ever had (from a wide range of top end stuff) (and the pro team aero jersey is hands down the most comfortable I've ever worn).

I think the hatred towards the brand is fairly daft (not aimed at this forum - a general observation of the cycling community). If you don't like it, don't buy it.

The design and branding is clever but is very 'Marmite' - I personally like it but know many that hate it (the comment about them knowing their audience very well is particularly astute).

In addition, the blog/story side of it is something I think connects many to the brand (my friend does articles and photography work for Rapha and is very talented but that doesn't lead to any bias on my part).
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,498
628
133
Kanazawa
#8
...

When a cyclist approaches, it's not very easy to see whether he's riding Dura-Ace. Easier to see whether he's wearing Rapha. Which might suggest an increased probability of Dura-Ace. So if I were a London bike-jacker, I'd be rather interested in Rapha; and if I were a London bike-rider, I'd be particularly uninterested in Rapha.
I wonder if some cycle-jackers also jack some of the Rapha-wear? :crafty:
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,290
133
#9
The design and branding is clever but is very 'Marmite' - I personally like it but know many that hate it (the comment about them knowing their audience very well is particularly astute).
I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is about Rapha that grates with me so much, and I think I know now.

Rapha kit is very good quality, of that there is no doubt. So that is not the issue. The price is not the issue either, as I fully support spending money on well produced stuff that lasts and gives good service.

I think what it is, is the way in which the entire package is often adopted wholesale by a lot of the 'fanbase', without any self-awareness at how sheeplike that actually is; the black and white suffering photos, full sleeve tattoos, espresso drinking, po-facedness of those who do all this without any sense of humour, and seem to give off the air of having come up with all of this themselves, when in reality they are just adopting a pre-designed lifestyle package is cringy as hell. It is just a hipster version of Full Pro Kit Wankers. There is no originality of thought, or any creation of a culture for oneself. Rather it is pure image and lifestyle image piggy-backing. This obviously comes across as sour grapes from me, but really it would only take me about 3 hours down the Rapha shop, then buying an espresso machine on Amazon, growing a beard, buying a Macbook Air and Googling a few hipster cafes in Tokyo, and hashtagging Rapha on black and white filter Instagram posts to join the cult. Not exactly hard or beyond my means.

Kind of like how BMWs are objectively excellent but the drivers are nobs.

I suppose it just isn't for me. I do applaud their success though, for sure; ha, my own attempts at creating a riding subculture of black magic, crows, Dickensian bleakness, Greek mythological tragedy, intergalactic witchcraft and dark poetry, despite being 100% original and never done before ever, was met with entire indifference, so I withdrew it and now keep all that to myself. Suppose these things are more attractive when they are already popular and aspirational.

So there you go.

Etc.
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
511
392
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Japan
#10
@TCC

I certainly understand your (and many others') reticence but, ultimately, no one is forcing anyone to adopt that lifestyle. The 'community' element of cycling/the development of the sport, whether through 'hipster/Rapha' means or otherwise, can only be beneficial.

The world is full of cultures, subcultures and trends that are a lot worse (at least this encourages people to get off of their (sometimes fat) arses and do some exercise, even if it does involve a world of poorly thought out Instagram posts documenting the same and a lack of originality in general).

My experience of those sporting Rapha and adopting a similar-ish lifestyle to that which you refer is that they largely do so in full knowledge that it shouldn't be taken too seriously and they roundly mock themselves for the most part for doing so.

Again my two pennies worth and each to their own (I should reiterate that I remain pretty neutral on it; just because Rapha clothing is for me, doesn't mean it, or the lifestyle that appears to go along with it, is a good or a bad thing).

P.S. My attempt to popularise the clingfilming of toilets worldwide to create hilarity (perhaps I wasn't the first to think of this idea...) also appears not to have caught on as widely as I'd hoped.
 
Mar 10, 2014
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Funabashi, Chiba
#11
Once you go Rapha, there ain't no going backa?

First pair of Rapha bibs instantly made all previous stuff trash.

It's true the whole Rapha thing is kind of gay and contrived, and I feel like an unoriginal poser clone a bit from a style perspective, but it all goes together and it works to keep me comfortable on the bike.

Can't / won't wear anything else at this point. It's a free world, nothing stopping anyone from doing Rapha. Not concerned about what people say - but the fewer people that adopt this idea, the more comfortable I feel. Does this make any sense?
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#13
There are several steps you are missing.
1) You need a well made kit.
2) You need a hole in the market place.
3) You need to launch at a time when goths is the fashion and rising in terms of cycling. Maybe pay one of the pro teams to ride with black nail polish and excessive eye make up. Maybe ghost white foundation?

Maybe you could start with something that hasn't been turned into a fashion statement. i.e. the little tool bags for underseat? that item is begging an update, being made cool again.


my own attempts at creating a riding subculture of black magic, crows, Dickensian bleakness, Greek mythological tragedy, intergalactic witchcraft and dark poetry, despite being 100% original and never done before ever, was met with entire indifference, so I withdrew it and now keep all that to myself. Suppose these things are more attractive when they are already popular and aspirational..
 

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
385
141
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46
#14
Once you go Rapha, there ain't no going backa?
First pair of Rapha bibs instantly made all previous stuff trash.
It's true the whole Rapha thing is kind of gay and contrived, and I feel like an unoriginal poser clone a bit from a style perspective, but it all goes together and it works to keep me comfortable
Does this make any sense?
I imagine you as this, so yes!
 

xDOMx

Maximum Pace
Nov 21, 2014
511
392
93
Japan
#16
No homophobic slurs please.
Was going to say but didn't.

The description of anything as 'gay' when you basically mean 'a bit shit' should be left to when you were at school and it was weirdly okay (presuming you were a child of the 80's/90's like me and, for example, saying 'skill' when someone stood in a dog shit was common practice).
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#17
the black and white suffering photos, full sleeve tattoos, espresso drinking, po-facedness of those who do all this without any sense of humour
I'm at least sometimes guilty of three of those four, which perhaps makes me a 75% amateur kit wanker. Got myself a black and white suffering shirt: it cost less than that British brand, it's comfortable, and possibly it provides a sobering jolt to fools behind the steering wheel. (But then again maybe it provides inspiration. Ulp.)
 
Mar 10, 2014
454
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Funabashi, Chiba
#19
Was going to say but didn't.

The description of anything as 'gay' when you basically mean 'a bit shit' should be left to when you were at school and it was weirdly okay (presuming you were a child of the 80's/90's like me and, for example, saying 'skill' when someone stood in a dog shit was common practice).
Goes to show how hopelessly out of touch I've become.

What is the current equivalent?