Does anyone remember when Rapha rolled up to a bike show with a dilapidated Citroën H Van, half a dozen merino jerseys and a photo exhibition called, Glory Through Suffering? It wasn’t that long ago. Not in the scheme of things.
Rapha’s rise has been rapid. The company was right onto something back then, like a neo pro latching onto a breakaway and somehow winning a Tour stage. No, winning the Tour! The kit looked unlike anything else. It was different. It lead that understated, invisible on a badly lit street look, which became the norm for road cyclists.
How many people got into cycling because there was somehow a clothing brand suggesting that shaved legs and wearing Lycra was now cool? Who’d even heard of merino wool before Rapha? (Don’t answer that.)
Where are we going with this? Well, Rapha aren’t finished with just our clothing (on and off the bike). The latest offering from Rapha is entirely practical and focused on arguably one of the least sexy parts of our bike’s anatomy – the saddle.
It’s launched two styles of saddle that have been years in the making. The saddles are designed to work in cahoots with its shorts so they’ve been given the familiar Pro Team and Classic moniker.
The former, best paired with the shorts of the same name, is for the racers while the latter, designed to be used with Classic shorts, is for long days in the chair. Or lets be honest, any cyclists wanting extra comfort, even if it’s just for the café run.
The brand has been looking at foam density on the sit bones in both the shorts and the saddle and says that it’s nailed the balance by honing this vital contact point. Customers can use a fit calculator on the website to determine their best fit, so it can be tailored to the tush.
Where next for Rapha? Pink lane dividers on popular cycle routes? We’re kidding. But then, who would have bet an ounce of chamois cream on these saddles while perusing the Glory Through Suffering collection a decade or so ago?