Rapha Clothing

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by kgt

airwise wrote:Europe and the US is full of bottom feeders with zero interest in the long term. It was interesting to see many Swiss quite happy to pay very high prices for local product - safe in the knowledge that the money was going into the country. The model seems to work. More locally produced goods. Higher GDP. Lower taxes. Less Unemployed and far lower debt payments. It's just people have to be prepared to pay more and be less selfish in the short term. Sadly most are not. How many of you would pay Assos prices for everything if it were made in your Country?


by Weenie

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by Gem

PezTech wrote:
It's more an issue of the Way Rapha have presented themselves to the market and priced themselves relative to other products that actually are made in the heart of Euro Cycling culture like Giordana, Capo and a few others...

I'm not actually sure what "made in the heart of Euro Cycling Culture" actually means if anything, it sounds like the worse kind of marketing hyperbole.

corky wrote:do you invest as much time in researching all your purchases?

Beyond the weekly groceries I try to, hate being a mug.

sawyer wrote:
Is there any evidence to back up the last statement?

I think you're overstating it in saying there isn't a viable alternative, though don't dispute that pressure to generate margin makes it very hard to resist shifting production to low wage china.

Marketing is obviously not entirely subjective ... it's simply a fact that Rapha's marketing eulogises low volume boutique frame builders and bike builds that are essentially not of asian manufacturer - and indeed stand for something very different, an entirely different manufacturing ethos if you will, while themselves shifting production to low cost, high volume asia. That said, I don't doubt it's effectiveness - particularly for those new to the sport.

I've visited clothing factories and textile mills in China, Tunisia, Turkey, Greece, Poland & the UK. FWF certified and not. I don't know of an example in the European market that bucks this trend.

There appears to be a substantial divide between how Rapha's perceived in the UK and the States. Rapha Condor Sharp winning almost everything in the UK and substantial sample sales probably help them this side of the pond.

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by Gem

airwise wrote:I just wish they would use the money to build a factory in the UK rather than a moody portfolio in the ether sphere.

Completely agree.

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by prendrefeu

I second (or third? fourth) the comments from airwise. They are indeed wise! :thumbup:
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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by bricky21

ultimobici wrote:bricky21 wrote:
Gem wrote:
bricky21 wrote:

http://www.apparelsearch.com/america.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Here is a whole host of US companys that could sew stuff together.

That's hardly comparing like with like, they can certainly sew stuff together but they don't mill technical fabrics in the States & I can't say they'd be my first port of call for a cycling jacket. AA have also been the subject of criticism regarding working conditions over the last few years & the dismissal of 1500 illegal immigrants in 2009 led to a financial crisis at the company.

What is so technologically groundbreaking about Rapha's materials or construction that makes it impossible to make outside of China? The stuff looks pretty basic to me.
Not groundbreaking, but then no one has claimed it is, and it is certainly not basic at all in terms of quality of construction.

I was referring to the very basic design and simple materials used in most of their clothes.

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by bricky21

Gem wrote:I'm not actually sure what "made in the heart of Euro Cycling Culture" actually means if anything, it sounds like the worse kind of marketing hyperbole.

Sean Kelly, the seven times winner of Paris-Nice was as hard as they come. The unbreakable star of the KAS team of the 1980s would have men weeping at his wheel. The only time he seemed broken was at the '87 Tour when he smashed his collarbone and could not continue. His tears were not from the physical pain. Wearing his heart on the sleeve of his blue and yellow jersey, he brought home the Vuelta for the Spanish in '88. A true Toro Bravo that would never lie down.

That is found on the inside of the right rear pocket of the blue and yellow Rapha jersey. Personally, I think a red and yellow jersey complete with a story about some Chinese hero would be far less cheesy.

If Rapha is so proud of their Chinese ties why not use some photography of a couple of Chinese dude's(named Steve and Tony of course :P ) rideing around Shanghai in their marketing?

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by Miller

bricky21 wrote:
Gem wrote:If Rapha is so proud of their Chinese ties why not use some photography of a couple of Chinese dude's(named Steve and Tony of course :P ) rideing around Shanghai in their marketing?

Cuz the actual Chinese are in their heavily-into-cars phase? Which may last some time.

Fwiw I admire Rapha as a company without ever actually having shelled out for their product (being a penny-pinching UK club cyclist). Historically, cycle clothing has looked *awful*, hurting your eye with garish designs. I think Rapha has brought a much-needed fashion sensibility to the sector and this has been influential on other brands. I wouldn't criticise them for production bases in low-wage economies, that is the model for all 21st C capitalism.

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by mcatano

Gem wrote:Beyond the arcteryx veilance line which is made in Canada can someone give me an example of a company of a similar size to Rapha that manufactures technical clothing in North America? By technical I mean waterproof or windproof garments constructed out of North American milled; oil-based, synthetic fabrics.

I can't speak to where they source their fabrics (is there a N American equivalent to Schoeller?), nor can I compare their volume to Rapha, but Westcomb, Outlier, Aether, Mission Workshop, Nonetheless, and Nau all come to mind.

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by mattyb

I understand why people don't like Rapha marketing, but, it's no different to the other companies. They choose an angle and push it.
This is the romantic angle. You may look at it and scoff because they don't have 100 years of heritage and they make stuff in China, but so what?!
A company can only have heritage once they have been around long enough. Every company that has heritage has to have started somewhere and there is no rule saying you have to start small and cheap until you reach heritage status.
I know plenty of people that like the fact that someone is promoting the romantic, bunch ride comradery because they don't want the technical, race orientated stuff shoved at them.
It's the whole 'I can ride with some friends up a mountain ... can't race it but can certainly ride with mates and have coffee'

I'm not trying to convince anyone to lean one way or the other, but tell me how this is more appealing:
I look at that guy and think - he's not a cyclist. I don't know anyone that looks like that and I have ridden with plenty of A grade / full time riders.
The only thing I find appealing about assos is this (and the shot would be far far better in normal clothes:

My point is that many say 'I don't get the Rapha thing', or 'it's marketing dribble'.
You can say that about any company. One is no more sincere than the other. They make product, they market it, they sell it.
But it seems a lot of the critisism is based on marketing rather than the product (and I do own some rapha stuff as well as many other brands, but I am not putting forward my view on it - too much of that already).

My personal view is that Rapha have thrown out the typical sport product marketing (being overly technical and about being better than your competitors) and have taken the approach of high end, non sporting clothing companies. It's about the culture of the product.

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by Zitter

rapha is blending the lines between performance wear and fashion wear. they did collaborations with paul smith and other designers for casual wear, not cycling wear. i don't have a problem with their heritage approach, but when you're selling performance sports wear and not casual clothing, and for the prices they're charging, i'd rather see more of their information in technical details and why i should pay that much more over other brands with just as good products for lesser price instead of some pretty pictures and wordy romantic stories about how cool they are. there's a reason sports wear companies market their product based on their technical qualities, because it has a practical purpose. designer companies do the whole heritage approach marketing because their product is mainly meant for visual aesthetic with lesser emphasis on quality because it's not meant to be run around in and abused. if they had started out as a casual designer clothing brand and they branched into some athletic apparel like ralph lauren, then it would be more understandable, but to me, it's as if nike released a line of formal wear made of technical fabrics which makes no sense.

btw, what do you mean that guy doesn't look like a cyclist. not all pros looks like michael rasmussen. look at greg van avermaet, peter sagan, etc. they still have upper body muscle and extremely strong core and look similar to that guy.

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by mattyb

I'd estimate that less than 1% of the cycling population currently and would ever look like that guy.
I mentioned nothing of looking like a skinny climber. He's probably about 4% body fat, ripped from head to toe and waxed to within an inch of his life.
How many people like that do you know? ... honestly?
I know 1 and he's an elite half ironman champ.

I'm not saying anything about what is right or wrong, and sure, if you want more tech info then fair enough.
But alot of that tech detail can be marketing wash too. x% of this and x% of that for more sweat wicking and heat transfer. For racing gear I'll pay attention to that, otherwise I want comfort and style.

I just think there is a more balanced view than what is coming out in all of this.
The marketing of the two products is very different but when I personally look at the two pictures, I guess I resemble one of the guys in the Rapha shot. If you think it's wanky, fine, I don't hold an opinion on it but I still think it's far more realistic. I'll don't relate to the assos shot - I'll never find myself waxed and oiled in nothing but bibs and sunglasses. I'll definitely be riding some mountains with mates.
Marketing 101: Allow your target audience to relate to your campaign.

The bottom line of all of what I am saying is that it is all very well to criticize Rapha marketing but the other companies are just as bad - just in different ways.

Anyway, this is waaay off topic.

As far as Rapha gear goes, I love the country jersey in cool to moderate temps. It's well made and is lasting better than other jerseys I have. I'd say it's the perfect Spring/Autum top.
The lightweight jersey is great if you have nothing in your pockets but load them up and it sags. Great for really hot temps but short rides.
My favourite jersey for hot weather or race / race type riding is sportful.

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by Northoceanbeach

I think rapha is a pile of hipster, wanna be mill valley, too lazy to climb tam, so ill hang with a spresso in Sausalito, made in china, sweatshop crap.

Assos is the best thing that has happened to my cycling. It's as important as my bike if not more so. The fabrics are so high tech, light, dry and warm or cool that i I select the right clothing for the day I ne'er even notice its there.

If I were to where snow pants and a ski jacket in the cold I would not only lose to s of speed(it's always windy when its cold). More speed than if I went from a cannondale evo to a caad 10. And I would either be too hot or too cold and would not make it through the ride, not enjoyably.

Not would I look sexy and fast.

Clothing is that important.

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by Northoceanbeach

And I think you're just jealous of the male model cu he's bangin that hot Italian chick after the shoot.

Damn those bibs are sexy, if I were him I'd do what I do and take the straps off and let them loosely dangle whole I rehydrate. Then I chill and the park and wait for them
To come. It doesn't take long. There's more than one reason for those public toilets, (no not that junkies!)

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by eurperg

Hmm.. Assos sales must me diving, because now they are desperate enough to use a bearded guy on their front page, instead of that hilarious techno robot. Rapha copycats? ;) The gear still looks dork though.

Did BrĂĽno design Assos eyewear... WTF :lol:


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by mattydubs

Say nothing else, Rapha certainly is polarizing. I admit I find their "we're too cool to have fun" aesthetic a little dry... But I like it otherwise.

To that end, I've got a whole slew of Rapha gear: softshell, tights, 3/4 bibs, regular bibs, three different jerseys, baselayers, hats, armwarmers, gilet, etc (yeah I'm a bit of a whore). I like wool and dig the aesthetic of it and I will say that though most of it is made in China (newsflash: it isn't all made in China and many of the pieces come from other places, the chamois are all from Italy as is much of the raw material for their bibs and deep winter tights) it is much tougher than some of the other kit I have.

Descente kit from two years ago? See through, chamois blown. Primal "top of the line" Club Kit I got last summer: the bibs were toast after 2000 miles. Castelli kit I wore when I was 25 and climber light? The bibs have actually held up, but the chamois is dead dead dead.

You definitely pay a premium for it, though I think you can easily spend more on Assos. It really just comes down to taste, at some point you just have to let people like what they like. I, for one, can't stand the look of Capo, Castelli, Assos, etc. My buddies call it "pseudo retro grouch". That's fine. I'm not going to give you shit for liking it.

I wash my Rapha shit all the time, wear it in the worst conditions (blizzard, etc), I've wrecked in it, and it's held up fine. Bibs are the only things I ever chew through anyway. If I can get 2 seasons out of a pair of $220-260 bibs then I'm happy.

I thought JVA was pretty much spot on with their spoof and I still like Rapha, so whatever.

FWIW, the 3/4 knickers are perfect for anything from 30-45 (warmer and I go with knee warmers or nothing, colder and I don the deep winter tights).

by Weenie

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