Point: A couple months ago, a customer and friend went on a rant in the shop about how Rapha was going to start making soaps and other skincare items. Don’t get that wrong, he has a lot of their clothes and thinks they are they best. However, he believes that when a company is as good at something as they are at making clothes, then they should just stick to that.

Conterpoint: A fellow shop employee argued the opposite, that a company so good at one thing, may just do other things right too. Why would Rapha not make the best soap ever? They like soap right? Why bother if it isn’t better than what is available? So, he bought some of the soap to prove it (at $9 a bar, no less).

Thus began weeks of him talking about how awesome this soap was. How good it smelled. How sudsy it got. How long it is lasting. How smooth his skin felt. What a good deal it was, considering how long it lasts, compared to other fancy soaps. Since my wife often says I don’t take very good care of my skin and body, given what I put it through, I told him to get me a bar with his next order.

See what I thought after the jump…

When it arrived, I was a little off put by how small it was. For $9, I had a mental expectation of something a little more substantial. This of course, was not keeping in mind how long it lasts (seriously, this guy won’t shut up about how long it lasts). I was also taken aback by the Ventoux-heavy packaging, complete with route map on the pamphlet, because I’m reading Put Me Back On My Bike (the Tom Simpson biography, who in case you aren’t familiar, died on Mt. Ventoux during the ’67 Tour de France) right now, and my mind is very in that place right now. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they recommend it for washing their gloves, which I wear.

First impression was that it smells really, really wonderful. Luckily, I got to ride home that night, and give the soap a true test of cleaning my sweaty, dirty body after a hard twenty miles in road debris and exhaust. I have to admit, I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped to be. It still smelled really, really wonderful, but it wasn’t all that sudsy and awesome otherwise. After discussing this at length in the shop the next day, it was determined that I shouldn’t use a washcloth with it, because they are nasty, they breed disease, mold and mildew and they just ruin the awesomeness that is Rapha soap.

That night, I followed this advice and he was right. With just the soap and my hands, it was a far more pleasurable experience. After my shower, I felt fresh and clean, and thought I smelled really, really wonderful. Turns out that my wife disagreed, as the soap contains Patchouli, which she doesn’t care for. Eventually, we agreed that despite that scent, the soap was awesome and all the fancy ingredients were helping my poor skin. Therefore I will continue to use it, and in exchange, she gets to call me a “hippy.” And it turns out the size isn’t really an issue, as the bar is rather dense, and a week’s worth of showers have hardly shown a dent.

The moral of the story: Rapha is so awesome at making soap that I’m willing to be called a “hippy” to use it.

PS- If anyone from Rapha reads this, you should consider a cologne in this scent (albeit, a little lighter on the patchouli, of course).


  1. Clothing, soap, anti-acne cream…seems like a slippery slope. I like a good cleaning as much as the next person, but Rapha appears quickly headed towards becoming a charicature of itself.

  2. Anti-acne cream? Where are you seeing that?

    I disagree with the notion that they are moving in that direction. They make clothing, including high quality bibs. It seems natural to me that they would make a chamois cream to match, and embrocation can be viewed as an extension of that. Think of Assos; does anyone question them for their production of chamois cream? No, they buy the crap out of it.

    Sure, soap pushes the envelope a bit, but why just rest on your laurels?

  3. because Assos makes shorts w/ chamois- that’s why it makes sense for Assos. Rapha +soap, not so much. But whatever, I think they are already a parody of themselves- the purple Paul stuff comes to mind…

    Rapha is now in the skin care business- Personally, I’m hoping for a Eau de’ Le Blaireau. Sooo fraaahnch

  4. Touche on the Paul Smith stuff.

    In my book, soap is skin care, just like chamois cream. Assos also makes a post-ride lotion to aid in “normalising” the skin through natural ingredients. It’s all the same family of products, it hardly hurts to have choices

  5. i tried it. it does smell good but its WAAAAY too small and squares arent common soap sizes for a reason – the rectangle seems superior.

  6. For anyone keeping track who, or who is concerned about the size of the soap, I just opened a new bar yesterday. So the first one lasted about eight weeks, which isn’t bad.

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