Rapha’s latest new product unexpectedly appears to be a Pro Team level Lightweight Backpack, for time pressed cyclists trying to combine their training plans with the only ride they can squeeze into a busy schedule (or national lockdown)… the daily bike commute. Beyond speedy roadies on their way to the office, a new Lightweight Commuter Jacket keeps visibility & ventilation high for the rest of us bike commuters as warmer weather approaches. Then, the ever-popular and classic Country Jerseys are back in a new limited run…
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Backpack
Yep, it’s a Rapha bike commuter backpack, but for ambitious amateur road racers. Developed as a solution for pre and post-work training rides when you still have to carry the essentials to the office, the $115 / 100€ Pro Team Lightweight Backpack has 10L of carrying capacity.
The fairly blocky-shaped bag sits high up on your back with the idea of being more aerodynamic, tucked in behind your helmet. That also keeps your jersey pockets mostly free to carry your regular training essentials. The waterproof fabric & water-resistant zipper construction of the flat, mesh-backed bag is rather simple to haul paper-sized work items, or a change of clothes & shoes.
Then, a more shaped & sophisticated set of shoulder straps offers comfort and a secure fit, plus easy-access storage for your phone, wallet & keys. A pair of sternum straps keep the bag close to your body without needing a waist belt, with no movement during out of the saddle efforts.
A large reflective panel at the back boosts visibility of the otherwise all-black bag, and a Rapha pink interior makes it easy to sort through what you are hauling.
Rapha Lightweight Commuter Jacket
Rapha kind of soft-rolled-out the new Lightweight Commuter Jacket last week because they didn’t want to rock the boat too much when everyone was still trying to figure out the best way to position riding your bike while coronavirus restrictions were rolling out in full force. But if you happen to be somewhere that recognizes the bike as a responsible way to get to work while #socialdistancing, a highly visibly, breathable jacket is a helpful tool for making your commute safer and more comfortable.
So, that’s what this $110 / 95€ windproof and water-resistant jacket is, a bright & breathable jacket to keep you comfortable and visible on the road, no matter what spring weather dishes out – available in six different colors.
The versatile jacket is cut loose to fit over street clothes (like the original Commuter Jacket), but is much more breathable, with a large mesh shoulder panel to limit overheating, plus 2 front pockets & a thin hood that will fit under a helmet for the occasional cloudburst.
The whole thing packs down into a built-in stuff sack so you can always have it when needed. Then, reflective pixel print lower back helps you be seen in low light, and reflective cuffs boost visibility when signaling turns.
Limited edition Rapha Country Jerseys, classic styling for modern rides
The classic Country Jerseys were one of the first Rapha products I wanted almost a decade ago. As cycling jerseys were so often crowded out with logos, the merino Country Jerseys just stuck to a simple solid color body with national color bands, with just the simple Rapha script logo.
Now the modern wool blend jerseys are back, with a fabric Rapha says is “lighter, softer & more breathable” (now just 36% merino to 64% polyester) harkening back to those days before major corporate sponsorships.
Rapha says they picked the four countries represented by this limited edition run, based on the heavy hitters that came from Worlds the year before to line up at the long forgotten 1970 UCI Road World Championships in Leicester, England fifty years ago. Thus, the 1969 & 1970 podiums of Netherlands, Denmark, Italy & Belgium are joined by the UK for this limited run.
With Jean-Pierre Monseré taking the 1970 title, his light blue plus the Belgian tricolore takes center stage for this special edition, while the rest get more subdued looks. Rapha also adds a special edition $40 / 35€ cotton cap from the Flandria team of the 21-year-old champ, who tragically died in a racing collision just over a half of a year later.
The special edition $190 / 165€ Belgian jersey features classically-inspired (if slightly annoying) quarter-length metal zippers, plus knitted collars & cuff, and traditional button-closed pockets.
The regular $165 / 145€ Classic Country Jerseys for Italy, UK, Netherlands & Denmark feature the same base fabric but modern detailing, like full-length zips & a 3+1 pocket layout, plus detailed embroidery.
Pro Team mainstay updates…
We’ve also even heard whispers of tweaks and new colors coming very soon to updated favorites in the core Rapha Pro Team lineup. Nothing has been officially released as far as we know, but new versions of the Pro Team Jersey and Pro Team Bib Shorts II in new blues and orange pop up when I head to the Rapha website.