Rapha Custom has been shut down. Launched just over two years ago, the UK clothing maker had created an ambitious project to make it easy for riders looking to customize the look of their cycling kit, while maintaining the quality and attention to detail that Rapha built its brand on.
But it turns out that it was harder than it seems, and Rapha had difficulty delivering the level of quality and service they hoped for, so has decided to call it quits on consumer custom, focusing on the continued development and innovation of their production cycling clothing.
Rapha Custom stops offering custom cycling kits
We were early adopters of the Rapha Custom project, with high hopes of the same premium fit, fabrics & chamois as Rapha’s production road cycling clothing. By and large, we’ve been quite happy with the Rapha Custom Bikerumor kit we designed and had produced.
And we’ll likely to continue to ride in much of it for some time. But going through the powerful, but limited online configuration tool, it was clear that the user experience was a difficult problem to solve.
Then receiving the kit, it was apparent some tiny details had to be simplified to make the customization process sustainable. The gear was really good, but little differences like missing zipper garages, no zippered jersey pocket & pared-down leg grippers meant it wasn’t quite the ‘great’ level you’d get from Rapha’s Pro Team kit.
All of that seems to have boiled down to why Rapha Custom has come to an end. Rapha Custom just couldn’t sustainably match the high quality level customers have come to expect from Rapha’s production clothing or the brand’s overall experience. Cutting out consumer custom seems to be a move to not let it water down the brand overall.
Read Rapha’s full end of Custom statement below:
In 2019 we launched Rapha Custom with the ambition of creating a unique and innovative custom cycling apparel service. Our goal was to develop a digital experience that puts the design power in the riders’ hands, whilst offering the same Rapha product quality, performance and innovation that customers have come to expect. We are incredibly proud of what we achieved but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have struggled to deliver an experience, both digitally and physically, that our customers, local teams and communities expect from the Rapha brand. So we have taken the difficult decision to close Rapha Custom.
As a brand we have always chosen the harder route, the more rewarding route and the route that we believe will benefit our customers most. Our Rapha Custom ambition was the harder route and we have learnt a lot over the last two years that will help drive our brand forward.
Our decision to step away from Rapha Custom will ensure sharper focus on our main ranges, which will allow us to continue to develop the most innovative performance cycling apparel, drive the sport forward and continue to inspire millions of people around the world to ride.
It’s worth noting that we applaud the effort. Nothing ventured, nothing lost…but also nothing potentially gained. It’ll be interesting to see how other small batch efforts (like DeFeet’s new custom-printed socks) fare, and how others will continue to iterate on the concept.