We had a tease of the new Brevet cargo shorts last month, and a lot of people were curious what Rapha was up to. In a move to focus more on riders heading off the pavement on gravel bike adventures, Rapha has spun off a new Explore segment of the Brevet endurance line to cater to more off-the-beaten-track exploring.
Rapha Explore clothing, taking Brevet off-road
Brevet was already designed for extended, multi-day and endurance riding. And with the growth of both gravel bike racing and adventure bikepacking, it had seen plenty of time on dirt and gravel roads. But Rapha wanted to offer more for the riders who needed endurance performance, but didn’t always want to look like a super reflective MAMIL.
The direction Rapha have gone is an interesting take on the same concept we’ve seen since Giro’s NewRoad line five years ago, taken a bit to extremes…
Rapha Explore Cargo Bib Shorts
Rapha’s has built the idea of the new Explore line around the idea that you can blend in a bit more by replacing a traditional fitted cycling jersey with less conspicuous tech tees & polo shirts. So to make that work you need a new set of shorts too. The solution is a very technical set of bib shorts with a healthy dose of cargo pockets. So the thinking goes that you’ll end up blending in better while wearing fitted bib shorts and a loose fit polo?
Anyway, the new shorts carry everything you would normally stuff in your jersey pockets in a stretchy mesh pocket on the outside of each leg and a pair of pockets incorporated into the mesh bib section of the shorts on your back, just above the waistline.
Not only do the new black, dark navy, or dark gray $270/230€ cargo shorts add four new pockets (the survival of that banana next to a hot pedaling leg seems dubious at best), but they are also made from a new lightweight version of Rapha’s waterproof Shadow fabric. We’ve had excellent experience with that original fabric in cold & wet conditions. But Rapha claims this new version is comfortable to ride in warmer temps up to 30°C/86°F, while still shedding water.
Otherwise they keep the same quick dry bib mesh and the same perforated chamois as the standard Brevet bibs, so they will wick on the go, and can be easily washed to dry overnight on multi-day trips. The mesh leg pockets are said to lie flat and almost unnoticed when empty, yet securely hold small items while riding. The rear pockets are situated high enough that you could wear a pair of overshorts to actually look more inconspicuous if that is the goal. Although we get the sense that would only be comfortable in cool weather.
Technical T-shirt & Technical Polo Shirt
To make the Explore concept work, Rapha created a couple of casual looking tops from the same breathable mesh fabric as their hot weather Flyweight jersey. Neither the $75/65€ tee or $100/85€ polo get designated into the Brevet or Explore collections, and just feature a loose-fit that can work on or off the bike.
Both tee & polo are available in a deep purple or black, plus a dark navy blue to hi-vis pink gradient for the tee which will be added soon.
Brevet Base Layer
So to make the system work on the bike you need to round it out with a new baselayer. The thinking is that this will be your first line of defense against sweat and odor, so for the first time Rapha has stitched in an undefined, but “permanent” antibacterial treatment. The new $80/70€ polyester Brevet Base Layer in teal, dark gray, or black is said to offer the performance of the Pro Team mesh baselayers, yet more comfortable against the skin, and adds some color stripes under the arms – because Brevet.
2018 Brevet updates & new colors
Besides the new tech, Brevet gets a few smaller updates. Last year’s $175/150€ Brevet Flyweight Wind Jacket gets a new bright orange look. While the $220/180€ Brevet Insulated Jacket with its Polartec Alpha insulation returns in a more stealthy black-on-black.
On the women’s side, the $110/95€ Brevet Gilet gets an overhaul, with an updated cut, the addition of rear pockets now for more usability, and some new colors.
Other than that it is just new colors. Teal blue, carbon gray, and white are the primary focus for 2018. And the trademark black, pink & white combo makes a return as well.