OK, so at first is does seem a bit crazy that Rapha has gotten into the brassiere business. I mean what are they going to offer next, merino underwear? (Oops, of course they’ve been doing that for several years now, and we’ve heard that they are really nice.) But let’s be serious for a minute. Up to now women who are riding at a high level have most often had to pick whatever regular sports bra they would use for any athletic activity and hope it transitioned well onto the bike. Some apparently make the cross over well, but just as often they either don’t seem to offer the support needed while spending hours hunched over a handlebar, or their design doesn’t really work so well with a pair of bib shorts.
In any case, when we told our women test riders that Rapha was now offering bras, their ears all pricked up. We had their attention. Apparently they were all at least a bit unsatisfied with their current support situation. And having experienced reliable performance from Rapha, they wanted to know more. If you are like them, hop on past the break and we’ll get more in to the details…
Rapha’s take on their decision to offer cycling-specific bras essentially comes down to the fact that it is the first layer a woman puts on to go for a bike ride. While shorts are designed to forgo any other undergarments for their best performance, bib straps and jerseys cannot offer the individualized fit and support that meets the needs of a performance minded cyclist. On top of that most sports bras are designed for women to be standing and active upright, yet when you are leaned forward and breathing hard on the bike your chest moves in different ways and so you really could use a different shape of support.
So unsurprisingly Rapha would rather you ride with their full kit from head to toe, all designed for optimal performance on the bike, and a cyclist’s sports bra was the last product holdout to complete their full offering for women. Two different bra styles are now available, with light and medium support, designed to meet the needs of women training, riding, and racing on the road, with cuts optimized to offer support in a riding position.
The Rapha Light Support Bra is a seamless sports bra designed for long and lower impact rides. It is made from a stretchy, wicking fabric and uses open knit panels in the middle of the chest, under the arms, and down the center of the back to offer maximum ventilation where you get the hottest.
The 40£/45€/$60 bra has wide flat straps and a wide underband to offer comfortable support and keep it in place. It was designed to fit best under Rapha’s Classic bibs.
The Rapha Medium Support Bra is a bit more high performance with structured cups and more support (and removable inserts). It is intended for higher tempo riding and racing, and its stretchy fabric was designed to offer unrestrictive support in a racing position while feeling like it was barely there.
The 50£/55€/$75 medium support bra is trimmed down around its straps and slightly narrower underband for a more slim fit, while still offering a bit more support for hard efforts on the bike. It uses laser cut perforations in the same high sweat areas as the light bra to improve ventilation and heat escape. Its open shoulder blade shape is designed to layer perfectly with Rapha’s Souplesse mesh baselayer and bib shorts.
Both bras are available in 4 sizes from XS to L, fitting cup sizes from A to D. The both come in either black or white, and are available now from Rapha.
Do you want to know even more of the back story on the bras? Rapha has a behind-the-scenes story with their designer Maria Olsson that goes into the development of the new products.