Rapha has a history of collaboration and its latest is with high-end Danish electronics company Bang & Olufsen (B&O), with the release of these customised £329 BeoPlay H6 headphones.
The headphones are “designed for use during warm-up and recovery, travel, and the turbo trainer sessions necessitated by competitive cycling,” says Rapha. It’s a common sight these days for professional racing cyclists to warm up on a turbo trainer before a race wearing a pair of headphones, both to block out distractions and providing some motivational tunes.
“People use it [music] to either motivate themselves or distract themselves from the pain,” says Dr Jon Baker, an exercise physiologist and coach at the MTN-Qhubeka cycling team. “The motivational use is called association. You put on a song you like and might get inspired, or the drumbeat might give you a rhythm to follow. Dissociation, the other use, is where you try and take the pain away from your legs. You daydream yourself away from the suffering, basically.”
B&O is a company well known for its high-end sound and television equipment, typically accompanied by high price tags too. These BeoPlay H6 headphones have been customised with some “signature” Rapha materials: the ear pads are made from the same African hair sheep leather used in Rapha’s GT Gloves, and the headband inner is made from the same material used for Rapha’s Pro Team Softshell Jacket.
The headphones have a durable and detachable audio jack on both earpieces and the inline remote and microphone, enabling voice control, is finished with a splash of pink cord. There’s a Rapha logo embossed on the side of each headphone and a clip to keep the cable in place when riding on the turbo or rollers. They're supplied in a protective case with a soft bag to look after then when travelling.
“B&O PLAY is a keen supporter of cycling and they understand the demands of a road cyclist,” says Rapha’s Head of Brand, James Fairbank. “Music is a catalyst for focused performance and we are delighted to pair our mission to develop the best performing products for road cycling with a company that so truly believes in the love of form and expression.”
The BeoPlay H6 with Rapha headphones are available now from rapha.cc, in all Rapha Cycle Club stores , at beoplay.com, and at select Bang & Olufsen stores worldwide.
They cost £329, the same as the regular Bang & Olufsen H6 headphones, so you're not paying more for the Rapha customisation.
More info at www.rapha.cc
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.