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Rapha Spring/Summer 2011 range preview + video

New Pro Team kit, bigger women's range, more urban clobber & dandyish details

Any new offering from Rapha is always guaranteed to get a bit of interest here on, not to mention a lively discussion, and the London-based brand has revealed the first details of its Spring/Summer 2011 range which we’re sure will be no exception.

Instead of releasing the collection in one go, Rapha has chosen this year to announce details of individual product groups, each accompanied by a short film showcasing that specific part of the range, and the first to receive that treatment are the ever-popular country jerseys – check out the video below.


Getting Ready from RAPHA on Vimeo.

In the past, the line-up has featured the likes of Great Britain, France, The Netherlands and Belgium, but joining old stalwart Italy for 2011 are two new designs, Germany and Spain, and pretty striking they are, too.

A few years back, the national colours appeared across the chest, before Rapha decided that an armband is the way to go, so on the black Italian jersey, as last year, you have the tricolore stripes on the left arm.

Similarly, the German jersey has a black, red and gold band on a white background – bringing to mind Jurgen Klinsmann as much as it does Jan Ulrich – while the Spanish jersey looks very clean with the red, gold and red horizontal stripes of the national flag on a red background. Nice.

As far as the technical aspects are concerned, the jerseys contain all the features that you’ve come to expect from Rapha: three rear pockets; plus an inner pump sleeve and an internal valuables pocket; and  a reflective tab at the back too. There's also some nice little details – the the ring on the rear pocket on the Spanish jersey is gold rather than silver, for example – and are made from Sportwool with reinforced rear pockets.

Other features of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection that will be launched in the weeks ahead include updates to the training and racing offer, a new pro team line aimed at elite level riders developed with the help of Chris Newton and Kristian House and an expanded women's range and new products in the urban range too.

Rapha and Paul Smith will also be continuing their collaboration on certain garments which will, we are promised "combine sartorial flair and dandyish details with modern fabrics and innovative design." The Rapha + Paul Smith pieces will be aimed at the urban rider but will also combine plenty of technical fabrics and details - each piece of clothing will also include Words That Confused My Father technical cycling terms that Smith junior baffled Smith senior with back in the day.

Rapha are building on their womens range with their new Spring/Summer women's collection which will include a new Club Jersey, women specific Grand Tour gloves and a lightweight women's gilet.

On the urban front Rapha will be launching their already much discussed riding jeans which we first mentioned in our preview of their 2010 Autumn/Winter range when they'd already been 2 years in development - we'll be interested to see if the final garments differ from those we ran pictures of last autumn.

Jeans aside, there's an updated range of Rapha Shirts, and there will also be a new merino City Jersey (the zipped pockets that are a signature detail on Rapha's classic Club and Country jerseys aren't so comfortable when your sitting at a desk – yes, we know that's not what you're meant to do in a cycling jersey, but some people do… so we've been told. We'd want a jersey made for wearing on and off the bike to work when you're sitting in an office chair so we'll be interested to see the pocket detailing on that one. Oh, and there will be a new colourway (their word not ours, but a perfectly good one to describe a colourscheme combining more than one color – so let's not go there) for the Rapha trousers – multi coloured trousers, well, if anyone can pull it off as it were…

Rapha also have a new luggage range for Spring/Summer 2011 with updated versions of their backpack, and Race Bag and a new shoulder bag and wash bag. Critical opinion has divided sharply in the past over Rapha's luggage (not that it seems to have hurt sales) with various bits of luggage being both loved or laughed at in equal measure. That said Rapha's luggage has always shown the same attention to detail and quality workmanship as the rest of their range. We've always regarded the Rapha Backpack in particular as being a well designed piece of luggage – if a touch expensive, although interestingly given the number of versions it's been through Rapha themselves seem never to have been entirely happy with it.

For Spring Summer/Summer 2011 Rapha are promising luggage that uses "robust and protective fabrics, innovative construction and with a strong visual language" we're guessing they mean it'll have a stripe, okay we've got a pic so it wasn't that hard a guess but our money is on more stripes.

If you do carry stuff on your person on the bike there is no denying that good, well designed luggage really does make a difference and Rapha certainly put a great deal of thought and creativity in to the design process of everything they do so we'll be interested to see what they come up with, particularly as Rapha say this range has "something for every mode of a cyclist’s life on and off the bike."

We'll have more on the latest from Rapha as, and when they are released. You can find out more about Rapha's Spring/Summer 2011 range at's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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