Rapha has today launched a custom cycle clothing programme for both men and women that covers two ranges, Pro Team and Classic, with minimum purchase quantities of as few as five items and up to 40% discount on large orders. The online kit design tool allows anyone to design their own kit using hundreds of pre-loaded colours and patterns, or to upload their own design.
The Pro Team range features Rapha's leading performance technology while Classic is a more relaxed proposition. Rapha plans to expand its custom offering over the course of the year, adding its Core range and more Classic designs.
"Rapha Custom is designed to improve the existing consumer experience of ordering custom kit, with a revolutionary user-friendly platform and a scaled pricing structure," says Rapha. "Save time and money by using the simple design tool to create fully customised Rapha product in minutes. There are limitless possibilities for designs, with hundreds of colourways and options to upload team and sponsor logos."
We had the chance to have a go with that online design ourselves ahead of launch and it really is simple to use (hence the road.cc jerseys here that designer Oli knocked up; they're not actually available for sale). You get to choose the basic layout template – whether you want a plain jersey, for example, bands, stripes, or whatever. Then you pick the colour of each of the panels and add any patterns you like: spots, stars or zigzags, for instance. You can choose the angle and size of any patterns you've chosen or upload your own graphics.
You see all the changes you make on screen as you go, and it's possible to view the clothing from various angles.
Order quantities start from as low as five items of clothing. Discounts of up to 40% on large orders mean that jerseys will cost as little as £50 when the range is complete.
As an example, if you wanted to design a custom Classic Flyweight Jersey for your club or a group of friends, the price would be £110 per unit if you bought 5-9 of them, gradually falling to £75 per unit if you bought 100 or more.
Sizing is the same across all Rapha Custom clothing and a sample kit is available so you can try it out before committing to buy.
"The premium Clubhouse and Customer Service support enable customers to attend a fit kit appointment with a Custom Champion in each location," says Rapha. "Rapha Clubhouses will be equipped with the Rapha Custom tool box consisting of inspirational design guide books, Rapha Custom brochure, fabric swatches, reference books and sample kit of each product."
There are five Rapha Clubhouses in the UK, all of them in England: two in London (Soho and Spitalfields), one in Manchester, one in Bicester (Oxfordshire) and one in Kilver Court (Shepton Mallet, Somerset). https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/clubhouses
The Rapha Custom range currently comprises short sleeve and long sleeve jerseys, bib shorts, gilets, base layers and arm warmers. Leg warmers and knee warmers will be coming soon, along with many more shorts and jerseys and the Pro Team Aero Suit.
For more info head over to rapha.cc/custom
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.