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Rapha 2019 new releases: sneak peek

Sam Challis
30 Jan 2019

The new year will see Rapha working on some discerning collaborations and innovative new products

Hot on the heels of Rapha’s high-profile sponsorship of WorldTour team EF Education First-Drapac comes news of the brand’s new releases going into 2019.

Details are scarce at the moment but Rapha has given just enough away to have us intrigued - it is clear that Rapha is continuing to invest heavily in creative R&D in order to expand and refine its catalogue, despite already boasting a wide range of distinguished products.

A new Rapha road shoe design was spotted on the feet of several EF riders at the recent Tour Down under and Rapha has confirmed the shoes’ imminent release, billing them as ‘the world’s most comfortable footwear’.

Rapha credits a roomy toe box, snug heel and unique lacing system as the basis for its claims. The brand also explains that it has taken steps to protect the carbon sole too, meaning that should a ride take in more than just tarmac the sole will not scratch as easily as usual.

A second shoe design is on the way too which is more gravel-focussed. Interestingly previous Rapha shoes, such as its Climbers design, were produced with help from Giro but the new versions have been made top-to-toe by Rapha, so it is reasonable to assume that these new shoes will be markedly different from their predecessors.

Several women's bibshorts have received an update in the form of all-new pads that differ in design according to the collection and intended use. The Souplesse race bibshorts also feature a self-centring magnetic clasp attaching the straps to the bibshort body, which is said to make toilet stops easier and more subtle.

Rapha’s Brevet Cargo bibshorts garnered their fair share of controversy upon their release last year but the design is now broadly accepted and in many circles, praised. A big sticking point for plenty of potential users was the shorts’ price, so for lovers of the versatile design that are on a budget, there is the good news that the Cargo format will be introduced to Rapha’s Core range in early 2019.

It brings the benefits of additional, easy-to-reach pockets to a lower price point and is likely to be a widely applauded move by those in need of extra storage for bikepacking adventures or even just daily riding.

Special collaborations have always been a central pillar of Rapha’s catalogue and 2019 will be no different, as the brand details partnerships with Paul Smith, one of Rapha founder Simon Mottram’s original inspirations, and 80’s American track racer Nelson Vails.

Rapha has also created a special jersey to remember 'Il Pirata', Marco Pantani, marking the anniversary of the Italian's death. The special edition jersey will be pink, a colour so synonymous with Pantani, and include small tributes across the jersey to the rider.

There will also be a book, recently translated from Italian, which tells the story of those closest to Pantani and their memories of the man.

The resulting garments look to be bright and striking, and as usual contain several subtle design nods and influences pertaining to each collaborator.

Off the bike Rapha’s garments and accessories are no less technically proficient: 2019 sees the brand re-release its thick cotton T-shirts and sweatshirts incorporating chain-stitched logos instead of printed ones, while several bags get astute updates to help them withstand the rigours of the daily commute.

Take a look at the sneak peek yourself here. While the Rapha certainly has its detractors, no one can say it isn’t afraid to experiment. Cyclist for one looks forward to seeing exactly what the British brand has in store for 2019 - look out for reviews of the new releases going live in the coming months.

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