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Rapha expands Core range for 2019

8 Apr 2019
Verdict:

Rapha’s most affordable line now includes Cargo bibshorts and totally renovated jerseys

Rapha is known for its technical Pro Team racewear and luxurious Classic apparel - both are top-end ranges with premium price tags. For a few years now however, the brand has offered a Core line alongside its other collections, which uses pared-back design features and materials to provide Rapha equipment at a more widely-affordable price point.

The Core line started with just a single jersey and bibshort design and has steadily expanded in the time since, but Spring/Summer 2019 sees the first major overhaul of the range since its introduction.

The new Core line offers multiple bibshort designs, a totally new version of the original Core jersey and even a children’s jersey option, Rapha’s first product to cater for little ones.

Notably, a Core Cargo bibshort design is now available. Rapha introduced its Explore Cargo bibshorts last year - the design stood out for including external mesh pockets on the outside of the thigh panels and the lower back.

While some questioned the necessity of the feature, the Cargo bibshort concept has been widely accepted, finding favour among ultra-distance riders, and has even been imitated by other brands since its launch.

Rapha includes the same mesh pocket layout on the new Core Cargo bibshorts but where the Explore Cargo shorts use a more technical body fabric and cost £195, the Core Cargo bib shorts use a simpler design to keep the cost to £110.

This should help consumers justify the shorts’ use for everyday duties where the extra, easy-to-reach storage should come in handy.

While the focus may be on value for money, astute design touches should make sure no corners have been cut when it comes to performance. The chamois is the same used in Rapha’s Classic II bibshorts, the body fabric is woven from a dense, supportive polyester blend and seams have been kept to a minimum to reduce the chances of chafing.

Rapha has previously renovated its Classic and Pro Team jerseys, adding a ‘II’ to the end of their names to denote the revision. The Core jersey has undergone a similar process and duly is now called ‘Core jersey II’.

It now looks more similar to the Classic jersey, with a contrast band of white on the left sleeve and white branding. Rapha says it has designed the new jersey with a softer, stretchier marl fabric, adjusted the fit on the shoulders, and improved the ergonomics of the pockets too.

Crucially the price has dropped to £60, which makes it Rapha’s cheapest jersey yet and a very compelling option when compared against the offerings from other brands at a similar price point.

At first glance, the expanded Core range looks to continue the range’s original remit of striking a nice balance between comfort, performance and value. We’ll reserve judgement until we’ve actually road-tested the kit, but as the new designs are available immediately it shouldn’t be too long before we’ve got some miles in wearing it.

Look out for an in-depth review on Cyclist in the coming months.

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