A lot of my fellow bloggers have been making a big deal lately about Giro’s New Road collection, their line of high performance, yet decidely more casual, riding gear. Sure, I’ll profess to a little bit of sour grapes about being left out of the loop on the press release, but when it all comes down to, Giro is trying to elbow in on Rapha.
Rapha did high performance casual wear first and they still do it better. There, I said it.
Rapha continues to innovate and their Spring/Summer 2013 line is the best evidence of that. The line features new designs for women as well as updates to existing favorites.
One of my favorites is the new Merino Hooded Top. I love hooded sweatshirts and I love wool, so this is like the best of two worlds coming together. If there were a Venn diagram for ‘wool’ and ‘hoodie’ it would just look like one big cozy circle. Here’s their description:
The Merino Hooded Top is an innovative, mid-weight outer layer that uses an ingenious mix of fabrics to create a top that offers high performance with contemporary, urban styling. Windproof front panels keep out chills when riding, while the 100 % merino body and arms keep you snug on and off the bike. The jacket also features clever functional details such as a detachable hi-vis tab and a roll-up hood.
I’m also really digging the 3/4 Shorts. While I don’t have a pair from Rapha, I have similar shorts from another maker and they are one of my favorite things to ride in. Rapha’s version have a slim fit in a plus-four style and are elegantly tailored. The shorts sit flat across the front so are stylish enough to be worn off the bike.
Women get some new merino baselayers that are cut specifically for a woman’s shape. They’re made from the highest grade of New Zealand merino wool. Wool makes a great base layer because it is extremely comfortable, wicks moisture superbly and is naturally breathable and odour resistant.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my all time favorite pieces of clothing: Rapha’s short sleeve Merino polo. Maybe it’s the cut, maybe the fabric, but when I wear it, I just feel cool. Arthur Fonzarelli cool. Steve McQueen cool.
The polo shirt has a casual fit and side panels ensure it retains its shape both on and off the bike. Offset shoulder seams prevent bag straps rubbing when cycling and stylish touches include a pink gingham lining inside the collar and buttons stamped with Rapha logotype. The right arm has an embroidered armband stripe and Rapha logo. The back of the jersey has a single rear pocket.