ⓘ Rapha, sportswear. Rapha Performance Roadwear is a British sportswear and lifestyle brand focused on road bicycle racing, clothing and accessories. Rapha headqu ..

                                     

ⓘ Rapha (sportswear)

Rapha Performance Roadwear is a British sportswear and lifestyle brand focused on road bicycle racing, clothing and accessories. Rapha headquarters are in London with a United States office in Portland, Oregon.

                                     

1. History

The company was started in London in early 2004 by Simon Mottram and Luke Scheybeler; the first products were launched in July of that year. The name Rapha was taken from the 1960s cycling team Rapha, which was named after the aperitif drink company Saint Raphael.

In 2007, Rapha partnered with British designer Paul Smith to create a range of limited-edition cycle clothing and accessories. In 2016, Rapha collaborated with bikepacking design pioneer Apidura on a limited range of cycling luggage.

Rapha clothing is produced in a number of different locations including the UK, Italy and the Far East. UK production included some early Merino wool pieces and also leather gloves which are made in Somerset, England. Italian production focuses on stretch fabric and stretch garments such as shorts and tights. In China production focuses on the most technical items, such as outerwear.

In recent years, Rapha has developed an international cycling club, in which members have access to exclusive club apparel and high-end bike rentals currently supplied by Canyon Bicycles. The Rapha Cycling Club RCC hosts rides and events at stores known as Clubhouses in 23 international locations throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Each clubhouse consists of a retail space that sells Rapha apparel and accessories, as well as a cafe that serves coffee and food while screening live cycle racing. Clubhouses also play host to a number of cycling-related events and art exhibitions throughout the year. In addition, Rapha operates mobile Clubhouses through Europe and the UK which support select rides and events throughout the season and, currently, a pop-up Clubhouse in Brussels.

In August 2017, it was announced that Rapha would be purchased by RZC Investments, a company setup by Steuart Walton, for £200m.

                                     

2. Sponsorships

Rapha used to co-own the UK-based cycling team Rapha Condor–JLT with London bike brand Condor Cycles and the cyclocross team Rapha Focus; at the end of 2014 Rapha announced they would end their grassroots sponsorship to focus on Team Sky and Team Wiggins Le Col. In August 2012, it was announced that as of 2013, Rapha would be producing the clothing for the British cycling team, Team Sky. Australian Cyclocross champion for 2013 and 2014, Lisa Jacobs, chooses to wear Rapha clothing. On 3 November 2015 Rapha announced that their Team Sky sponsorship would end after the 2016 season. In an effort to grow and promote womens cycling, Rapha began supplying clothing to the UCI Womens WorldTour team Canyon-SRAM. EF Education First started wearing Rapha clothing in the 2019 race season.