Rapha Cycling

During the last ten years the traditional and leading bike brands have been putting more and more effort and resources in their brand identity. They also started to realize, as brands in other fields did , the commercial value of their online identity and the use of the channel for direct sales. The nature of the channel however also allows smaller brands, which before would have been condemned to local markets, to offer and sell their products on a global scale. All it needs is a few clever guys and decent strategy…

Two months ago while browsing Vimeo I bumped into “The 1910 Challenge” – 4 guys re-biking the first ever mountain stage in the history of the Tour de France. The 14 mins short documentary was filmed in HD and gave a really good impression of the beauty and scenery of the Pyrenees. Afterwards I discovered more videos on their channel all filmed very stylishly and after a few views I checked the rapha site to realize they are actually an independent manufacturer of high-quality bike clothing. Unlike other (big) cycling brands they don’t put thousand-and-one large logos on their clothing and have, let’s admit it, mostly screaming colors and awful designs. Calling them the “Louis Vuitton of cycling”,as my colleague did, is probably a bridge too far and there is brands out there far more expensive (yes, that’s you Assos), but stylish for sure.

Ok, you caught us. Of course we had to order some gear...

Rapha approaches cycling from the heart of the sport: everyone can ride a bike and enjoy being out there, and, of course, tell his or her heroic story afterwards. Nicely filmed and every now and then with a reference to the “legends of cycling” there aim is still to sell shirts and pants, but unlike other brands they ad something to the (real) bike community – a simple laugh or a nice old skool event. Recently they released 3 short documentaries you could enjoy for one week each. Missed them? Ah, you were not following our tweets were you? The trailers are still online.

In the end we of course had to order some gear – the other stuff wears out so fast eh? – to check the full story. Easy e-store access and purchase funnel, smooth delivery (5 days) with nice packaging and an e-voucher for free shipping sent to you two weeks later. Our first experience gets the premium comingthru seal of approval. And, by the way, the quality and finish of the products is as good as they claim them to be!

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By Maarten Patteeuw

Maarten is an avid road and mountain biker who lives and breathes everything rolling on two wheels. You can follow his rantings on Twitter by looking for @maapathel.