While Rapha is not a 2009 phenomenon, the Hot 50 selectors felt that each year its story keeps getting better. The name may be unfamiliar to some, but for bike fanatics this niche brand is the Prada of the cycling world.
Cycling enthusiasts Simon Mottram and Luke Scheybeler set up Rapha three years ago with a passion for design and cycle racing. Both have come from design backgrounds, with Mottram, who is managing director, trained as a specialist brand consultant at Price Waterhouse Coopers and branding group Interbrand, among others. Creative director Scheybeler’s background is in interaction design, having worked at Rufus Leonard and Sapient, where the two met.
Rapha promises to celebrate road riding and develop the best-performing and most stylish cycling clothes and accessories in the world. The company uses modern fabrics, with natural layers detailed with contemporary design touches such as button-holes through which cables for MP3 players can be passed.
The company hit the headlines in March last year after unveiling its £3000 three-piece cycling suit. The garment is a result of a year’s work with Savile Row tailor Timothy Everest, who responded to a brief to tackle the growth in people commuting by bicycle, and to address the compromises evident in current cyclewear.