Rapha - the London based brand that rose to fame with its traditionally themed 'Classic' collection - has marked its intention to enter a new market with its new 'Crit' range.
The capsule collection - which is limited edition and consists of a men's aerosuit, men's bibs, two men's jerseys and one jersey for women - is designed to cater for fast and furious hour long races on closed circuits and features an 'oil slick' design.
The men's Crit Pro Team aerosuit (£230) and men's Crit Pro Team jersey (£120), in 'Pro Fit', are tailored to racing, with the addition of a number pocket, which protects the delicate material from numerous assaults from safety pins.
There's also a men's and women's Crit Flyweight jersey (£100), both in 'Regular Fit'. These use high end, lightweight fabric but do not have the added mesh pocket.
Across the range - which also incudes men's Crit Pro Team bibshorts (£170) - reflective logos have been added, with the intention of creating a 'pop' at evening races.
The shorts feature the dual density chamois pad used on the Pro Team Bib shorts II, but with a focus on shorter, more intense efforts whilst the aerosuit shares the same fabric, with a slightly longer leg.
All of the items are limited edition, with only 300 aerosuits in production. We do wonder how large the target audience is - since the British Cycling regulations (section 8, page 73, 'Dress') state: "When competing under these Regulations riders...shall wear Club or Region registered design and colours, as is appropriate", with the only exclusions being "Youth, Fourth and Provisional category licence holders and BC non licence holders".
However, with the growing fixed gear crit scene - which is not regulated by British Cycling - perhaps the focus is on those favouring bikes without brakes or gears.
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Cycling Weekly's Digital Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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