As a long-time user of Rapha, I have seen prices go up over the last few years maybe in part due to their sponsorship of Team Sky, as well as other worldwide factors, so as I pondered placing an order for some of Rapha’s core range it made me think of something, is this Rapha’s gateway drug? Are they planning on hooking you on the core products hoping you will spend your money on something a bit harder next time? Or is the core range good enough anyway?
When the big black plastic bag arrived I immediately took my items out, the tights I am talking about now and the jacket I will save for another review. Rushing to a changing room at work I stripped off to try them on, now I’m not the slimmest chap, not like those men you will see on Rapha’s advertising but I think my legs have a good shape and as I studied the size chart and tape measure before I placed the order I was hoping this would be a formality. The tights are a great fit, I had chosen the unpadded model in Large and sure enough they slid on as I had hoped. Now I do have a problem area when it comes down to tights, I do have the daintiest ankles you will ever see, so tights are normally a bad fit in this area but the core tight is the closest fit I have had in a very long time.
This will seem a bit unfair, as it has come around to my day off from my normal paying job, the weather has taken a turn for the better, the sun is out, the sky is basically clear and the temperatures a balmy 12c – not the ideal day to be testing cold weather clothing you say! Well how many times have the forecasts been wrong? You go out wrapped up to find it’s a warm one, its happened to me a few times and you regret the clothing choices you have made. The core tights and jacket went on and out for the ride, I had paired the tights with some Castelli team shorts and a Rapha light weight base layer. The tights as I have said are a great fit for me and the shoulder straps are wide and very comfy. For the entire ride I never had a reason to think about them and that’s a good thing. The shaping around the knee was good and the brushed black fleece leg material had just the right amount of give that I felt no tightness and the stitching never chafed.
Now to the second day riding in them, or to be precise a night ride starting at the Rapha archive store in Shepton Mallet. As it was a spooky night ride, we had Toby one of the RCC members talking to us about the historic places we were visiting including a pub that people on the way to the gallows had their last meals. The temperature was cooler and there was also a lot of wind chill but the ride around the country lanes stayed warm with the help of the tights. I believe I will spend many hours keeping the Christmas pies burnt off this winter in these core products. These tights retail for £95 not far off what many other brands are selling tights for with similar features and when you get them as part of a bundle you can save 20%. So, to answer the question is the core range Rapha's gateway drug to get you hooked on the brand? Maybe but the core tights are so good – why would you need anything else!