I have never been tempted to cycle in a team kit before. But then, I’d never seen one as beautiful as the Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit, which is one of the best looking women’s cycle kits I’ve ever seen. Since the first images were released months ago, I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for it to be released.
Finally, on Wednesday, it happened: the email arrived from Rapha and faster than you can shout ‘Strava!’ I was parting with an obscene amount of money. I’m aware that £300 for a cycling kit is pretty steep. But boy oh boy, I wanted it so badly.
But what you all want to know, I suppose, is how it performs. Well, the kit arrived on Saturday and the following day I wore it on an 85km ride to put it through its paces.
The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit is seriously good looking. Black, emblazoned with jewel tones and the subtlest of branding, it looks so slick. The aero cut of the team-issue jersey is divine: it’s far and away the most flattering cycling jersey I have worn. It’s close fitting in a way that skims rather than clings; the mesh sleeves are just the right length and fit; and, as I hate having anything fastened up to my neck, I’m happy to say it looks great unzipped a few inches. Sunday was an ideal day to ride out in the kit; the Coldblack technology used in the jersey to reflect the sun’s rays and wick away moisture was perfect in 28-degree heat.
The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit jersey is long: I can pull it right down over my bum. This is a very good thing: at 5’8” I’m fairly tall and, being somewhat top heavy, I’m delighted to have a jersey which doesn’t ride up. I didn’t have to tug it down at the front once. If you’re petite, there is a risk that it might be a little too long. I find Rapha sizing tends to be a little on the small side, so I ordered my usual size medium bib shorts and size large jersey to accommodate my broad shoulders and bust. It’s spot on for my frame.
The race fit Rapha Canyon//SRAM bib shorts look similarly great: they are really nicely cut and the styling is spot on. The bib straps are well positioned and soft – they didn’t cut in to my shoulders at all.
The leg length is generous, the leg grippers keep everything in place and the breathable fabric feels good. I did expect a slightly more robust pad; it doesn’t feel quite as supportive as the chamois in my Rapha winter padded tights.
Being a particularly sweaty cyclist, I’m obsessive about washing kit as soon as I’ve worn it. It’s already been through the washing machine and drip dried as per instructions, and all’s well.
The Rapha Canyon//SRAM team kit is far and away the best looking kit I’ve worn. Expensive, yes; but it’s one of the best looking women’s cycling kits of 2016, and I felt a million dollars wearing it. Well done Rapha and the Canyon//SRAM team for putting together such an iconic kit – I feel like this is a big step in moving the standard of women’s cycling kit forward. The designers have set the bar very high indeed.
The jersey is priced at £130 and the bib shorts at £170. You can view the whole range here.