Rapha collaborates on $3,500 three-piece cycling suit

Posted by on February 11th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

The suit is a collaboration between Rapha and famous London tailor Timothy Everest.
(Photo: Rapha)

Rapha, the UK-based cycling apparel maker (with U.S. headquarters in Portland) has taken velocouture to a new level.

According to an email I just received from Rapha’s U.S. General Manager Slate Olson, Rapha has finished a 12-month collaboration with one of London’s premiere fine tailors, Timothy Everest.

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Niiiice.

The result of that collaboration is a three-piece suit (jacket, waistcoat and trousers) that, according to Rapha, “is at home both on the bike and in the boardroom,” and that, “offers elegance, thoughtful touches and luxury finishing.”

If you’re interested, you’d better decide quickly. Then, check your calendar and be ready to fly to Manhattan with $3,500 for the bike outfit of your dreams. Everest is only available for custom fittings for one day (February 24th) and he only has time for five of Rapha’s “best US customers”.

$3,500. I sure would hate to go down wearing it. I wonder if Everest offers a service/warranty plan?

The fittings will be held in the showroom of Signature Cycles Manhattan.

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Loren
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Loren

Can I wear it while driving my hummer? What if I spill my starbucks on it, is it teflon coated?

KJ
Guest
KJ

oo maybe some of those bailout bonus getting bankers can buy one.

3500K for clothes? for real? thanks I’ll stick to goodwill and my sewing machine.
gross.

JJ
Guest

save me one in blue!

snort.

froot dawg
Guest
froot dawg

i think i would look great with “team beer” spraypainted on the back!! i wonder if we can get a price cut if we buy 20 or more? like $3000! what a bargin!!!

T Williams
Guest
T Williams

At Loren:
Only if your bike is mounted on the back!

robert
Guest
robert

You could buy two rohloffs for that.

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

“…at home both on the bike and in the boardroom…”

Sayin’ it don’t make it so. Ugh.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

“You could buy two rohloffs for that.”

And here I thought they only sold pumpkins, who knew the kids were up for grabs.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I bet it’d look great with the new KEEN commuter shoes…not

Kevin H
Guest
Kevin H

Hate to break it to you all, but $3,500 for a suit from a Savile Row tailor is a pretty normal price.

Riding through Portland in a suit is a great way to show people that cyclists aren’t a bunch of grungy granola eating hippies and 20-something hipsters in ill-fitting castaways. Wearing beautiful clothes while riding shows how accessible and easy cycling is. If the average person doesn’t think they can dress nicely and ride to work, they won’t.

For some great examples on how to look great on a bike, check out The Sartorialist’s blog at http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/search/label/Bicycles.

Dianna
Guest
Dianna

But what are the pants (sorry, trousers) like? The jacket looks perfectly nice, but I don’t often find my jackets incompatible with biking anyway. But the pants, well, they might be wide at the bottom and get in my chain, they might have fragile seams around the rear that won’t hold up, they might have silly slash pockets that’ll dump my keys out if I lean back on my seat, and quite often the dress pants I can find have all three.

Surely $3500 can solve these problems, and I want to see how.

scoot
Guest
scoot

It looks lovely. If I made a suit like that and had to price it to cover my time at minimum wage? Heh. It would probably cost $35,000.

Tony P
Guest

I love it. Would look great astride a bespoke bicycle.
So what if it’s expensive? This is pre-industiral craftsmanship at its finest. Just because you can’t afford it doesn’t make it a bad idea.

metal cowboy
Guest

Kevin,

It doesn’t take $3,500 to dress nicely. But if you’ve got $3,500 sitting around for a suit, I’ve got some bike projects you can toss that disposable income at. I’ll bring a designer catcher’s mitt so I can look sharp as the money hurls in.

With high end retailers shutting their doors around the country ( NPR did a piece on this last week) this seems like an ill timed collaboration sort of an answer looking for a problem. I simply use a rain jacket or change when I get there.

Zaphod
Guest

That’s cool and not overpriced for the crafting that goes into it. I’m just not remotely in that market.

It’s funny how this is nearly universally slammed yet when we speak of another craft of combining light tubes into a beautiful machine, that’s totally ok.

otis
Guest

I’m with Tony and Zaphod. $3500 IS a lot of money, no matter what you spend it on. Is a suit/bike/car/plane ticket worth it? That depends entirely on your point of view, and disposable income. Anything handmade has a price tag well beyond the simple cost of materials. To extol fine craftsmanship in a bike and then turn around a deride it for certain clothing is just tailoring the facts to suit your world view. No puns intended.

Most of us, myself included, can’t afford that price tag for a suit. Does that make it stupid? Pretentious? Only as stupid or pretentious as a Seven. You decide what that is.

Austin Ramsland
Guest

I love it. $3500 is way out of my price range, but that’s the point, right?

In the meantime, Nau has a beautiful riding jacket that is beautiful and works FLAWLESSLY on the bike:

http://www.nau.com/mens/categories/jackets/riding-jacket-308M502.html

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Hmmm a new suit, or up to 7 new bikes… Hmmm…

Pass!

Mike
Guest
Mike

Otis-
I agree and would add-
“Only as stupid or pretentious as a Seven.”…
or any number of local bike builders for any non-cyclist.
and Yes, I ride a local bike.

It is all about perspective. Don’t hate because someone can afford those things.

velo
Guest
velo

robert#6:

“You could buy two rohloffs for that.”

Exactly! Cloths are great, but they lack 14 internal gears of glory!

#10 – Kevin H “Wearing beautiful clothes while riding shows how accessible and easy cycling is. If the average person doesn’t think they can dress nicely and ride to work, they won’t.”

It is true, I always feel vaguely subversive when I ride wearing a shirt and tie. Nothing like showing up to a meeting in a dress cloths, sidi’s and an Ortlieb backpack (or change the shoes first)! Wool dress pants work just fine for cycling and if you don’t over dress you can wear a shirt and tie that will still look fine at your destination.

My preferred dress strategy is still to change at my destination, but sometimes you have to walk in the door looking snappy.

If I had a $3,500 gift certificate to Rapha I’d be down. Just $3,500? It would go towards school.

Loren
Guest
Loren

There comes a point, and maybe it is a perspective thing, but there’s a belief I have, and it’s lost on a lot of people. Take what you need. No one needs this. We’re in the greatest depression since the great depression. Take a look around. To buy this is to spit in the face of your neighbor who just lost his job.

Kt
Guest
Kt

$3500 for a suit tailored by one of London’s best? Remember, this is not “off the rack”: this is hand cut, hand measured, made especially and only for you. $3500 is cheap for that kind of craftsmanship.

That said, it’s also a lot of money– I guess it all depends on what tax bracket you’re in! 🙂 Me, that’s my clothes budget for the year, plus I’m not sure it would look as smashing on me, being female and all. Although, the androgynous look works for a lot of women, so…

+1, Kevin @#10. I enjoy riding my bike in normal work clothes. Riding with a skirt works well (wear shorts under it if you’re worried about exposure), although riding with heels takes a bit of work and proper placement of your feet on the pedals. 🙂

ScottG
Guest
ScottG

This sounds like a challenge to me. Portland is full of talented clothing designers and people with tailoring experience. How about a few of them get together, pick a $300 suit, and figure out how to make modifications to it to make it more cycling-friendly?

Rapha is obviously doing this as a marketing stunt. Maybe an enterprising indie clothing designer here can show what can be done for 1/10th the cost and piggyback on the buzz? Just an idea.

k.
Guest
k.

Stuff like this pretty much sums up all that is wrong with today’s world (and economy). I’m sorry to hear that Rapha choose to be involved. Although not surprised really, most of their stuff is way too expensive and trendy for most of the cycling public anyway. Maybe they’ll be designing for Paris Hilton next?

And for Kevin (#10); tell me how you consider a $3500 suit “accessible”? I must admit though that Otis (#16) makes a very good point.

Lesley
Guest
Lesley

This is pretty stupid.

Kevin H
Guest
Kevin H

Let me clear a few things up, I don’t consider a $3,500 suit cheap and for everyone, I only stated that it is a normal and fair price for a handmade suit by a Savile Row tailor. Savile Row tailors tend to be very conservative and it is exciting to see one working with a local cycling company. No, I can’t afford one. I hope some day I can, but I have a lot of other more important things to spend money on.

@k., I never wrote that a $3500 suit was “accessible”. I wrote that dressing nicely makes cycling appear accessible. Most people can’t show up at work looking dirty and unprofessional and they want to wear clothes that make them look attractive. A lot of people feel that you can’t wear nice clothes and bike. In order to make cycling more accessible for these people and show them that it is possible to ride their bike to a meeting and look good, cyclists can easily show them that it is possible.

I’m an accountant. I commute by bike every day. I wear a minimum of slacks/shirt/tie/sweater to work every day and a suit when I feel like it. I show up to client’s offices looking sharp and people love that I ride my bike to them. If I started showing up at client’s without looking sharp, I would be told to drive a car or get fired.

A majority of people don’t believe they can commute by bike and still be professional. We need to show them that it is possible and I applaud any business that shows us cyclists that we can do it.

Tony P
Guest

This is hitting close to home for me. As an artisan struggling in an industry full of mass produced junk one of the biggest battles is communicating the value of finely crafted products. Saville Row tailors, Swiss watchmakers, Italian shoe makers and, yes, American frame builders are being pushed aside by the commodification of products.

Handmade goods are always going to be be more expensive than their mass produced counterparts. Without the few people of the world who appreciate the value of craft it all disappears. This suit is clearly not for everyone. It will likely not function better than the Shower’s Pass riding gear that costs 1/10th as much, but there is value in supporting the artisan who made it and value in the way it makes the owner look and feel.

Slamming this suit over its cost misses the point. The person who buys this likely also has a handmade watch and shoes and hopefully a handmade bicycle (with or without the Rohloff hub). He likely appreciates well made things and has the means to buy them. He may also support environmental causes, donate money to schools and other charities. He might buy art (why buy a painting when you can get a print?), fine wine (why not MD 20/20–you’ll still get a buzz?) and handmade pottery and furniture (instead of going to Ikea for stuff that will last 2 years).

For the person that can’t afford these things it’s easy to react by saying they are a waste of money. Instead, it might be better for us all to think about where the things we need come from. If you want nice things and can’t afford them, then maybe buy them second hand or make them yourself. Instead we have landfills loaded up with disposable junk that was designed to fall apart or become obsolete.

No one needs any of this expensive handmade stuff, but the world is a more beautiful place because of it.

Zaphod
Guest

On a related note, I wore a nice sport jacket that I had to an event downtown and biked to get there. This wool w/silk lining jacket was unbelievably bomber for the task. It was a freezing cold misty night and it worked as well as the most high tech kit I have. I couldn’t believe how effective it was really.

So while most of us are priced out of this beautiful stuff by Rapha, most of us can get our hands on a high quality wool sport jacket & pants.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I whole-heartedly agree with ScottG@23. Portland is home to a burgeoning fashion scene, why can’t that be mixed with functional cycling clothing at a more accessible price? Style on a bike is so personal. Its amazing how some khaki pants and a softshell can make you look like your worth more than you are!

miguelaron
Guest

i wonder if Dutchess Clothier will knock one off for me…

miguelaron
Guest

er, duchess

thatracer
Guest
thatracer

tony,
it’s clear why the article is hitting close to home:

http://www.rapha.cc/continental/index.php?page=507

These portland bike welders are in Raffffa’s pockets.

I’m glad the racers at obra events week in and week out are more conscience.

Call my bikes disposable junk but they have never let me down and i plan on giving them to my kids.

Tony P
Guest

miguel: I’m sure they could. And it would be made in Asia like all their other stuff.

jered
Guest
jered

This is the best thing I’ve seen in 2009!

Kudos to Rapha for doing something unique and different! It is the nature of progress and innovation for someone to do something crazy and push outside what is considered the norm,then eventually the rest of the world catches up. This project exposes fine tailors to bike riders and vice versa, it is a great press opportunity for both parties. Hopefully they sell the ones they are making and pushes the boundaries of what is considered acceptable for biking! I’m not looking for a 3500.00 suit… but I’d love to get into a non custom tailored version of that jacket – that is sweet – looks formal, but the pockets on the back give it a nice snotty twist on a traditional suit.

Lastly, Tony P. hits it right on the nose. This is about quality and craft, two things that this world is missing more and more of! We’re too often settling for sub par quality because we don’t realize what we’re missing… like eating tomatos in the winter – ick.

Flat out RAD – Tailored suit for biking – freaking awsome!

thatracer
Guest
thatracer

jered,
RAD is silk screening you team jersey.
didn’t you see the movie???

miguelaron
Guest

@Tony P – sweet bikes.

per duchess: they contract out to a 3rd generation tailor in bangkok.

not everything that comes out of china is crap. there’s just “affordable” labor there. but this thread is off subject.

Julius P. Rockefeller, Esq.
Guest
Julius P. Rockefeller, Esq.

I do say “Boo-Hoo”. Paupers lament! Just this morn while having a stroll along Regent street I spent $2300 on silken undergarments, and then an additional, but very wisely used $500 on monocle polish. Generously i picked this up for my dogsbody. How very amusing that you septics are bothered at all by this seeming to be all too expensive. $3500 on a tailored suit? What rubbish! Where do you intend to go in this cheap thing? The “Monster Truck Smash’em Up”? Good Day!

Tony P
Guest

thatracer:
It is true that I have a working relationship with Rapha, but it’s a stretch to say that I’m in their pocket. Regardless, my argument has nothing to do with Rapha, per se.

Friet met
Guest
Friet met

Tony P (28) couldn’t describe it better. Everything is cookie cutter, mass produced without the passion for the product (and use). I don’t think Rapha or Timothy Everest started this project to make a quick buck. They collaborated because of the shared passion. And we need more of that attitude and passion.

Loren (21), I lost my job and I think initiatives like this are great. Let’s keep stimulating the (local) economy. Half of the depression is that we talk our selves into it and stop spending money. It’s a domino effect. I hope that the stimulus package is going to be finalized soon; I want a Pereira!

If you excuse me, I’m going to drink a locally brewed IPA now. I contemplated for a second to grab a Bud (beer is beer, right?) but I prefer flavor.

thatracer
Guest
thatracer

i guess i missed the lifestyle choice that is being made out there:
http://www.velodramatic.com/images/rapha30/gallery17/nov17-4.jpg

Matthew
Guest

Well said Tony P.! Classism is almost as ugly as Racism people. We all envy the rich, but how many of us would plop down this cash for the suit if we could? I know I would, and if many of you were honest with yourselves, you would too.

Slate O.
Guest

For the record, Tony P. is in no man’s pocket. Certainly not ours (Rapha), but we are lucky to have friends like him in town to ride with, run ideas by, get feedback and to collaborate with on other beautiful things we love.

If I has a spare $3500 right now, I’d be torn, but I’d probably have a big smile on my new Pereira bike instead of a bespoke 3-piece suit. But there are people out there (you know who you are Mr. D) that likely won’t blink at enjoying both.

thatracer
Guest
thatracer

Something about a $3500 rafffa collaborative bike suit really scream “artisan struggling” to me.

what recession?

thatracer
Guest
thatracer

-doesnt-

gettin that time to clock out of the nine to five and git rad on my disposable junk without a rafffa suit.

have fun.

Dianna
Guest
Dianna

Now, wait. This is serious custom work — do you think they’d tailor one for a lady?

‘Cause I’m pretty sure if you showed the BikePortland crowd a dapper gal modeling a three-piece tweed cycling suit atop a shiny balloon-tire Retrovelo, we’d shut up about the price tag in about three seconds.

Slate O.
Guest

I know that Timothy can craft this ensemble for gent or lady. Book your ticket to NYC now.

Loren
Guest
Loren

Julius P. Rockefeller, Esq.:
If I weren’t married and hetero, I’d ask you to marry me.

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

J P Rock – “How very amusing that you septics are bothered at all…”

fabulous malapropism! or just a spot-on typo..?

cold worker
Guest
cold worker

i’m of the opinion that spending that much money on *one* outfit is obscene (not to mention airfaire to NYC, plus time off from work/school). it must be nice to have that much disposable income…that money would pay my mortgage for 3 months.

no war but the class war.