Founded in London by cycling enthusiast Simon Mottram in 2004, Rapha became the first sportswear brand to design solid color cycling jerseys made of merino wool, revolutionizing cycling apparel into fashionable clothing. In line with the founder’s passion for cycling, Rapha’s many collections satisfy both professional and casual urban cyclists. The brand has also opened over 20 clubhouses throughout Europe, North America, and Asia to serve as community hubs for cyclists. Today, Rapha continues to contribute to cycling culture as a sponsor for events that promote the sport of cycling and foundations that inspire and empower the next generation.
Welcome to the 84th issue of B.
I respect people who train their bodies and take on physical challenges. And that’s precisely why I admire athletes. To date, I have not successfully achieved any physical fitness goals, and I feel like I’m only half alive because physical fitness is crucial for a balanced life. While it’s true that work and hobbies also bring a sense of achievement, it seems to me that they are not as intrinsically valuable or satisfying as overcoming physical limitations.
Another reason why I hold professional athletics in high esteem is that all participants play by the clear rules. These rules separate the victors from the losers, and they leave behind clear records. For years on end, professional athletes push themselves within the confines of these rules day after day—the same way many religiously check their email inboxes first thing in the morning. Accepting the results and ramping up for the next competition is, arguably, as valuable as training our bodies.
It was with this same respect for sportsmanship that Simon Mottram launched Rapha, a cyclewear brand. Indeed, during his interview with B, he put more focus on cyclists who move their bodies, train hard, and compete while supporting their fellow challengers than explaining his branding strategies or promoting the excellent functionality and beautiful design of his products. An avid cycling fan who tracks the Tour de France every year without fail, Mottram simply wanted to share his passion with more people. And so it goes that, 16 years ago, he started Rapha with the mission of making cycling the most popular sport in the world. That mission statement remains unchanged. But passion alone is not enough to lead a business to success. Mottram was a cycling enthusiast, but he was also a highly selective consumer. He describes his past self as a consumer who was continually disappointed by gaudy cycling fashion before Rapha. In other words, his ability to balance passion with critical acumen was key to success.
Rapha produced sophisticated apparel for cycling that had never existed before. The brand also broke ground with a new model for retail stores and communities that made cycling culture more accessible, defying stereotypes about the sport’s perceived exclusivity. People with no prior interest in cycling become enthusiasts after discovering Rapha. Beyond the casual consumer, though, Rapha has managed to establish itself as a highly reputed brand among professional cyclists and cycling experts. Indeed, active endorsement by this demanding demographic signified the brand’s arrival as the crème de la crème in the cycling world. Now, at the top of the brand pile, Rapha attracts everyone from consumers who see bicycles as a hobby or fashion statement to those who use them to set new records.
Rapha built this solid reputation thanks to Mottram’s deep respect for sports and keen insight as he prepared to launch the brand, the founder thoroughly explored every angle of cycling history, showcasing designs representing the golden days of cycling and working tirelessly to produce quality media on cycling culture for the general public. No one had attempted this before him. Just as contemporary film directors tip their hats to cinematic masterpieces in new creations, Rapha pays homage to cycling heritage. It makes me appreciate once again that nothing awakens subdued senses more than genuine, profound respect. If what we’re doing feels unoriginal or uninspiring, that means it’s time to ask ourselves if we’ve spent enough time musing over all that came before us.
Content & Editorial Director
Commuting with Rapha employees whose lives revolve around bikes
LONDON BY BIKE
Four shops rich in cycling culture and cyclist solidarity
OPINION: ALEX VALDMAN
Alex Valdman, former Creative Director of Rapha for product design
AT THE ATELIER
The innovative spirit and passion of the R&D Team and Product Team as seen at the atelier
Beautiful, quality clothing for cycling culture enthusiasts
Labels revealing fascinating insights into cycling history and culture
OPINION: FRANÇOIS CONVERCEY
François Convercey, Chief Marketing Officer of Rapha for global marketing
THE CYCLING CLUB
Rapha Clubhouses and the Rapha Cycling Club embody brand and cycling values
How the attire of Rapha employees aligns with their lifestyles
What cycling means to Rapha Cycling Club members
HERNE HILL VELODROME
Bringing life to one of the oldest cycling tracks that is at the heart of British cycling culture
Rapha-sponsored professional cycling teams and their momentous stories
INTERVIEW: SIMON MOTTRAM
Founder and CEO Simon Mottram talks about the history of cycling and Rapha’s brand mission
The history of cycling reflected in Rapha jerseys
Rapha helms a new path for cycling clothing with its own vocabulary
Strategies and policies that reflect Rapha’s goal to grow the overall bike market
Rapha’s Creative Team delivers the spirit of cycling through visual narratives
Collaborators celebrate Rapha in images and videos
A podcast dedicated to cycling presents the latest industry buzz
Figures that shed light on the cycling industry and five bike-friendly cities
Cycling routes in London, Amsterdam, Seoul, and Tokyo
- Publisher Suyong Joh
- Executive Director Myungsoo Kim
- Content & Editorial Director Eunsung Park
- Lead Editor Jaewoo Seo, Sol Lyu
- Editors Chanyong Park, Narae Kim, Jean Kim, Hyun Son
- Assistant Editor Heewon Shin
- Photographer Miyeon Yoon
- Art Direction & Design Yuwon Choi
- Marketing Hyunjoo Kim, Yeubin Kim
- Sales & Distribution Suyeon Kim, Kiran Kim
- Managing & Editing (English Edition) Rayna Kim
- Translation (English Edition) Rancy Kim, Bongah Shin, Hyejoo Lee, Seongae Yang, Soonok Hwang
- Copy Editing (English Edition) Sarah Kessler-Jang
- Correspondents Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Lena Shin (LA), Alex Seo (London), Sanghyeok Lee (Berlin), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris), Mark Carter (Bangkok)
- Thanks to Suzy Kim
- Publishing JOH