If you're regularly logging miles on Strava, you've seen Rapha's distinct kits—minimal, with loud accents. In recent years, the brand's sleek, masculine aesthetic has heavily influinced cycling, both visually and cultrually. As a result, riders either love or loathe Rapha. All of which makes the new Rapha x Outdoor Voices collaboration all the more exciting, especially since the brand rarely teams up.
Since 2014, Outdoor Voices' mission has been to get people moving while not taking itself too seriously. And by in large, they've succeeded—especially over social. While the departure of Founder and CEO Ty Haney in February of 2020 initially caused some disruption in the 'always fun' vibe, the brand seems to have bounced back. Scroll through the OV IG feed and find women dancing in OV's chic exercise dress, hiking in their kits, or running in their Hoka collaboration sneakers.
In a world where cycling—and Rapha—has a reputation for being way too serious, OV is the perfect partner to lighten the mood, and hopefully bring in new riders who may otherwise be intimidated.
We got our hands on the collection three weeks ago and have dutifully tested a number of pieces around NYC—from Central Park laps and West Side Highway sprints to longer rides over the George Washington Bridge.
While yes, cycling bibs and jerseys can look intense, they don't have to be. This kit still looks good with a CAT Six tattoo. You can even wear a t-shirt while riding in shorts (something you never used to see). Yet, the performance of the pieces is proven, too—as fit for a lap around the neighborhood as a proper century ride.
The collection features nine pieces with prices ranging from $20 up to $250, and includes a silky smooth Jersey, lightweight Wind Jacket, High-Waisted Shorts, Cargo Bib Shorts, Bar Bag, Light Support Bra, Cap, Socks, and a Cropped T-Shirt—everything you might need to get out for a light pedal or a California coast ride.
The pieces we tested (Jersey, High-Waisted Shorts, Light Support Bra, and Bar Bag) have all the features Rapha is known for—utilitarian pockets, stylish design with a few bold pops of color, and a comfortable fit—plus they look really good.
The sports bra is my new go-to for runs and rides alike, and I've never been happier to pull on a pair of shorts over bibs when my alarm goes off at 5:45 AM. The apparel toes the line between standing out and fitting in, helping you perform while also encouraging you to have some fun. It's certainly different than what's typically seen out on Henry Hudson Drive.
"Throughout the collection are small pieces of advice sewn into each piece—another fun way Rapha + OV are making it easy for new cyclists to know what's up."
Throughout the collection, you'll find small pieces of advice sewn into each piece—another fun way Rapha + OV are making it easy for new cyclists to know what's up. Along the waist of the shorts, you'll find, "The nitty gritty: go commando. Your derriere will thank you." And inside one pocket of the bar bag is a checklist for what you'll need for the day: Phone, Keys, Snacks, Sunscreen. Word to the wise: follow both.
Even if you're not a cyclist, we recommend the bar bag. Yes, it's supposed to strap to your handlebars, but it also comes with adjustable straps to function as a waist belt or shoulder bag. Did we mention it's super cute?
At this pricepoint, Rapha's bibs and jerseys are certainly an investment. Outdoor Voices is slightly more affordable, but again, you're paying for high-quality apparel that fits exceptionally well, and flatters all sizes. While yes, you can pick up cheaper cycling bibs and sports bras if you hunt around, you'll be hard pressed to find a more colorful and airy cycling kit that might not only get you on a bike, but keep you in the saddle for more years to come.