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Rapha Fall/Winter Collection
by Brian Fichtner
on 18 November 2009
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Rapha Performance Roadware is proving itself equally adept in fashioning urban cycling gear as it does the most desirable racing apparel on the market. With each new collection, the company improves upon previous releases by honing details and getting ever closer to a perfect balance of on-the-bike functionality and off-the-bike wearability. Their latest collection for the city rider is one of the best to date.

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The new bomber jacket ($290), which I've had the opportunity to test out in recent weeks, is an update on last year's Fixed Jacket. Featuring 3xDry Schoeller weather-resistant fabric for the body and a durable lightweight Cordura on the shoulders, it handily repelled water in a recent rainfall while keeping the cold wind from penetrating the shell. Some obvious details I've already grown to love include the forearm zippered pocket with key lanyard, a concealed breast pocket with buttonhole for the iPhone and articulated shoulders for a full range of motion when leaning over the bars. The bomber jacket manages to be roomy enough to layer while providing the slim profile one needs for riding. It also combines the technical, like bonded seams, with comfortable features, like jersey ribbed cuffs. Basically, this is a fine fall coat that doubles as practical cycling jacket—wear it either way.

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Rapha added plenty more jerseys and jackets to its war chest (its latest rain jacket is a true thing of beauty), but a few accessories for the city rider have really stood out. The latest collection of gentleman's caps ($60 each), which toes the line between stylish and foppish, includes a feather cap, a polka dot cap and a waxed cap. Naturally, the waxed cap is the safer bet for gents who want to err on the side of sartorial caution—it also looks swell with the bomber jacket.

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Continuing the dandy theme, Rapha introduced another handsome silk scarf by Adamley ($70), this time with a paisley pattern inspired by bicycle components. To round out the ensemble, the leather town gloves, made by the English luxury goods manufacturer Burfield, come in a matching olive green or black. The goatskin leather gloves feature marksman-like palm padding, Cocona inner lining and a single wrist strap. At $160, they don't come cheap, but then again, true quality never does.

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