Apr. 11.16 – Rapha + Liberty returns
The eagle-eyed among you may have already seen that Rapha and Liberty of London are continuing their successful partnership into 2016 with a new Spring/Summer collection of women’s cycling gear. Once again, to go along with the launch of the range, they asked us to create a custom road bike with a paint job that matches the prints used in this season’s apparel.
Liberty is world famous for its prints, so there was plenty in their archives to draw from this time around. For Spring/Summer they selected a houndstooth print which we have put our own twist on for the new bike. We ‘exploded’ the design and really focused in on the detail, creating this dynamic effect as if the print has been blown apart at high-speed. This taps into the ethos of the collection; fluidity, speed and movement. The execution was painstaking, especially applying the two different colours in the fine detail, but we’re delighted with the final effect.
The bike itself is highly-specced. The streamlined, fillet-brazed frame is constructed using Columbus HSS tubes, while the drivetrain is Shimano Dura Ace. ENVE provide the stem, rims and bars, while the headset is Chris King. For pure speed it’s hard to top those brands.
As this is a special bike we wanted to include a few special details. If you look between the stays on the seat tube you’ll see a trophy emblem. This is a tribute to the Liberty Cup, a women-only race that Liberty ran from 1901 onwards. The department store has been around for a long, long time, so while you wouldn’t immediately pair them with cycling, once you delve into the history there are a lot of surprising links. It makes working with them a real joy. We also included the Columbus dove on the other side of the seat tube – a mark of this bike’s steel pedigree.
You can shop the women’s apparel range at Rapha right now, or come see the bikes at Bespoked later this month in Bristol where Tom is also giving a talk about the subject of collaboration. After Bespoked the bike will be on show in the Rapha Cafe in Spitalfields.