A few weeks ago I bought a couple of things from Rapha; specifically an end-of-line Trade Team Jersey and the matching hat in their sale. A week later I added a rain jacket which was also on sale. I have subsequently bought a bunch of base layers, socks, knee warmers, arm warmers and a hat at full price and added half of their catalogue to my wish list.
Why? I had heard good things about them, but never felt I had the money to buy their gear at full price. But the sale price of the Trade Team Jersey was much closer to a normal jersey’s price, so I felt it was a good time to try them out. As soon as I put on the jersey I was appalled with the fit; then I remembered that most of the other jerseys have felt good when standing up and then awfully rucked in a cycling position: the Rapha jersey is the opposite, it’s perfect in a cycling position. Presumably their tailor’s dummy is set up leaning forwards as though its hands are on the hoods.
I got their rain jacket because my old rain jackets no longer fit (and I lost one of them) so having found the Rapha jersey to be good I felt there was a good chance that the jacket would also work well. As with the jersey it is cut to fit well when you’re in a road-cycling position, and they have also thought about how it will be used: manifested in putting the zip off-centre so that when it’s zipped-up the pull-tab is in a different place to the one for your jersey so you can’t get the two confused.
As for the rest: I needed those things because it’s getting cold and the previous ones I had no longer fit. I will continue to buy from Rapha until they stop designing things well, or I hear of someone doing a much better job. It’s true that they cost more than other manufacturers, but it’s also true that they are better than other manufacturers. For me, they are better-designed by a larger margin than they are more-expensive and therefore worthwhile.