Posted by: Emily | November 10, 2009

This is not just a base layer…

My life was changed forever about a month ago. No, I didn’t meet the man of my dreams or win the National Lottery, I discovered the Rapha merino base layer. Anyone unfamiliar with Rapha, or base layers in general, might be forgiven for not fully comprehending the enormity of this finding. For the uninitiated among you, I suggest you go to the Rapha website and put one straight into your basket. One word of warning, you may get something of a shock when you progress to the ‘Go To Checkout’ stage of the transaction. Believe me when I tell you though that it’s a small price to pay when the “softest, warmest, superfine merino base layer the cycling world has ever seen” appears on your doorstep (or on your desk if, as I do, you get all online purchases sent to your place of work to expedite their arrival).

When it comes to Rapha, the ‘you get what you pay for’ school of thought definitely applies. Sex and the City fans may recall Berger’s reaction to the cost of a Prada shirt (“does it somehow open into a small studio apartment?”). I admit I had a similar response when I first saw the price of a Rapha jersey. Several months later, and with the temperature outside quite a few degrees cooler,  I’m the proud owner of a number of base layers and even wear them when I’m not cycling. With a range of styles (sleeveless, short and long sleeved) and colours (black and cream) there really isn’t any excuse for not having at least three in your collection. Especially if, like me, you can’t quite decide if you’re a Small or a Medium (best get one of each). This is after all superfine New Zealand merino wool we’re talking about here. If you think of it on a ‘cost and enjoyment per wear’ basis, and why wouldn’t you?, then it really all starts to look very reasonable. The Rapha website reads “Elite cyclists know base layers are as flexible as they are necessary.” I have to admit I hadn’t previously put myself in the elite category of cyclists (or anything else for that matter), but if a base layer can both keep me warm and elevate me to this premier status then at £30 per item, the Rapha Merino Base Layer 3 Pack is an absolute bargain. Particularly when you have friends who are wonderful enough to buy one for you as a consolation prize for falling off a bike. Thanks Stu!



  1. If you want the best value merino gear try choclate fish merino – more versatile in style and much better value. A Rapha long sleeve crewneck is £65 – one from choclate fish is under £45! Rapha socks are £15 – Chocolate fish £11! With Rapha your paying for the name and a fancy website.

  2. […] and Altura are very good Emily writes that her life changed when she bought her first Rapha base layer. At around the same time, Cycling […]

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