By Robbie Broughton
Rapha have always produced the best quality jerseys around. Their original and first ever product, the black Classic remains just that: a classic. It’s been its bestseller and at the very heart of its collection ever since its release way back in 2007. Recent years have seen them venture into all manner of colours and some purists weren’t too impressed. But we predict their new Check Classic jersey will, in years to come, become a staple of their collection.
Part of a new range, the Check Classic “harks back to the golden age of team kit design where sponsor logos weren’t so loud, the patterns were understated and the riders who wore the jerseys went on to become style icons that transcended the sport.” Their new Classic Check products are “inspired by this era, stopping the clock on the timeless look of its protagonists.”
There’s more than a passing reference to the classic Peugeot jersey famously worn by Tom Simpson when he joined the team in 1963. Robert Millar, Stephen Roche and Sean Yates were also proud wearers of the black and white checks while Eddy Merckx himself wore it in the 1966 and 1967 seasons. Ten Tour de France victories and three Vueltas were claimed by the Peugeot team and the distinct jersey remains an important part of cycling heritage.
Rapha’s design drops the Peugeot logo but retains the famous black and white chequer board pattern across the chest. The trademark black armband on the left sleeve reveals its Rapha identity.
It’s made of a luxury merino blend and has the same fit, fabric and performance features of the best-selling Classic Jersey II. A discreet embroidered ‘63’ inside a blank crest on the back left hand pocket refers back to the year that the original Peugeot jersey was launched. The crest, of course, was originally a BP logo.
As well as in black and white, the Check Classic comes in grey blue/light blue and navy/dark navy. The Classic Wind Jacket, Classic Gilet, Cap and Merino Socks complement the collection. You’re going to be seeing a lot of checks on your rides shortly!
If you can't afford the £125 price tag, we recommend you make do with Ride Velo's very own interpretation of the classic Peugeot design with one of our exclusive T-shirts, available in black or white at only £17.
Peugeot went on to become Vetements Z-Peugeot in 1987 and the classic jersey was replaced with the pop art inspired blue, yellow and pink design as worn by Greg LeMond. Will Rapha be brave enough to make a version of that?