The sports bra is a garment often overlooked by cycling clothing designers - yet for most female riders a bad one is impossible to ignore. It's the first layer to touch the skin - something most brands making base layers seem to overlook.
Leading cycling apparel brand, Rapha, has launched their first women's cycling bra. With two different designs to choose from, they've worked hard to provide a more suitable alternative to your regular sports bra.
With many brand focusing on quick-dry and ultra breathable jerseys and base layers, they fail to address the obvious in women's cycling: boobs. Regardless of how ultra light and super awesome your jersey is, you still have the bra layer to consider, which can negate some of the jerseys benefits.
It's a bold move for Rapha, and a leap forward in women's cycling development. They're not the first cycling brand to see a sports bra as an essential piece of kit, but they're one of few (Primal and Castelli are amongst those who have figured it out too) - and that fact just goes to show how male dominated the industry really has been in the past.
Rapha have introducing two bra designs to choose from: The Rapha Light Support Bra and the Rapha Medium Support Bra. We've had one of each drop into the office this morning already - we're absolutely bowled over by the stunning details and extreme softness of the material. On first impressions, our only concern is that these might not provide enough support for women with C+ cup breasts taking part in high impact cycling such as spinning classes or mountain biking but we'll have to do more than just the 'jump test' to bring you a full analysis.
The Rapha Light Support bra is ideal for longer adventures and gentler spins. It's cut from a soft, high-stretch, sweat-wicking fabric with antibacterial treatment. This bra is designed to give generous coverage whilst providing just the right level of compression and support. The Light Support Bra is seamless and features a breathable, double-faced fabric with open-knit panels in areas of high sweat for exceptional ventilation. Wide straps and a wide knitted under-band support the bust and reduce movement. This bra is also ideal for other low impact activities such as yoga.
The Rapha Medium Support Bra is a sleek cycling bra, with a slim under-band and structured cups that have removable pads. Best for high tempo rides and races, the material is lightweight and the cut of the bra is supportive without being restrictive in a racing position.
It is cut from a technical, high-stretch fabric and is designed to keep the bust secure during hard efforts and races while feeling like it is barely there. With reduced bulk in areas of high pressure such as the shoulder seams and chest, the Medium Support Bra gives compression across the chest, the area that becomes smallest whilst in a racing position, while creating a slimline fit. Laser cut holes in areas of high sweat provide additional ventilation and a light mesh lining increase heat transfer.
“These two bras represent an exciting development in Rapha’s women’s collection. They are the missing piece of the Rapha women’s cycling wardrobe and from the outset have been designed to complement our existing collections perfectly." - Maria Olssen, Designer
It's exciting to see new women's performance bras designed and manufactured by leading cycling brands. It's a great development in women's cycling, and one we hope to see grow in the future.
For more information on the bras, sizing and prices, head over to the Rapha website here, and keep an eye out for the Total Women's Cycling review, coming soon.