Evolution of Bikepacking: Apidura + Rapha collaboration
Collaborations help us introduce new audiences to bikepacking, explore different aspects of our sport and experiment with the latest materials and manufacturing techniques. By partnering with brands that share our vision, we are able to bring innovative products to market that address specific needs or audiences in a way that complements both brands.
Here we look back at the origins of the Rapha + Apidura collaboration in 2016.
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2016: A moment in focus
The year is 2016. Picture the landscape of the cycling scene in the United Kingdom. Amongst many sub-cultures that exist on the periphery, it is road cycling that stands out. The initial fervour captured in Bradley Wiggins’s success has calmed, but fans remain fixated by the scenes of Team Sky’s dominance. In a professional era defined by the relentless pursuit of detail, the brand inscribed on Chris Froome’s jersey collar does not go unnoticed. Rapha.
Whilst the brand’s far-reaching success pinpoints a moment in time for road cycling, it was elsewhere that bikepacking was growing rapidly. Through events like the Transcontinental and Tour Divide, a niche core of adventurers and bike explorers were showcasing an alternative to pannier-style touring. It is within this content, and at the junction of these two trends, that the Rapha + Apidura collaboration was launched in 2016.
“There was a really strong match between the two brands. Fundamentally, we both wanted very similar things – to get more people out on their bikes.”
Rapha, known for its premium cycling apparel, and Apidura, a pioneer in the expanding bikepacking world, collaborated to introduce the iconic Brevet range to a line of bike-packing specific products. In turn, capturing the attention of cyclists beyond the core enthusiasts of the respective audiences, and signalling a shift towards adventure-led travel in the cycling industry.
The Rapha + Apidura bikepacking collaboration launch offered Apidura co-founder, Tori Fahey, the chance to communicate Apidura’s wider goal of making bikepacking more attainable to a wider audience through the development of universal fitting gear.
“We are working to contribute to the future of the sport through product innovation, and also through grass roots support of athletes and organisations who are actively shaping the community. These range from boundary-pushers to storytellers, who all play a critical role in defining and expanding the movement.
One of the reasons why bikepacking has staying power is its subjectivity. The word ‘adventure’ means different things to different people, so bikepacking can be interpreted in many different ways. I hope more and more people get out on their bikes, and Apidura exists to help people do just that.”
The Rapha + Apidura Bikepacking collaboration packs
Rapha’s then vogue ‘packlighttravelfar’ hashtag, both informed and matched the function-led products that were designed as part of the collaboration. The Rapha + Apidura Handlebar Pack – an alternative to a traditional front rack, was made to carry light, compressible items below the handlebars. The roll-top closure system allowed packing volume to be tailored precisely, whether on a multi-day trip or shorter bikepacking tour. The matching Rapha + Apidura Saddle Pack was built from the same all-weather fabric with ultra-high resistance to tears and abrasions, was designed to store items under the saddle and render panniers obsolete.
Both Rapha + Apidura bikepacking bags were marked with Rapha’s iconic reflective white and high-vis pink Brevet stripes which were paired with understated collaborative branding.