[23rd January 2016] Since its grand reveal in December 2015, Rapha’s design for the CANYON//SRAM women’s team has received widespread acclaim. A multi-coloured livery intended to get the team noticed at the front of the UCI Women’s WorldTour races, elite riders such as German time trial star Lisa Brennauer and former Italian national road champion Elena Cecchini are about to debut it as a team at the Ladies Tour of Qatar next week.
The man behind the kit is Rapha Designer Ultan Coyle, who describes how a simple passing thought developed into the final design: “riding around town, one day I caught sight of that red and white hazard tape wrapped around a lamp post. The tessellated effect from the tape overlapping interested me, and the idea of hazard, and of a team being a ‘racing threat’ I knew was relevant to the way that CANYON//SRAM want to approach the races, so I bought a roll of the stuff to explore the thought further.”
Ultan began by wrapping the tape around a mannequin figure to see how it would look, manipulating the layering until he was happy. He then cut the tape off the mannequin, laying it out and photographing it. Once digitised, he was able to start playing around with the colours.
“Women’s cycling has had a few really bold kit designs in the past – for better or worse – so I didn’t limit myself to a small set of colours. We just hoped that CANYON//SRAM would be open to our ideas, and once we showed them our initial mock-ups, they were on board immediately. The way the Canyon logo sits on the jersey is usually only how it appears on the bottom tube of their bikes, but Canyon agreed that it worked well within the layout of the jersey and decided to make an exception this one time.”
Such was the popularity of Ultan’s kit internally, that the team decided to use it on all of the bikes, vehicles and other equipment for the upcoming season too. Team manager Ronny Lauke was unequivocal in his praise when speaking at the team’s launch: “Everybody who I have shown the kit to has said ‘wow!’. Usually you have people saying ‘uh, ok’, or some people love it and some people hate it. But to have everyone say ‘how cool is that!’ is pretty rare.”