Kings of Pain

At the very start of Rapha, in 2004, they initiated the beautiful ‘Kings of Pain’ exhibition in the Old Truman Brewery, on London’s Brick Lane, which featured a collection of photography and memorabilia devoted to six iconic riders. Riders who epitomize the key elements which make the sport of road cycling so beautiful. Their stories and images of exploits have come to define road cycling. The original Kings of Pain: Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Tom Simpson, Fausto Coppi, Raymond Poulidor and Bernard Hinault, remain, a distillation of road racing’s most celebrated qualities. They embody the glory, suffering and drama of the sport, and their unmistakable styles defined their respective eras. Now, ten years later a capsule collection has been created in honor of the original Kings of Pain, and everyone who has and still does enjoy the, sometimes painful, ride with Rapha during the past decade.

Behind glory lies the misery of training, the slog of getting through bad days, the torment of going at less than your best and the absolute conviction that giving up is never an option. Herein lies the heroism of this beautiful sport the inner revelation that makes the cyclist impervious to ordinary weakness because every ride he has ever made exposes him to that defeatist voice; he has known it, faced it and conquered the fear of it, again and again and again.

All products in the capsule collection are marked with the Kings of Pain Hallmarks, based on the traditional principle of the maker’s mark formerly used by workshops crafting objects. The four hallmarks each stand for an element which makes a true King of Pain. “Les Forçats de la Route” – the convicts of the road; is the hallmark paying tribute to the racers who are imprisoned by their dedication to the sport, captive to the rules, race directors and team managers. The Crown represents victory, power and honor. The Broad Arrow stands for the scars and shadows of past injury, marks caught in the pursuit of glory. And finally The Blood, Sweat, Tears ,and Mud attests to the effort required to fight when the chance of victory is nil, to push on for the sake of honor alone, and to cross the finish line smeared with whatever was necessary.

The all-black capsule collection consists of a Jersey, a cap, a bottle opener and a beautiful essentials leather case. The Kings of Pain Jersey is loosely based on the Classic Jersey, one of the original three Rapha products, and its styling and details are informed by classic aesthetics of road racing. The bottle open is crafted by Mamnick in Sheffield, using laser-marked CS80 steel. It is supplied with an adjustable leather strap. The Kings of Pain cap is fashioned from high quality, soft cotton in a quarter-panel construction, lined with a durable headband. Like the rest of the capsule collection, the cap is finished with tone-on-tone Kings of Pain hallmarks and the ‘EX DURIS GLORIA’ motto. And finally; The Kings of Pain Essentials Case is designed to carry and protect your day-to-day necessities. Made from a durable leather, debossed with the Kings of Pain hallmarks, and secured with a satin-lined, ring-pull zip; the case is just the right size for an inner tube.

Here’s to many more rides of pain, searching for glory!

For more information and to order see here.