You Don’t Have to Ride Fixed to Wear a Fixed Shirt

the Rapha Fixed Shirt, casual sharpness

The Rapha Fixed Shirt has me seriously considering a major wardrobe donation to the Salvation Army. Street clothes have been on the defensive for some time as cycling continues its inexorable march through my closet. Perhaps its all part of getting older, you come to terms with what you like and you let go of the things that no longer matter.

So it is with fashion. For those that appreciate it and have the means to afford it, Rapha answers the what-to-wear-on-the-bike question. The collection has grown and diversified but thanks to a very talented design team never lost its thematic way. They simply make the most refined, stylish clothing to ride in. That's not to say that other companies don't make some exceptional pieces. Campagnolo, Panache, Showers Pass, Twin Six, Craft, Assos, Specialized, Outlier and Mavic (though I don't own a stitch from the last two yet) are on a rarefied list for sure, yet none of them have the signature of our friends in London.

So my interest in street clothes has waned. Dressing for work is now a casual exercise even when meeting with clients. I still believe clothes can make a statement about who we are, but they're just a calling card, empty and superfluous if you can't back them up with brains, talent and balls (that goes for women too). In that context it took a while for Rapha's Fixed Shirt to register. Well it has and I now believe this cross-over effort is one best things they've done.

It comes in two colors Brown or Navy with contrasting accents inside. Yellow accents with the brown and orange with the blue. The latter is described as navy blue, and in bright sunlight it might be, but in more subdued light it's a neutral, slate blue. Thanks Mr. Olson.

Right on the Buttons

It's beautifully tailored in a soft dry-release cotton (85% polyester/15% cotton) and ingeniously constructed throughout. The fit is slim. Admittedly a year and ten pounds ago I couldn't have worn this. It features an action back and inset shoulders that provide a little more room/give in the riding position. The back drops a little lower and there's a single buttoned-down right-rear pocket... large enough for an iPhone or credit card case.

the front placket hides most of the buttons

The choice and positioning of buttons on the front of the Fixed Shirt are worthy of special mention. Each one bears a tiny RAPHA in the corresponding accent color. Who else would worry about this level of detail. Their are two hidden buttons at the collar to keep it looking sharp and presentable, then four more hidden buttons are secreted under a stylish front placket never to catch on a musette or courier bag strap. When it's safe for buttons to re-emerge two make an appearance before a final inward-fastening and hidden button neatly closes the shirt at the waist. The button hole for this last fastener is stitched in, you guessed it, the accent color. So clever.

It's extremely comfortable, and cool. To the amazement of several spectators at the Nevada City Classic, I wore the blue one on a very hot race day (90s) and had no complaints. Each has been washed several times in cold water, and it's already apparent these shirts will look great for a long time. If not for two tiny issues I'd declare the shirt perfect and retire.

First, and most seriously the Fixed Shirt is not available in black (I'd settle for charcoal). I won't rest until that glaring omission is corrected. Second my biceps (think Will Ferrell doing curls in Anchorman) are just a touch too large for the designed fit of the sleeves. Either my "guns" get smaller or I live with the fact the shirt exaggerates how much I work out. I vote for number two, though a tiny dart of notch on the underside of the sleeve might do the trick.

I know Rapha has plans to introduce more clothing like this and frankly I can't wait. Time to recoup some closet space and head over to the Sally Ann.

The Rapha Fixed Shirt is priced at £65 $110 €70

One more shot. Here's Levi on the cool down lap of Nevada City transfixed by the Fixed Shirt I'm wearing. Actually he's hi-fiving fans and looking at a very enthusiastic photographer; me. He would definitely wear a small.

Levi catches sight of the stylish shirt just before I give him a hi-five

18 Responses to You Don’t Have to Ride Fixed to Wear a Fixed Shirt

  1. Dan H says:

    Looking as swift off, as you do on the bike Mr R. I think I know what my Rapha survey discount voucher can be used against!

    Fantastic work with the Nevada City and the Velodrome photography, a pure pleasure to view.



  2. kaiko says:

    congrats on the photo business! as usual, the photos are ah-maz-ing!

    ah, the fixed shirt. so nice! to be a gentleman of rapha…

    i hope you wore your rapha scarf yesterday!

    • Kaiko,
      I didn’t wear the scarf yesterday but I wore the fixed shirt and scarf when I was shooting Nevada City. It made me feel like David Niven in a classic film.
      Stay tuned for more photography…I’m heading out on the road with the Continental boys for a week, can’t wait.

  3. Nathan says:

    I could not agree more about the fixed shirts. I picked up the blue one just over a week ago (in the pack with the mussette). After wearing it only once I orderered the brown one straight away.

    It’s 32°C here at the moment and I just got home from a 200km sportive on my Enigma. Even in my now over-heated state I don’t feel too hot in my fixed shirt (wearing it now after the ride, not during it). Can’t wait for the new Rapha urban gear that you mentioned in the blog.


    • That’s funny Nathan. That’s exactly what I did… wore the first one and went straight online and ordered the other color. Hoping we’ll see something in the fall/winter collection.


  4. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey Velo,

    I grabed a fixed shirt a few months ago and really like it. I can wear it to work on Fridays and do as often as possible. I think they used to have one in white and would love one as it would match up with more pants.

    Next order will include the brown one and now I wished I had bought the light brown fixed shorts instaed of the black or blue. Maybe I just need to get the whole set.

    I would love it if Rapha comes out with more streetable clothes especially a shorter version of the fixed shorts. Kind of a mix between the touring shorts and the fixed shorts.

    I feel the touring shorts are too thin and the pockets are not very usable and the fixed shorts can get a bit on the warm side on longer rides where the weather fluxuates.

    So put in a word for the “touring fixed shorts”

  5. Stephen says:

    Now if only they could make something that will automatically clean the sweat off you when you get to where you’re going. I get hot and smelly regardless of what I’m wearing.

    • Stephen,
      At least we can take pride in the fact we’re motivated enough to work up a sweat. Wish more people would discover the benefits of cycling (especially commuting), then we’d be one big happy and sweaty family.

  6. Mark says:

    The shirt looks great! Thanks for the review. I also like the watch and pants your wearing in the photos, what are they? Thanks!

  7. layton wakatsuki says:

    The clarity, light, composition, and ultimately life in your images are absolutely vibrant, in the
    best cases, leaping off the page (screen). Excellent work, which as a creative soul, i imagine, only spurs you on to surpass it. Thanks for sharing.

    On a more mundane topic, any suggestion on how to get the campaign code / discount code
    button on the rapha site to work. For some reason, i’ve had difficulty with in the past, as is the
    current case with my attempt to use the survey coupon. any help would be appreciated.


  8. Dougie says:

    The site goes from strength to strength, more power to your photography Michael it’s in the blood.
    Love the shirt and the comments, I could make it fit me too but it would look funny with the giant rip down the back…

    That would have Rapha in stitches.

    • Thanks Douglas,

      I’m off for a road trip of my own to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. I’ll try and get a few landscapes along the way.

  9. David says:

    Echo most of your comments, I have found the Rapha ‘Fixed’ kit to be ideal for light weight touring.

    I’ve just returned from a 650km round trip tour of Bretagne, in north west France, most of the time wearing the fixed shorts, baselayer and fixed jersey. It was all really comfortable both on and off the bike.
    Both merino and Schoeller wicks almost perfectly, never seems to get smell sweaty and the big pad in the fixed shorts is all day touring heaven!

    • thanks David,

      Rapha designers read these comments and high-mileage touring like yours is a particularly good test for the clothing. I’d pass this on but I know they’ve already seen it ;-)

      Must have been a great trip, I’m hoping to do something like that myself eventually.