It had to happen.
Rapha, for years the silliest and most overpriced bikewear maker on earth, has been bought with Walmart money, by a Walton grandson.
I am looking forward to witnessing the downfall of a brand that had
grown so pretentious and ridiculous that it should’ve been shut down
It’ll be interesting to see what used Rapha t-shirts sell for on eBay.
Will they go the way of Fender guitars (“pre-CBS” era versus “modern”
This whole thing — and the way folks are wringing their hands over it — is making me laugh my ass off.
Rapha has been silly and overpriced for a very long time.
Remember that the high price of an item constitutes half its consumer allure.
People buy stuff because it's expensive. They wear Rapha precisely because it makes them look and feel wealthier to ride in a $200 jersey instead of a $5 t-shirt. Almost no one will admit it -- especially since, in more recent years, as Rapha's manufacturing expanded to more place around the globe, quality control has already diminished -- and consumers will have to confront the fact that they paid a crap ton of money for something that more and more resembles crap.
Rapha grew and thrived because it started out exclusive and expensive, and so attracted everyone who wanted to ape the rich. It will lose many of those those consumers for the same reason: rich people don't shop at Walmart -- or any of its subsidiaries.
So yes, I'm gloating, and thoroughly enjoying the Schadenfreude of it all.
So let's see what happens to the brand.
Will "pre-Walmart" Raphaware become "collectible" and more "valuable" as a result of the takeover?
Will people who are "fans" of the brand (and everything that goes with it, including the race team they sponsor, the magazines of glossy-sexy photos they co-produce, and above all the "prestige" of owning something that says "RAPHA" -- because, money is sexy even when the sex is not) suddenly realize that they've been had?
Or will they actually feel a sense of loss over this piece of pretentious bike culture, a "culture" so fake it may well have been conceived in a circle jerk of "design" consultants?
It'll be interesting to watch.
Meanwhile, I'm gonna guess that Rapha stuff is going to go for cheap on eBay and craigslist.
And as before, lots of folks will still enjoy riding like this, on an older bicycle wearing nothing more than an old t-shirt and cutoffs.
(And sunscreen. Don't forget the sunscreen, kids.)