Rapha, maker of exceedingly high-end bike apparel, is getting into the music business. Sort of.
This week, the company introduced the H6 headphones, which are the product of a collaboration between Rapha and Danish consumer electronics company Bang and Olufsen. They produce excellent sound, which they should for $429. From an audio-tech standpoint, they’re identical to the H6 headphones B&O already sells, with the only difference being a few new style elements, including hot-pink highlights.
It begs the question: Why did Rapha collaborate with an established audiophile-equipment maker on a set of headphones that’s been around for years?
Rapha claims that because its pros spend hours on the trainer, bored, they need high-quality headphones to blast their tunes. The company even went so far as to create its own Spotify ride recovery mix.
While I don’t buy that explanation (how much time do globe-hopping pros really spend on the trainer? And wouldn’t they prefer performance-oriented buds?), I have to give Rapha props for extending its legacy of comfort and style to yet another piece of gear.
The Rapha H6 are insanely comfortable, with African sheep leather covers on the earpieces (the same leather used in the company’s GT Gloves). You can plug the removable cord into either earpiece, and because the fit is top notch, there’s a natural, rather than electronic, noise-canceling effect. There’s also an inline remote on the cord that lets you fast forward through tracks and control volume. We’d only wish for a folding design for easier packing during travel.