Cycling lifestyle brand Rapha has announced that US-based RZC Investments is now the majority shareholder in the business. Rapha has been owned since its launch by Simon Mottram and a group of founder shareholders, including lead investor Active Partners.

Since Rapha launched in 2004, the brand has introduced new levels of quality, style and performance to cycling apparel and accessories, underpinned by its four-year sponsorship of Team Sky. Rapha has pioneered new approaches to engaging with customers and enhancing their cycling and social experiences, with Rapha Clubhouses in key cities, the global Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the in-house Rapha Travel business, and global Rapha events series.

Rapha are operating 17 Clubhouses in major cities around the world, with seven new clubhouses opening by the end of this year alone - and their staff have been growing at a simialr rate.

RZC Investments and their backing mean Rapha can continue to roll out its Clubhouse network, Membership club and range of products and services, so that same experience will be truly global.

Simon Mottram, founder and chief executive of Rapha, said: "This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling. The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels.

"Support from RZC Investments will allow us to further expand our active global community of cyclists, develop even better and more innovative products and services to enhance cyclists’ lives and inspire many more people to take up the World’s greatest sport."

Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments, commented: "Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling. Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future. Rapha’s strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We’re excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places."

Does this mean Rapha is going to department stores? No, that seems highly unlikely. RZC Investments are also invested in Allied Cycle Works - the bike brand that previous Australian road champ (and Rapha ambassador) Peta Mullens was racing on this year. Tom and Steuart Walton of RZC Investments are both avid cyclists, and we suspect their investment allows further growth of an already growing brand.