Rapha Lightweight Bib Shorts  £155.00

9/10

Excellent, comfortable bib shorts for long, hot days of summer riding

Weight 180g   Contact  www.rapha.cc

by zzgavin   August 25, 2014  

This is version 2 of Rapha's Lightweight bib shorts, which use a specific pad and different fabrics to make shorts that are 50g lighter than Rapha's classic bib shorts and that are genuinely cooler on hot days.

The styling is typical Rapha. There's a coloured band on the left thigh and a Rapha logo on the thigh in translucent materials. It is subtle, but easily recognisable too. I tested these bib shorts with the matching super light weight jersey, so I could assess the combined outfit. From a distance the Chartreuse yellow is not as bright as it might seem in the photos, but it suits a sunnier day.

The shorts are a simple all-black look, bar the yellow band and white straps. There is a cut out in the back of the mesh, which aids cooling, but does handle and look a little odd. It is tempting to put a hand through the hole, mistaking it for an arm hole, but that is only a slight distraction when putting the bibs on.

The leg grippers are quite different in design from other shorts. Rather than a laser cut hem or a thick strip of silicone, they use three thin strips of silicone, which really works well and is easy to adjust. Once on, the bibs are really very comfortable and the leg fabric stays exactly where it is put.

The main fabric of the shorts has a sun protection factor of 50, so no sunburnt hips with these on, and they are opaque.

I rode with the matching super lightweight jersey on a few properly warm days out into Essex, with the temperatures touching 30°C in the shade. The pad is really excellent. I didn't feel as warm and sweaty as I have done on similar hot days with other shorts. The perforation and design of the pad do seem to have a cooling effect.

The mesh fabric of the upper and straps also helped with the moisture transfer to keeping me feeling cooler. Even some steep, albeit short climbs didn't make me too hot.

The best way to describe the shorts is that I didn't really notice them, I could just get on with riding. The pad is described as lightweight, but compared to the 'cross bib shorts I own from Rapha, I thought it was actually more comfortable.

The grippers work well too, there was no creeping up of the fabric on my thighs, nor any bunching in between my legs. The shorts have also washed well and seem to dry quickly too.

I'm planning on taking these with me to ride in Provence in the summer and hoping to stay nice and cool with them. The colour is even growing on me, though my family are of the opinion that the colour might suit someone a bit more tanned than I am.

The Rapha Lightweight bib shorts are at the expensive end of the market, but this sort of high summer or climber bib shorts are a new area of development. Each company making this ype of shorts is claiming unique fabrics and a superior design.

I think these work well for hot conditions and would be worth buying if you intend to ride in temperatures of mid twenties and up for a sustained period, but a regular British summer might not get warm enough to justify them.

Verdict

Excellent, comfortable bib shorts for long, hot days of summer riding

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Lightweight Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Lightweight and breathable summer bib shorts

With a newly improved gripper and new colour ways, these shorts are designed for hot summer conditions. They use a soft, stretch Fabric for breathability, which is also lighter than other Rapha Bib Shorts. The Fabric also incorporates sun-block treatment. There is a lighter mesh on the bib section and a larger cutaway at the back. The chamois pad was developed exclusively for Rapha and is lightweight and perforated. The bibs are stitched for comfort and durability.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Lightweight Fabric

High-wicking mesh

Proprietary perforated pad

Larger cutaway back section

SPF factor 50+

Lightweight Bib Shorts (medium size): 168 grammes

Colour-matched leg stripe and side panels

Lightweight, extra-wide gripper

Colour-on-colour Rapha logos

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Well thought out and comfortable bib shorts, gripper and strap design is good and pad is excellent.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Perform as well as you could want, you feel cooler than a regular set of bibs and they are light too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Wearing well so far, they wash well, dry quickly and have stayed in shape.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
10/10

Probably the lightest set of bib shorts I own, yet this has not compromised the comfort of the pad.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Great fit for me in a medium, cool feeling and comfortable, leg grippers hold the shorts in place. Fit best when in the saddle, slightly taut when walking about and not on the bike.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Expensive, but cheaper than some regular shorts. Justifiable if you ride in hot conditions regularly.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great airy set of bib shorts for a hot day. I find my self reaching for these when it is sunny.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The pad is really comfortable on a hot day.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Very little, even the colour is growing on me.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, looking forward to riding in France wearing them.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 193cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Condor terra-x  My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Brompton

 

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Personally I hate all this fluorescent stuff. I'm a cyclist - not a cheap lolly.

It may be fashionable on the continent but since elderly Italians are still riding around in all white kit with sleeveless jerseys do we need fashion tips from them?

I'll stick to my red, white and blue Manchester Wheelers kit with the Rapha classic shorts for long distance rides. Class and comfort.

Smug? You bet I am. : )

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1084 posts]
25th August 2014 - 9:25

4 Likes

£155 for a pair of bib shorts is to steep for me. I'm happy with my Altura progel bib shorts, recently bought for £50......

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2826 posts]
25th August 2014 - 10:17

4 Likes

Asymmetric detailing looks pretty nice, but it does bug me a little when hi-vis details are on the non-traffic side! I feel like there ought to be different versions for cycling in the UK vs on the continent... Tongue

posted by Toast [10 posts]
25th August 2014 - 11:21

4 Likes

Sounds great, but is it possible to get them (or similar performance) without the lopsided colour scheme and the branding? If Rapha is the 'thing to wear', I want to wear something else (of equivalent standard).

posted by truffy [479 posts]
25th August 2014 - 14:49

2 Likes

truffy wrote:
Sounds great, but is it possible to get them (or similar performance) without the lopsided colour scheme and the branding? If Rapha is the 'thing to wear', I want to wear something else (of equivalent standard).

of course it is.

the review is here becaus the shorts got sent in for review.

doesnt mean you have to buy them!

look around the shops and the internet and you will find perfectly decent stuff that looks similar.

pearl izumi do some great looking shorts at a better price, santini do a nice set with a subtle flouro band.

posted by russwparkin [26 posts]
25th August 2014 - 16:35

2 Likes

russwparkin wrote:
look around the shops and the internet and you will find perfectly decent stuff that looks similar.

pearl izumi do some great looking shorts at a better price, santini do a nice set with a subtle flouro band.

Like this:
http://road.cc/content/review/121256-dhb-blok-fluoro-cycle-bib-shorts
If you must wear fluoro you can still be stylish. Slightly cheaper too.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1396 posts]
26th August 2014 - 0:10

3 Likes

truffy wrote:
Sounds great, but is it possible to get them (or similar performance) without the lopsided colour scheme and the branding? If Rapha is the 'thing to wear', I want to wear something else (of equivalent standard).

You can get the Rapha Classic ones, with out the band on the left.
Or Pro Team with RAPHA in place of the band on the leg (on the outside of the thigh). Classics are £160, Pro teams are a bit more at £190

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [495 posts]
26th August 2014 - 7:22

3 Likes

exactly!

posted by russwparkin [26 posts]
26th August 2014 - 7:53

2 Likes

Spectacularly good shorts. By a distance the most comfortable and fastest drying pair I own and worth every penny. I'll also add that despite being 'lightweight' I've worn them down to temperatures in the low teens and they're no colder than any other bib short I own.

Just sublime.

posted by ajmarshal1 [355 posts]
26th August 2014 - 15:05

2 Likes

ajmarshal1 wrote:
Spectacularly good shorts. By a distance the most comfortable and fastest drying pair I own and worth every penny. I'll also add that despite being 'lightweight' I've worn them down to temperatures in the low teens and they're no colder than any other bib short I own.

Just sublime.

Low teens? Winter is coming as the say.
I'd call the colour more sublemon than sublime.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1396 posts]
26th August 2014 - 15:32

2 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
ajmarshal1 wrote:
Spectacularly good shorts. By a distance the most comfortable and fastest drying pair I own and worth every penny. I'll also add that despite being 'lightweight' I've worn them down to temperatures in the low teens and they're no colder than any other bib short I own.

Just sublime.

Low teens? Winter is coming as the say.
I'd call the colour more sublemon than sublime.

Yes, low teens and I haven't felt like I needed a heavier weight material at all so can see them being good enough at even lower temperatures and getting use out of them through until the really cold stuff arrives. When winter arrives out come the 3/4s.

As for the colour, mine have a white stripe. Chartreuse is soooooo 2013.

posted by ajmarshal1 [355 posts]
27th August 2014 - 15:47

2 Likes

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