Buy them. You know you’re worth it
Rapha Women's short
10 10

Every woman spends her life searching for the perfect pair of jeans, ones that are comfortable, look great, aren’t too fashionable but just stylish enough, are versatile, and even forgiving when she puts on a pound or two. Most never find those jeans. Somehow, maestros of cycle clothing Rapha have managed to address the female cyclist’s equivalent quest, the search for the perfect cycling shorts. I am going to show my hand right from the word go, here, I cannot recommend these shorts highly enough!

Made from silky, stretchy non-shiny lycra, these are as close as you can get to riding naked, although probably significantly more comfortable. The fabric acts like a second skin, moving with your body as you ride, and with good moisture transfer properties to keep you comfortable and dry no matter how warm the conditions. The longer cut in the leg may not appeal to those who like to show a little limb, or want a tan up to their armpits, but it will most certainly appeal to anyone looking for a more flattering cut. The effective leg grippers are positioned just right to not bite into more generous thighs, but also not low enough that they pinch tendons. Sizing was absolutely perfect, and just that little bit forgiving.

Clever shaping of the lumbar area, with added grips means there’s no worry about gaps appearing between jersey and short, even when riding on the drops, while a soft panel at the tummy area means a flattering shape and no cutting in.

Most important though, the female specific pad is without a doubt the most effective and unobtrusive and comfortable I’ve ever had the pleasure to ride on. It’s just the right thickness and density, a great anatomical shape, has no irritating seams, it wicks well and remains comfortable throughout the ride, and it’s not even overly visible from the outside.

Bearing in mind that you will probably neglect all your other shorts from now on in favour of only ever wearing these, cost per wear is not an issue. If Rapha brought out some other colours, that’d be birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries and Valentines sorted for the rest of my natural life.

I’m not sure if it was an awareness of the value of the kit I was wearing, and a feeling that my riding should somehow live up to that, but I’d swear I was faster wearing these!


Buy them. You know you’re worth it.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Women\'s short

Size tested: 12

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?

Aimed at female road cyclists looking for a flattering longer cut short, combining the comfort and performance of Rapha's men's shorts without the inconvenience of bibs.

Does just that. The closest thing to a skinsuit for those who wouldn't even consider one.

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

Matt black, soft, strong lycra fabric

Female specific deluxe pad by Cytech

Soft gripper at thigh and lumbar area

Shaped lumbar region to prevent drafts

Flat lock stitching

Reflective tabs for visibility

Sizes UK8-16

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Beautifully crafted. Flawless construction.

Rate the product for performance:

Like riding in a second skin, only more comfortable.

Wicked moisture well, even in hot conditions

Rate the product for durability:

Worth treating with the respect you would afford a cashmere jumper. Not fragile, but you'll want these to last as long as is humanly possible, and with the number of times you'll probably wear them, it's worth taking precautions.

Velcro is the enemy of such soft fabric.

Don't iron them (it say so in the instructions). Why would you?

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

So comfortable you could genuinely forget you're wearing them.

Rate the product for value:

They are staggeringly expensive, but you really cannot put a price on this kind of comfort and quality.

Start saving now.

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

A superbly designed and constructed pair of shorts, that perform as well as Rapha would suggest they should.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product


More colours would be nice.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing. The price if we're going to be really picky.

Did you enjoy using the product? Immensely.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? At the drop of a chapeau.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Other short designers pay attention. If Rapha can produce a short like this, why haven't more?

*editor's note: On the basis that perfection doesn't exist on the Earthly plain we really, really don't like giving products 10. However, Leonie insists that these shorts really are perfect so on this occasion we're giving in

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,


bikeylikey [195 posts] 5 years ago

"Every woman spends her life searching for the perfect pair of jeans"

So that's what they're secretly thinking about then. What they spend their lives on, every woman, across the world. The millions denied trousers for religious reasons, how they must suffer. Intellectuals and politicians, if female, are really wrestling with the problem of finding the perfect pair of jeans. Jane Austen, if she were alive now. The Queen. Is this the secret of womanhood revealed, the mystery which baffles man?

Denzil Dexter [140 posts] 5 years ago

Wahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwahwaah…ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Sensors have gone off the scale for smug, sarcy, pious, and sanctimonious all at the same time!

Barry Fry-up [187 posts] 5 years ago

wow, it's like being back in sixth form

jova54 [642 posts] 5 years ago

It must be true because the article was written by a female.  3 and as my wife keeps telling me, women are always right!

bikeylikey [195 posts] 5 years ago

Yeh, sorry, I just saw that first sentence and thought 'blimey it's a bit much, suggesting that's what women spend their lives thinking about. All of them'. Not thought through, not true. So I thought I was having a laugh, albeit in a sarky way. A bit of a sixth form impulse, yes. I realised it might be too much and tried to remove the whole thing but couldn't. With hindsight I see what you mean by sounding 'pious' and 'smug', but I didn't intend that at the time. So, I apologise.