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Verdict: 
Comfortable and cool bib shorts for hot summer rides
Weight: 
153g
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Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts
8 10

Rapha has been expanding its range of hot weather clothing over the past couple of years, and its new Flyweight Bib Shorts are its coolest and most breathable yet. Along with superb seated comfort from a well-shaped and cushioned padded insert, that makes them a great option for hot summer cycling.

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts.jpg

Rapha has employed the lightest fabric it has ever used to make these bib shorts. The lightness of the fabric is instantly revealed when you pull the shorts on; they feel much lighter than the Pro Team Lightweight bibs I reviewed a couple of years ago. They feel cooler than regular Rapha or other brand shorts, a subtle but discernible difference.

The fabric is very stretchy, enhancing the excellent fit, and supremely soft against the skin. It also has a shiny finished compared to the more matte appearance of Rapha's regular bib shorts. Can't say I'm a massive fan of that, but I do like the white hem and asymmetric logo colouring.

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - straps.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - straps.jpg

Despite how thin the material is, it's not fragile. It has proven to be perfectly durable during the time I've been testing them, and there certainly appears no drawback for the lightness. Still, these shorts wouldn't be my first choice for an adventure ride where you're likely to be tackling overgrown bramble bushes.

The thin and lightweight fabric means less heat buildup, but Rapha has also treated the fabric with coldblack, a treatment that reduces heat build-up. The combination of the two factors really does mean the shorts don't absorb or retain much heat and they never felt excessively warm on even the hottest days. If you run at all hot you'll love how cool these shorts make you feel.

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

Seated comfort is provided by the same padded insert as used in the Pro Team Lightweight Bib Shorts. It's a very comfortable chamois, definitely one of the most comfortable on the market, and excels on very long days in the saddle where there's no deterioration in comfort. It's perforated so it's more resistant to sweat build-up.

The top half of the bibs is made from a lightweight mesh, with two wide bib straps over the front and a large mesh rear panel, providing extra cooling when it gets hot. The edges of the bib straps have flat hems that eliminate chafing if worn without a base layer.

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

I found the fit is a little more generous than the Pro Team Lightweight shorts. The panel design is simpler and the high stretch factor of the material ensures the shorts are a little less restrictive in all areas, especially around the openings. A silicone dot gripper lining the hem helps to keep the shorts from riding up when you're riding hammer and tongs.

Like your bib shorts long or short? Rapha offers two length lengths, regular and short, with a 1in difference between the two. The latter is intended for shorter riders 'who prefer a higher hem on the thigh.' The fashion does appear to be for longer shorts, almost down to the knee cap, but Rapha shorts are just the right length in my opinion. Well, they line up nicely with my tan lines at least!

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - logo.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - logo.jpg

For riding in hot weather these are a good choice. Even if it's not south of France hot, just warm, they still provide good performance. I felt cooler wearing these shorts compared to regular bib shorts. Whether that impacts your performance is another matter, if you're doing a 6-hour ride in hot weather any little difference can obviously help. What they are is more comfortable when it's hot.

The Flyweight shorts obviously go well with the Pro Team Flyweight jersey I also reviewed recently. Wearing the two together provides outstanding performance in hot weather, and noticeably keeps you feeling cooler when the temperature increases. They each deal with sweat really well too, staying dry at all times.

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - side.jpg

Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts - side.jpg

Verdict

Comfortable and cool bib shorts for hot summer rides

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Flyweight Bib Shorts

Size tested: Small

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?

Rapha says:

The Flyweight Bib Shorts are designed for riding in hot and humid conditions. The shorts are made of an extremely lightweight, soft four-way stretch fabric - the lightest we've used in our bib shorts - that has been treated with coldblack® which reduces the build-up of heat. The upper section has a breathable and lightweight construction, with a thin mesh that stretches to fit over your shoulders. The chamois pad is the same perforated one used in the Pro Team Lightweight Bib Shorts. Featuring coloured uppers to pair with the Flyweight Jerseys, allowing you to look - and stay - cool as you take flight in the heat. The bibs are available in two lengths, regular and short, with a difference between leg lengths of approximately 1 inch. The short option is for shorter riders or those who prefer a higher hem on the thigh.

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

Available in two leg lengths - regular and short, with approximately 1 inch variation in length

Lightweight, soft four-way stretch fabric

Treated with coldblack to reduce absorption of sunlight and keep your legs cool

Rapha logo printed on left leg

Lightweight mesh stretch upper for comfort and breathability

Bonded elastic binding for a smooth finish

Lightweight silicone dot gripper to hold the shorts in place

Perforated, quick drying chamois pad (same as Pro Team Lightweight Bib Shorts)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

For riding in hot weather, these are excellent

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Despite the thinness of the material, durability hasn't noticeably suffered, and there's no sign of wear and tear in the usual places

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

The stretchy material provides a very comfortable fit

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

They're lighter than Rapha's standard shorts, and you do notice that on the bike

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Both fit, fabric feel and the chamois provide excellent comfort

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

For hot weather riding, heck even if it's just warm, these do work well to justify their price tag

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problems at all looking after them

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

Work well in hot weather

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great fit and comfort in hot weather

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The shiny finish, but that's purely a subjective criticism

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

While expensive compared to many bib shorts on the market, they're priced in line with Rapha's regular bib shorts, and if it's hot weather riding you have planned, these are noticeably more comfortable

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

4 comments

Avatar
Duncann [1046 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Just make sure they don't get a bit translucent when stretched... I've seen this on earlier lightweight Rapha shorts... and I wish I hadn't.

Avatar
Curly [62 posts] 1 month ago
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Looks a tad short in the leg, are these the one's made in china?

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DaSy [753 posts] 1 month ago
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My experience with Rapha Lightweight shorts is that the lightweight fabric doesn't have enough compression to hold the short firmly in place, so they tend to allow a bit of movement which I found uncomfortable after a while. 

 

I love the Pro Team standard short and they hold nice and firmly in place, although I now have much love for Castelli Velocissimo shorts, a much keener price  but with great fabric, fit and styling.

Avatar
mcm4to [20 posts] 1 month ago
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I agree with the comment about the sizing being more generous than the Lightweight bibs, I ordered a pair of Medium and had to send back for Small.  However, these are very comfortable bibs.