These Rapha Women's Winter Tights are designed for those looking to ride in comfort all winter long, no matter what the conditions.
They're made from high quality Italian Thermoroubaix fabric, which has a soft fleecy backing to it for warmth and moisture wicking properties.
These are female specific in cut and design, with a high front panel with zip, and a stetchy mesh back panel. Unlike the dhbs they are unpadded to allow for your own choice of undercarriage arrangements. There's a generous zipped back pocket for a race radio or just your valuables, and the backside features toughened fabric for durability and to repel any road spray. The legs are pre shaped, to maximize on bike comfort, and mesh stirrups at the foot are designed to be easily removed (albeit permanently) if you're not that keen.
The tights are pleasantly low key in looks, with little to dislike - mostly black and with some subtle white accents and a white panel that graces the left calf. The white patch left me a little baffled, being on the left leg as it is (and therefore not contributing significantly to visibility on UK roads), but I confirmed with Rapha that the choice of left leg is based around suitability for the Rest of the World, particularly the Continent. It's not reflective anyway, just white.
The size medium was true to size, and about equivalent of a UK12. Taller, or more buxom ladies might find the fit somewhat restrictive though and may want to consider going up a size, given the stretchy nature of the fabric and fit anyway, which can take up a little slack (or give some). On the bike they were extremely comfortable, offering a good level of warmth for most winter conditions. They're not the warmest tights available on the market, with no windproof or softshell panels, but for all but the coldest conditions, they keep the body and legs a good stable temperature, offering a satisfying balance of breathability and warmth, without overheating.
With other women's winter tights available at significantly lower prices, it's hard to justify the £170 price tag for these, even as well made and nicely designed as they are. Ultimately, in my opinion, there's not enough difference between the fit, fabric quality and performance of the Rapha tights versus those of rival manufacturers to warrant what could be from £40 to £100 more.
Well made, nicely shaped and very comfortable but we're not sure about the price.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Women's Winter Tights
Size tested: Medium, Black
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 for winter use.
Do just what they are supposed to.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Italian Thermoroubaix fabric (nylon, polyester and elastane)
Flat locked seams to avoid chafing
Rear zipped pocket.
Mesh foot stirrups.
Machine washable at 40
Avaiable in sizes XXS-XL
Good quality fabric and well made.
Extremely comfortable and a good balance of warmth and breathability for most winter conditions.
Will last well due to lack of integral pad (i.e you can wear it more often between washes if you want).
Excellent comfort, both in terms of fit and also levels of warmth and breatheability.
Not sufficiently superior to several other bib tights on the market at significantly lower prices to warrant the extra cost.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well. Comfortable and just the right level of warmth.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, fit, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, given other bibs available at lower prices.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Extremely well made and very comfortable to ride in, but just too expensive for what they are. Better value elsewhere.
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,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.