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Verdict: 
Supremely comfortable and well-fitting shorts with one of the best padded inserts currently available.
Weight: 
0g
Contact: 
www.rapha.cc
Rapha Pro Team bib shorts
8 10

Rapha's Pro Team bib shorts are luxuriously comfortable shorts that happily go the distance, with a great fit and smart appearance.

Rapha's Pro Team kit, designed in collaboration with its sponsored pro riders, has been around for a number of years. The shorts have been tweaked and improved in that time, with better quality stitching and a variety of colours so you can colour match your riding kit - choose from pink, white or yellow for the Rapha logo.

You get a sense of the Pro Team fit when you pull the shorts on, they're a bit snug. Once you've manoeuvred the Lycra into place though, they're extremely well fitting shorts. The shape and position of the various panels ensures a good fit that is very racey, some will find them perhaps a little tight. They're not called Pro Team for nothing. Once you're pedalling, there's no restriction of movement.

The Lycra material used has a good degree of stretch, with a very high level of support. You feel cosseted in them, but they're not trying to do the trick of compression clothing. The material is treated with a coldblack dye that is supposed to reflect the sun's ray's. The hot weather we've had recently (though rapidly a distant memory) gave ample opportunity to put this to the test. I honestly couldn't tell the difference over regular shorts.

As has become popular with top-end shorts, the leg openings feature a wide seamless elastic band, with small gripper details, that does a good job of spreading the pressure over the legs, not too tight, but tight enough to ensure they stay put, and don't do that annoying gradual slide up the legs as you pedal.

Inside is a padded insert made by Cytech. Compared to some of the fancy pads that some shorts in this price range come with, this is a very simple pad. Its shape and generous padding ensures it's highly comfortable. It's the same as the one used in the Classic bib shorts, which is no bad thing as they are easily among the most comfortable bib shorts on the market. I've done a 10-day sportive in the Alps with regular 6+ hour days on the same chamois, and it's remarkably comfortable. If you want a pair of shorts that will still be comfortable after that sort of duration, you really can't go wrong with these.

The bibs straps are lined with mesh and comfortably support the shorts over the shoulders. There is a race radio pocket, a sign of their pro race design influence, which you could probably use for an MP3 player if you're desperate to make use of the feature. I mostly ignored it.

The fit and detailing of these shorts is superb, and comfort that provides, along with the padded insert, delivers mile after mile comfort. From racing to sportives and even touring, these are comfortable shorts to ride in. The insert is well-positioned and works exceptionally well in an aggressive position, such as when you're on the drops. After several hundred miles and plenty of 30 degree washing machine cycles, they're proving durable too.

Style is a subjective matter, but the understated look and small flash of colour provided by the contract logo makes them a good choice for anyone who can't stand some of the more garish cycle clothing available.

As nice as they are, I'd plump for Rapha's equally comfortably, and slightly more generous fitted, Classic shorts and pocket the saving.

Verdict

Supremely comfortable and well-fitting shorts with one of the best padded inserts currently available.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Pro Team bibshorts 2013

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?

Offering the same fabric, fit and construction as Rapha's Team Sky Pro Bib Shorts, the latest Pro Team Bib Shorts have been designed in collaboration with leading riders.

Featuring pared-back styling and striking contrast details, they are made from a Lycra-based fabric which is both supportive and durable. The fabric is treated with coldblack®, a highly-technical dye that reflects the sun's rays to keep the fabric cool against the skin. In hot conditions, this means the body needn't expend unnecessary energy to keep cool, and can use it instead to improve riding performance. All Rapha's pro-grade bib shorts use the same award-winning Cytech pad.

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

Lycra-based fabric

Tight, supportive and lightweight

High-grade leg grippers for comfort and stability

coldblack® technology for superior cooling

Anatomic Cytech pad

Permanent wicking treatment

Multiple panel construction for optimum fit

Reinforced seat panel and bonded seams for comfort

RAPHA block logos on legs

Name label for team laundry use

Race radio pockets either side of spine

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Extremely solid construction with hard-wearing durability.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

You'll be hard-pressed to find shorts more comfortable than these. The fit best suits racers and performance minded cyclists, as they are very fitted.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No concerns so far.

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

The padded insert used is among the best currently available, but you get the same insert in Rapha's cheaper Classic shorts.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Yes they're bloody expensive, but the fit, comfort, details, durability and yes, I have to mention it, style means they just about justify it. Some people are clearly going to be put off by the price, but if you're not, here's a top-end bib short with supreme comfort.

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

For fast riding and long rides, they provided ample comfort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit is excellent and the insert is so comfortable.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

That price, there's no getting away from it.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes I would.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

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.

30 comments

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NeilXDavis [124 posts] 3 years ago
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Any bike shorts at that price simply cannot return 7/10 for value. What logic that would return that?.

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dave atkinson [6290 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
NeilXDavis wrote:

Any bike shorts at that price simply cannot return 7/10 for value. What logic that would return that?.

*sets watch*

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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I was almost to scared the read the article after reading the titles and seeing 170 pounds  102

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derek n clive [243 posts] 3 years ago
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The pad and compression fabric in these shorts is superb and after their first year of hard use with many centuries ridden they still look as good as new. Moaners can moan all they like but IMO it was cash well spent.

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ajmarshal1 [417 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
NeilXDavis wrote:

Any bike shorts at that price simply cannot return 7/10 for value. What logic that would return that?.

Why not? If they last as long as they reportedly do, they're worth the money. Rapha also offer a free crash or wear repair facility. Counter that with the apparently 'good value' Dhb shorts which I barely got 6 months out of. Personally I don't own any Rapha kit but ride with people who do, when I next decide to replace a set of bibs, these are top of the list.
People happily pay that for a pair of jeans, why not for your kit when you're on your bike? If you don't want them, don't buy them.

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EvansYelhsa [12 posts] 3 years ago
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well said sir  41

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cidermart [495 posts] 3 years ago
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I got a pair of these in May and they are fantastic IMO. Money well spent as far as I am concerned and they are backed up by the crash repair service as mentioned above.

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
ajmarshal1 wrote:
NeilXDavis wrote:

Any bike shorts at that price simply cannot return 7/10 for value. What logic that would return that?.

Why not? If they last as long as they reportedly do, they're worth the money. Rapha also offer a free crash or wear repair facility. Counter that with the apparently 'good value' Dhb shorts which I barely got 6 months out of. Personally I don't own any Rapha kit but ride with people who do, when I next decide to replace a set of bibs, these are top of the list.
People happily pay that for a pair of jeans, why not for your kit when you're on your bike? If you don't want them, don't buy them.

Yeah I've heard that recently as well which really makes the initial price abstract. I've got a pair of Santini shorts which I really really like but they have worn out after a year - as in starting to show through at the rear. They cost about £80-£90 so if you get 2-3 years out of Rapha or Assos then it's simply better value. I don't have any Assos or Rapha stuff but the repair/early wear thing is what makes them much more appealing - especially coupled with the supposedly great comfort they offer.

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sneakerfrfeak [108 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

A friend I ride with has a pair of these, the logo on the leg started to crack after about 18 months. He contacted Rapha and they sent him a brand new pair. I'd give them 10/10 for VFM.

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thejonesy [29 posts] 3 years ago
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Eyewateringly expensive but if you value quality products and aftersales service i think they are worth every penny. I have a pair of 3/4 bibs and after wearing them for 2.5 years had a problem with the pad causing discomfort. I contacted Rapha to see if was possible to replace the pad, and they couldn't have been more helpful. A postage label to send them in, a couple of phone calls from the guys there to establish that I hadnt altered anything on the bike etc, and they swapped them for a new pair, explaining they had improved the stitch design for the pad. Got to say customer service like that is a rare thing these days. Save up for them, they are worth it!  4

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pwake [410 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Everyone's being nice about Rapha; what's going on? Very disappointing...

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sneakerfrfeak [108 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
pwake wrote:

Everyone's being nice about Rapha; what's going on? Very disappointing...

That's because people who actually use their products are commenting, rather than those who prefer to bitch about them purely based on the cost.

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timbola [248 posts] 3 years ago
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Rapha Classic bibs are the most comfortable I have ever owned - still going strong, as are the various Rapha jerseys I own - they really do wash well and have been used for years already (first one bought in 2007) through summer, autumn, winter and spring, rain come shine. Biased, moi ? Probably, but I will reiterate others' comments ... they may cost more, but they last way longer as well as being comfy.

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HowardR [122 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

I might be tempted to invest in some of their shorts - if they didn't have the logo splatted (tastefully I'm sure  29 ) all over them.

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Colin Peyresourde [1794 posts] 3 years ago
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The trade off between price and quality is an interesting one. There's never going to be a fundamental test which proves a higher price gives rise to better value.

My personal thoughts are that you do get more out of these clothes. Whether it is because you take better care or because they are made better is hard to tell. But I get joy out of wearing designed clothes.

I have an old pair of Gore bibshorts. They have lasted too, but the comfort and fit aren't as good. Sure they do what they should but on a long bike ride the chamois becomes uncomfortable and the grippers start to pinch.

If I am doing 100+ miles I want the good stuff. And to be honest I love the classic stylings of these (which actually look more classic than the 'classic' bibshorts).

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 3 years ago
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I have the pro-team shorts from the Condor-Sharp era, admittedly having only paid £40 for them at a Rapha sample sale. They are really very good.

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sorebones [139 posts] 3 years ago
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HowardR wrote:

I might be tempted to invest in some of their shorts - if they didn't have the logo splatted (tastefully I'm sure  29 ) all over them.

You need to locate an imperial works member - the IW pro team shorts have a subtle black on black logo, very nice looking indeed.

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dave atkinson [6290 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
HowardR wrote:

I might be tempted to invest in some of their shorts - if they didn't have the logo splatted (tastefully I'm sure  29 ) all over them.

you can have the classic bibs in black with a black logo

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NeilXDavis [124 posts] 3 years ago
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OK..I own 4 pairs of Assos Uno bibs which retail at around £90. They last years (Ive had one set over 8) and are extremely comfortable blah blah.

I also own numerous pairs of DHB (cheap £40ish) for commuting and some Castelli's (mid range £60-80ish) just as an alternative to Assos. They all have a function and all perform that perfectly.

When a product enters the market that is almost double the price I currently pay I fail to see how it can get a value score of 7 out of 10.

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boardmanrider [93 posts] 3 years ago
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Uh huh, like the Asso Bib-shorts with the n*t sack that go for £300 odd. Asso are just as expensive as Rapha.

I have a pair of these in RCS colours: best shorts I've ever had. Very comfortable, fantastic fit with great style.

I commute 400km plus a week - comfort is everything for me, these deliver.

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derek n clive [243 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
NeilXDavis wrote:

OK..I own 4 pairs of Assos Uno bibs which retail at around £90. They last years (Ive had one set over 8) and are extremely comfortable blah blah.

I also own numerous pairs of DHB (cheap £40ish) for commuting and some Castelli's (mid range £60-80ish) just as an alternative to Assos. They all have a function and all perform that perfectly.

When a product enters the market that is almost double the price I currently pay I fail to see how it can get a value score of 7 out of 10.

FWIW I currently use a pair of old Asso Uno’s (pretty good and still going), Assos t607 Thermal Bibs (better pad than the Uno’s and nice compression), Giordana G-Shield water resistant bibs (they do the job but their top end pad isn’t as good as Assos’) and Rapha Pro Teams. The latter is without question the best of the bunch. I’d rather forget the Santini and dhb efforts that I’ve tried - lycra that gives up, pads that end up pancake flat and logos that come off after a season’s washing. I’ve learned my lesson – invest in the good stuff.

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Nick T [1036 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
NeilXDavis wrote:

OK..I own 4 pairs of Assos Uno bibs which retail at around £90. They last years (Ive had one set over 8) and are extremely comfortable blah blah.

I also own numerous pairs of DHB (cheap £40ish) for commuting and some Castelli's (mid range £60-80ish) just as an alternative to Assos. They all have a function and all perform that perfectly.

When a product enters the market that is almost double the price I currently pay I fail to see how it can get a value score of 7 out of 10.

Cool story bro.

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nadimk [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Here is my take on these shorts after six months, and I am a qualified Rapha snob. I have the RCS version. They have MUCH more compression than many shorts I have owned, including their classics. They are very comfortable with a great pad, which is much thicker than my Assos and Castelli top level shorts. They only niggle is the medial lower thigh seam that can be felt in the first 20-30 minutes of riding. After that, they melt away. I do think coldblack works when the sun is shining bright. If you want super soft and comfy, I'd go with Castelli's top offerings, but the styling is awful and the pad is not as cushy. I will say that the Rapha pad takes a long time to dry compared to other shorts. Overall, these are my favorite shorts.

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Nick T [1036 posts] 3 years ago
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The pad is one thing that's held me back on trying these (the other is the fact I like the jerseys and Rapha top+bottom might be a stretch too far aesthetically but I digress), it does seem a bit too thick for me. Nothing wrong with a good strip of leather chamois, thin and firm is more my thing than thick and overly spongy. I suppose I could always try the classic ones with their 30 day no quibble money back guarantee.

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G-bitch [323 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm interested in the durability comments - that's the key thing for me. I've got assos stuff that has survived some serious use, but this talk of the classic bib having a slightly thicker (UK friendly!) more durable fabric and the quality pad is making me consider putting the pennies aside....

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WolfieSmith [1365 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a pair of Rapha classic shorts and RCS kit. By far the most comfortable shorts and jersey I've ever had and pretty durable. You get what you pay for. The coal black technology I was dubious of but after sitting outside the cafe in hot sunshine for an hour the kit did stay cool to the touch compared with my mates.

My oldest winter jersey is now 6 years old and still going strong. It's wearing a little thin on the inside but still looks brand new on the outside.

Right. That's enough praise for Rapha. It's not as if they're paying me. But then they don't need to - which says something about the quality of their kit.

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WolfieSmith [1365 posts] 3 years ago
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As for the scores. I make it 41:50 - 82% positive. If you factor in that they will last at beast two years then the price of £150-170 is still cost effective.

As a few people have said - don't knock 'em until you try them. Spending £800 on carbon wheels you don't need and £50 on shorts is always going to be a false economy which you will begin to feel after just 30 miles. ..

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Spooks [59 posts] 3 years ago
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Have a set of these and love them, by far most comfortable compared to my others ( Shutt and Enduro equipe club kit), understated considering it's in screaming chartreuse and seem pretty bomb proof. Managed to buy them a bit cheaper or else I may not have bought them originally but would now buy them without hesitation at full price.

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indy [5 posts] 3 years ago
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post removed

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SLaurent [1 post] 3 years ago
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You can try the Classic Rapha Bib for free, they have the same pad as the Pro shorts. If after using them for a few days you don't like them just send them back. I did they did not "fit" me I prefer My Assos F1 Mille S 5 bibs.