Home
Verdict: 
Pricey, but attractively styled and comfy with or without cycling shorts underneath
Weight: 
210g
Contact: 

The Rapha Touring Shorts are an elegant, if pricey, solution to the inelegant problem of the permanently lycra-clad commuter, or for anyone who wants some cycling shorts but doesn't want to wear Lycra or indeed wants shorts to wear over Lycra.

If you ride into work there's always the dilemma of whether to go full roadie, or cover up the lycra and avoid the stares in the street. Rapha have looked at this and their rather aesthetic solution is the Touring Short, designed to be worn over bib shorts (but equally capable without them).

They have a nice close-fitting leg to avoid the billowing seen in normal shorts, and a high waist to keep the rear cleavage from showing.

There are two pockets. The one to the rear above the bottom is smartphone/wallet sized, and the other, where the 'condom pocket' on jeans would normally be on the front, is large enough for keys or a bank card. These are not really load-carrying shorts, then, but rather carrying the essentials type of shorts.

I've ridden both commutes and longer days, and found them to be comfy and irritant free, thanks in part to the satin tape on the hems which keeps the legs friction free during your pedal stroke. Speaking of comfort, the waist is adjustable which is useful should you wish to swap between wearing shorts underneath or not.

If it rains, or rather when it rains, they dry quickly but the light colour does highlight stains quite easily. They do wash well though.

It's Rapha, so there's a little bit of pink there and while they feature a touch of reflectivity it's nicely done. And it's Rapha, so of course they are expensive; £80 may well be prohibitive for many. Having a look around and it seems there's a growing number of firms that are settling into this price band, so while it used to be easy to mock the company for their stratospheric pricing it looks like there's plenty willing to spend that sort of cash on a pair of shorts.

I've had them for a couple of months now and found them to be comfy enough to be worn all day, and I've even found myself using them as short of choice when not cycling.

Verdict

Pricey, but attractively styled and comfy with or without cycling shorts underneath

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Touring Shorts

Size tested: 32, Light Grey

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?

Designed for wearing over bibs, they are equally adept at commuting or longer day riding. I've used them for both and would agree.

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

Breathable fabric helps keep you cool and is quick drying although prone to showing grime in the light colour.

They feature a full-length gusset to prevent seam chafing and a non-slip waistband to keep them in place when riding.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Lightweight, comfy and quick drying.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

They've been worn for commuting and during the transcontinental and have remained in great condition the whole time.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Totally subjective, but they are undoubtedly expensive, however that's matched by their comfort. I've worn them a lot so the value has been good, and I'll keep on wearing them into next year.

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

Comfortable for all day riding and wearing.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfort is key, but they look really good too; being shot of the flappy shorts was very much appreciated.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They do show up the dirt easily in this colour which can be rather off-putting and leads to them being washed frequently.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, maybe not this colour though.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Comfortable, if pricey, alternative to going full-roadie for commuting, and day tripping.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 176cm  Weight:

I usually ride: Rapide RC4, Raleigh SP Race, Hoffman BMX  My best bike is: Rapide RC4

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Adventure-packing, crossing-countries

 

28 comments

Avatar
truffy [649 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

No, they're not flattering even on one who's svelte. They'd make us tubby buggers look like a sack o'spuds.

Avatar
NeilG83 [316 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

When touring I wear shorts over a pair of DhB padded boxers instead of cycling shorts. This is so I look a bit more respectable when stopping off to do sightseeing or shopping.

These Rapha shorts are too tight. There is no point hiding your lycra if your going to look ridiculous anyway. It looks like you're wearing a nappy under your shorts.

Avatar
Doper [74 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have 2 pairs of these shorts, they are wonderful! I use them for road, MTB and even just as normal shorts. People often comment on how awesome they look. I can confirm they are slim-fitting and very flattering.

Ignore the negative comments form the lard-arses above (unless you too are a lard-arse).

Avatar
musicalmarc [107 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have two pairs. Wait for the sales and they go down to around £60. I've worn a pair everyday for the last 12k miles all year around. They are very light and flexible so comfy in summer. They are windproof, at least they feel windproof, and stop the cold from freezing your jewels so I wear them over roubaix tights in winter.

I managed to rip the stitching on the bottom of one pair and ripped the fabric as the hole caught as I sat back down on the saddle. Sent them back to Rapha expecting them to say they were too old, I bought them 3 and a half years ago. They sent them back 2 weeks later with the rip patched. Didn't cost me a penny.

They withstand regular washing well and survived a crash without ripping or any visible damage.

I think they look good, I'm short and slim. I usually find shorts too baggy which isn't a good look on a small frame.

Avatar
Yennings [237 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have a pair of these shorts (in black, fortunately) and they are one of the most useful items in my cycling wardrobe. I won't hesitate to buy another pair when the time comes. I did get them in the sale, though - I rarely bother paying top whack for Rapha kit.

Avatar
philtregear [135 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

i think rapha is a naff brand. these shorts prove it.

Avatar
shaws [10 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I'll backup what others have already said. I waited for a sale as I didn't want to pay full whack but they are perfect for commuting and for wearing anytime you want to do a reasonable distance and not turn up in lycra. I would say that they look much more flattering than that first picture above would suggest!

Avatar
don simon fbpe [2989 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Rapha Touring Shorts £80.00
I'm a bit intrigued with all this Rapha bashing.
I mean I could go for some;
http://www.alwaysriding.co.uk/cafe-du-cycliste-paulette-short-1585.html
or some
http://www.alwaysriding.co.uk/giro-new-road-mobility-overshort-classic-f...
or some
http://www.alwaysriding.co.uk/muxu-tempest-3-4-short-1489.html
or even some
http://www.alwaysriding.co.uk/swrve-lightweight-wwr-3-4-length-shorts-23...
All around the ridiculous £80.00 mark.
[sniggers] Must've been a cold day when that first phot was taken... [/sniggers]

Avatar
mikeakelly [9 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I find myself wearing these shorts more & more often - for commuting, holiday beach / baguette runs and increasingly for MTB use where the fitted cut and light weight is perfect.

Avatar
Nick T [1297 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Can you guys who own and wear these please keep your positive experiences to yourselves, you're making those posters who feel obligated to offer their own assumptions based on the picture look a bit stupid.

Avatar
Flying Scot [1005 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I don't think they are naff, or stupid, but I know they wouldn't suit me.

As I get older I tend to have learnt that just because I don't like something, doesn't mean its crap.

Avatar
MaxP [81 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

What's the inside of the shorts like? Is it a wicking material or are the shorts not lined.

Thank you

Avatar
musicalmarc [107 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

The shorts aren't tight enough to be wicking you get airflow instead although they are pretty wind and shower proof so you can't really feel a draft. They are not lined. I wear them over a padded under-short for commuting. I've not got too hot in them in any UK weather.

Avatar
Rich71 [52 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

They look utterly ridiculous and more than likely promote an endless stream of ridicule and abuse where i live,possibly homophobic remarks ontop
i wouldnt be seen dead in them or pay the nonsensical price tag
I'll let the clueless public school poshos to make an arse of themselves coupled with their stupid pink shirt posh apparel

Avatar
musicalmarc [107 posts] 4 years ago
1 like
Rich71 wrote:

They look utterly ridiculous and more than likely promote an endless stream of ridicule and abuse where i live,possibly homophobic remarks ontop
i wouldnt be seen dead in them or pay the nonsensical price tag
I'll let the clueless public school poshos to make an arse of themselves coupled with their stupid pink shirt posh apparel

Where do you live? The 1920s?

Avatar
MaxP [81 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
musicalmarc wrote:

The shorts aren't tight enough to be wicking you get airflow instead although they are pretty wind and shower proof so you can't really feel a draft. They are not lined. I wear them over a padded under-short for commuting. I've not got too hot in them in any UK weather.

Thank you for the reply

Avatar
Blackhound [461 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Another lover of the (black) shorts here also got in a sale in 2009 or 2010. Wear them loads. I am slim-ish but no way am I racing skinny.

TBH I thought they were more expensive than this and put off even looking to buy another pair. Even willing to pay full price for an extra pair.

I do wear them touring or as evening shorts where it may be warmer when touring. Comments above is the usual split - those who have them love them and those who don't are Rapha bashing.

Avatar
bobinski [305 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have worn my black pair for commuting near enough every day for over 2 years. In winter over 3/4 or full length bibs. They are like new. Whereas the Surface shorts i bought before barely lasted from summer into spring.

Avatar
fredpo [7 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have two pairs (got them on sale). I've only used them a couple of times. Not touring, but for summer spins with many stops. They're kind of weird fitting. High waist but long legs. Looks a bit funny if your bibs have a thick chamois.
Overall good but not for everyone.

Avatar
BigDummy [314 posts] 4 years ago
1 like
Quote:

They look utterly ridiculous and more than likely promote an endless stream of ridicule and abuse where i live,possibly homophobic remarks ontop
i wouldnt be seen dead in them

I wear them to annoy you and your hick mates.

 1

Avatar
step-hent [726 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:

Can you guys who own and wear these please keep your positive experiences to yourselves, you're making those posters who feel obligated to offer their own assumptions based on the picture look a bit stupid.

Heh!

musicalmarc wrote:
Rich71 wrote:

They look utterly ridiculous and more than likely promote an endless stream of ridicule and abuse where i live,possibly homophobic remarks ontop
i wouldnt be seen dead in them or pay the nonsensical price tag
I'll let the clueless public school poshos to make an arse of themselves coupled with their stupid pink shirt posh apparel

Where do you live? The 1920s?

Again, heh!

BigDummy wrote:
Quote:

They look utterly ridiculous and more than likely promote an endless stream of ridicule and abuse where i live,possibly homophobic remarks ontop
i wouldnt be seen dead in them

I wear them to annoy you and your hick mates.

 1

And heh again! Thank you to Nick T, musicalmarc and BigDummy for brightening up another same-old-Rapha-comments-section.

Avatar
Northernbike [229 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

It would be quite fun if rapha included some of these quotes on their website so instead of some earnest journalist saying how comfortable a jersey was there was just some rant about 'public school poshos'. not sure if it would be a good marketing strategy but it would make people smile

Avatar
glynr36 [635 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Northernbike wrote:

It would be quite fun if rapha included some of these quotes on their website so instead of some earnest journalist saying how comfortable a jersey was there was just some rant about 'public school poshos'. not sure if it would be a good marketing strategy but it would make people smile

Would make me buy more Rapha in the knowledge I was annoying all the povo scum

Avatar
Paul__M [52 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I'm not the sort to send £20 on a coffee mug, but if the slim line 'Rapha cut' fits you these are a quality item. I've spent half the last 2 summers in these, and mine too still look like new. The stretch panel isn't obvious but makes these the best thing for road riding that isn't lycra. Better than baggies yet more formal.

Avatar
arfa [859 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Shame the brand has become so "Marmite". I don't own any of their kit but it looks like you get what you pay for and I rarely hear a bad word about it from those who own it.
I guess it is "aspirational" which sits awkwardly with the British psyche. All I will say is that Simon Mottram has set it up from scratch whilst struggling to bring up his autistic son which is one thing I am qualified to say is not easy to do whilst setting up & growing a business. Good luck to him and Rapha and no, it's not just for toffs  3

Avatar
RobD [786 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Do they come in any other colours?
I really like the Vulpine shorts, which are also a little less, but I do sometimes wish the legs were a bit longer (I don't really suit the short shorts look)
For going out riding for the day but not 'training' or racing, this sort of short is perfect, padded undershorts can make them comfy enough to ride for ages but even without they're great. Not sure why every some people insist on dressing up like a pro racer every time they ride a bike for more than 10 minutes but each to their own.

Avatar
notfastenough [3734 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Northernbike wrote:

It would be quite fun if rapha included some of these quotes on their website so instead of some earnest journalist saying how comfortable a jersey was there was just some rant about 'public school poshos'. not sure if it would be a good marketing strategy but it would make people smile

This always made me laugh about the DVD for the movie Fight Club - there's a quote on the packaging about it being the worst film ever or some such thing.

Avatar
Anthony.C [278 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I bought a pair of the black ones when I first started road cycling, to preserve my modesty. They had the opposite effect. They exaggerated bulges, generally got in the way and and kept sliding down and naff is a good word for them. Fortunately you can always flog used Rapha gear to misguided cyclists who think they are getting a bargain.