Rapha's Women's Padded Tights could become a winter essential. They are warm, comfortable and come with a pad too.
Made with Thermo Roubaix fabric, the fleece lining feels really soft against your skin. The main fabric is a nylon and polyester mix with elastane thrown in there for a nice stretch. This combination means they keep you warm and dry quickly.
One of the best features of these tights is the high-rise waistband. Not only does it give you the added warmth needed in winter, it really makes you feel secure. Tights sometimes leave you feeling like you might be exposed, but these tights go on high and stay high, so you show nothing.
With Rapha, you want everything to be perfect because of the price. When it comes to construction these tights are great. They use flatlock stitching which means comfort as well as smoothness. The overall feel of the tights is one of good quality. I have been wearing these a lot, and recently discovered some bobbling on the saddle side of the pad. It's nothing major, but worth noting.
When pulling on the tights, they pretty much glide over your skin and aren't difficult to get in to. I tried the medium and found they fitted very well. I am however on the shorter side and I did find the high waistband probably came up higher on me than it would on those above my 159cm size. This isn't an issue, as it just means more warmth.
When riding in 8 degrees, they were warm and stayed in place. I found the chamois really comfortable and great for longer rides. The pad is on the thicker side and there is no thinking these are anything but cycling tights off the bike.
I wore the dark grey and chartreuse tights and the colour accents really stood out. Despite the dark grey, I felt very visible because the leg panels offer much more than a token splash of colour.
At £160 they are at the higher end of the price range for winter tights. Bearing in mind the quality of the materials used, the very good fit and the comfort, they are worth the money.
Great tights for longer distances; warm and comfortable, they will see you through this winter and next
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Make and model: Rapha Women's Padded Tights
Size tested: n/a
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?
Tights aimed at women road users who want to stay warm in the saddle. The women specific chamois is extremely comfortable and makes these my favourite tights.
Highly comfortable, full-length winter tights with chamois pad, made with fleece-lined fabrics, contrast panelling and reflective details.
Fleece-lined tights with chamois for cold-weather riding
Based on the popular Women's Classic Shorts, these tights use two types of fleece-lined fabric in a high-waisted cut to make comfortable and warm winter legwear. Like in the Classic Shorts, the front panel is doubled over rather than stitched to prevent discomfort when riding, and the high-cut waist is held in place with a soft, silicone gripper. Flatlock stitching is used throughout to prevent chafing, and the chamois from specialist manufacturer Cytech is designed specifically for women.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High-rise waist for insulation
Fast-drying Thermo Roubaix® fabrics
Visibility leg panels, visible from side and rear
Comfortable, bike-specific cut
Flatlock stitching for comfort
Soft silicone grippers
Very well made, but did show small signs of wear in the saddle area.
Performance wise, they are very warm.
One of the best chamois out there for women.
Expensive for some tights, but they will last.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For winter tights, Rapha have made something great. These are designed with women in mind and it shows.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I find the comfort of these tights are some of the best I have ever tried.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 34 Height: 158cms Weight: 61kg
I usually ride: Giant defy My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,