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Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights With Pad



Simple, stylish and effective, they do everything you want from a pair of cold weather tights

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights are excellent for cold days on the bike. Designed simply to 'keep you warm while you train or commute on cold winter roads', they don't do anything especially fancy, but they do their job extremely well. Dave Arthur thought the men's ones were very good too; you can read his review here.

  • Pros: Comfort, fit, warmth, 'more affordable'
  • Cons: Umm...

The plain black design features a couple of subtle logos on either thigh and at the base of the back along with a small reflective stripe at each ankle. The ankle cuffs feature an unusual ribbed design, matching the Core Winter Jacket I've also been testing. I particularly like this design and find it preferable to rubber grippers around the ankle. It also helps to make the tights very easy to get on and off. The stripes are also reflective.

> Buy these online here

Coming up pretty much true to size, the tights are an excellent fit. I don't have especially long legs for my 5ft 3in height and found the leg length on the small pair I tested perfect. The stretchy bib straps, with their slightly unusual design, are also a great fit and sit so comfortably on my shoulders I barely notice them while riding.

Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights With Pad - straps.jpg

The chamois isn't quite the best I have ever tried – the Assos T.laalalai shorts win that one – and is bulkier than some, but that's not to say it's uncomfortable. In fact quite the opposite, it stayed in place well and caused no chafing or discomfort on long rides.

Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights With Pad - pad.jpg

The inside of the tights is lovely and fleecy, and they're incredibly cosy on chilly days. They kept me lovely and warm without being too thick, never becoming uncomfortably warm while climbing or doing efforts. I'd want something thicker for sub-zero riding, but up to that point these are ideal.

Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights With Pad - riding.jpg

At £120, the Core tights come with a lower price tag than we'd usually expect from Rapha, being part of its 'more affordable' line. (Rapha's Souplesse Winter Tights are another £75.) Okay, they're still not cheap, but knowing the quality and durability you get from Rapha garments, I'd say they are worth the money and would make a great investment for winter. They're £10 cheaper than the Rivelo Monsal tights Tass tested last winter, and she wasn't overly keen on the pad.

> Buyer's Guide: 16 of the best winter bib tights and trousers

If £120 is still too much, keep an eye out for our reviews of women's tights from Sportful, dhb and Santini, ranging from £80-£99.99. Or you could always go for the Core bibs without pad at £95.


Simple, stylish and effective, they do everything you want from a pair of cold weather tights

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Make and model: Rapha Women's Core Winter Tights With Pad

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 Women's Core Winter Tight is designed to keep you warm while you train or commute on cold winter roads, with legs made of a stretchy brushed-back fleece to keep your muscles warm, and bibs constructed from a lighter, stretchier material to emphasise comfort and allow perspiration to escape. Utilising the same construction as the best selling Core Bib Short, the seams lie flat and are contoured to stay put through your full range of motion.

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

Rapha lists:

Same pad as Women's Core Bib Short

Brushed back fleece material on the legs

Bibs are made of a lighter, stretchier material for comfort and perspiration flow

Ribbed construction of ankle cuffs matches Core Winter Jacket

Reflective ankle stripes

Subtle tonal branding

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:

Really nice, comfortable fit, nothing shifts around while riding and good leg length and bib length. All in all, nigh-on perfect.

Rate the product for sizing:

Came up true to size as expected.

Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:

Pad was comfortable for longer winter rides and the all-round comfort from the tights as a whole was exceptional.

Rate the product for value:

At £120 these aren't cheap, but it's not a bad price for a great, quality pair of winter tights.

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

They wash on a 30 degree cycle as with the majority of kit, and I had no issues at all.

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

Really brilliant; they do the basics very well and kept me warm and comfortable on winter training rides. I wanted to wear them every day!

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Not sure I can pick just one thing, but if I had to then probably the fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing I especially disliked.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely

Use this box to explain your score

These tights do everything that Rapha claims and I have really struggled to find fault with them. I'd say they're exceptional; buy them and you'll have a new favourite piece of winter gear.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 20  Height: 164cm  Weight: 56kg

I usually ride: Planet X London Road  My best bike is: Bowman Palace:R

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: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track

Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross.  Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.

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