Rapha is expanding its Explore range of clothing aimed at gravel, adventure and bikepacking riding over the next couple of weeks, a collection which was kicked off earlier this year with the controversial Cargo Bibs (bib shorts with pockets), with the new Cargo Winter Tights.
As you might imagine, these are the winter tights version of the summer bib shorts. Rapha says they are its “most technical tights ever”. They have the same arrangement of two pockets on the lower back and one on each leg, but one subtle change is that two of the pockets are zipped and water-resistant, while the other two are open mesh.
There was some mocking of the original Cargo Bibs when they launched, but the idea of adding pockets to bib shorts certainly isn’t a new one. Mountain bikers have been able to wear such shorts for years, and there are two benefits for gravel and bikepacking/touring rides.
The first is that you have extra storage for all the food you need on longer rides, the second is that you can hide the bib short pockets under a looser fitting jersey and baggy shorts to prevent the contents of the pockets bouncing out when riding over rough terrain, as can happen to traditional jersey pockets.
The tights are available in black or navy and there’s a big focus on visibility. The entire calf section is made from reflective material so the up and down pedalling motion should boost your presence to other road users. There’s also a wide reflective panel across the top of the bum and reflective details on the side pockets.
They’re made from a fleece-backed fabric with a durable water repellent treatment to keep wind and rain at bay. Inside is a quick-drying perforated padded insert. They are intended for long rides and the fit is described as close but relaxed, with more length in the torso.
The only snag is they cost £240. Are they any good? We’ve got a pair in for review so we’ll find out soon. Check them out at www.rapha.cc
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.