Rapha could not champion “the finest cycling products in the world” without making an amazing pair of bib shorts. A bit like a boat missing its tiller, without a good chamois between you and the saddle, you’re all at sea… Your upper legs, lower back and everything in between is where the majority of your power and control comes from, the thousands of leg rotations and muscle movements require padding, support and maximum comfort to get the most from your riding. So if you’re planning to spend as much time as possible on two wheels this season, the most crucial investment you will make in terms of attire is a good quality pair of shorts. Here’s the shortlist of Rapha legwear for your consideration.
Classic Bib Shorts
Award winning shorts
If you don’t own a pair of Rapha shorts this is the best place to start. Soft matt stretch material with a beautiful texture, these are designed for a rider’s absolute comfort in and out of the saddle. The material is breathable but thick enough for spring riding when temperatures are still cooler. And then at the heart of this product is the award-winning chamois pad. The specialist Cytech pad is the best available and is one Rapha have proprietary rights to. It took the design department more than four seasons to finally settle on the ultimate pad. A pad we’ve used since 2010, now this particular specification is found in a number of other Rapha legwear products. Every rider should own a pair (or two) of the Classic Bibs. They are called Classic for a reason and as well as lasting for thousands upon thousands of hard miles, they can be used with leg warmers, under winter tights and even as an ersatz swimming costume…
“At first I thought my Rapha Classic bibs were a bit spendy, but got them anyway. Then one day I rode 245 miles in them and suddenly they didn’t seem to cost all that much.”
2010 was the centenary of the Col du Tourmalet’s inclusion in the Tour de France and as well as a special edition Tourmalet Jersey, Rapha honoured that first ever Tour stage to go into the high mountains with a tribute ride, The 1910 Challenge. Four Rapha riders, including two men from the design team, wore the Classic Bib Shorts for 326km, 6000 metres of climbing and over 16 hours of riding. The only thing not hurting at the end of that truly epic day? Their posteriors…
Test ride any of Rapha’s Classic products to destruction and if you are not 100% satisfied within 30-days you can return them for a full refund.
Women’s Classic Shorts
The perfect cycling shorts
These shorts use a very similar panel construction and matt stretch fabric to the men’s Bibs but without the inconvenience of bibs. They have a high waistband at the back featuring a soft gripper tape for a snug and secure fit and the chamois pad – again from specialist manufacturer Cytech – is designed specifically for female ergonomics.
The shorts come in both long and short leg length depending on what is more flattering for your body shape. The seams are positioned to prevent chafing and inside are finished with soft, flatock stitching.
“Every woman spends her life searching for the perfect pair of jeans, ones that are comfortable, look great, aren’t too fashionable but just stylish enough, are versatile, and even forgiving when she puts on a pound or two. Most never find those jeans. Somehow, maestros of cycle clothing Rapha have managed to address the female cyclist’s equivalent quest, the search for the perfect cycling shorts. I cannot recommend these shorts highly enough!”
And for those who prefer the further support of bibs, there’s the Women’s Classic Bib Shorts »
Pro Team Bibs
World class shorts
Bottom line is these are seriously good shorts that are worn by some of the best riders in the world. Designed in collaboration with Team Sky, you may find these bibs aren’t as easy to wear off the bike as the Classic Bib Shorts, but once you’re locked onto your bike the fit and form is amazing. Using the same Cytech chamois as the Classic Bibs but positioned further forward for more aggressive and aerodynamic positions, these shorts arguably offer even more support as the fabric is compressing and the fit is closer still. The fabric is treated with coldblack®, a highly-technical dye that reflects the sun’s rays to keep the fabric cool against the skin. Stitching feels invisible and further ventilation comes from the lightweight bib straps and mesh.
“My sense is that they will last longer than the Eurozone, that you’ll never get home from a ride wondering how you missed putting chamois cream on that one blessed spot, that you’ll never wear these with any jersey you own and look like a dork, that you’ll never regret your purchase.”
Lightweight Bib Shorts
The most breathable bibs
The panels of these shorts are made from superbly breathable and lightweight fabric that also incorporates a sunblock treatment. These are the shorts for the hottest rides and races, for skinny grimpeurs* and people who really feel the heat. The chamois is also lightweight and are perforated to keep you comfortable if if the conditions aren’t. word on the street is they’re great to wear underneath Touring Shorts, too.
“I’ve had the Rapha Lightweight bibs on more than I expected. As the name implies, they’re lightweight, super comfortable, fast drying and quite minimally branded. The signature asymmetrical leg band and classic fit can mesh quite well into any jersey combination […] you can tell Rapha took some time to think of the people who live in miserably hot conditions. A high-wicking mesh, more breathable fabric, SPF protection and a “thank god” cut-away back section keep your spine cool and ready for a cold water bottle squirt.”
*A French term for ‘climber’, if you didn’t know that already.