Rapha ¾ Bib Shorts

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Manufacturer Description

¾ length Bib Shorts for cooler cycling conditions. Made from strong Thermoroubaix fabric, a contoured pad from specialists Cytech guarantees protection where it’s most needed on the bike.

Features

  • Fabric – Thermoroubaix with Thermoflex fleece lining
  • Contrast stripe down front shin with tone on tone Rapha logo
  • Seams positioned away from the front and back of the knee
  • Lightweight mesh bib
  • Gripper on hem
  • Flatlock stitching
  • Cy-Tech pad
  • Measured sized medium
    • Weight – 249 g (8.8 oz)
    • Inseam length – 48.1 cm (18.9 in)
  • Retail – $235

YMMV Review

Rapha strives to create the finest clothing and accessories in the world. They design without compromise for the most discerning rider. Their products blend style with performance. They have a passion for road cycling that goes beyond just selling products. They sponsor events and teams around the world. Rapha also creates publications that try to bring the sport to life. Rapha was started back in 2004, which makes it relatively new to the cycling scene. They have come a long way in less than a decade.

Rapha Kit from the Front

I personally had heard of Rapha and their high prices but did not have any experience with their products. I know that with some of the outdoor brands I love (see Arc’Teryx), the higher prices are often justified by the higher-quality product. I was interested to find this out first hand and set up a review of the Winter Jersey and 3/4 Bib Shorts.

Testing

I tested the Rapha Winter Jersey with the Rapha Winter Jersey almost exclusively. I used this on road rides and commutes from 15 – 40 miles during the winter and spring. Temperatures ranged from 20 – 55 degrees.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (25%) ★★★★☆

Construction (35%) ★★★★½

Features (20%) ★★★☆☆

Sustainability (10%) ☆☆☆☆☆

Weight (10%) ★★★☆☆

The Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts are made for cooler weather. While the Winter jersey easily stayed comfortable below freezing. The bibs needed to be layered under some tights or pants when it got below 32 degrees. The bib shorts are made of Thermoroubaix with Thermoflex fleece lining. The shorts have a brushed fleece interior for warmth while still being able to breathe. The 3/4 bib shorts are made of four different types of fabrics that all contain some elastane for increased stretch and ease of movement.

Rapha Kit from the Back

These can also be called knickers in some circles. They extend down over the knees for increased warmth and protection. At the bottom hem, there is elastic gripper to help the legs stay in place. In the front, there is a white panel for style with a reflective stripe to help the rider be seen from the front or sides. There is also a reflective strip in the back on the upper calf as well. All the seams on the bibs shorts have been flatlocked for increased comfort and so the shorts sit flat against the skin. The torso section of the bibs is a mesh fabric for better breathability. There is also an open section to allow heat regulation in the back. The straps have been trimmed with white elastic, which not only looks good but also makes the straps more comfortable to the skin.

The bib shorts use a Cy-Tech chamois pad. This pad has a 4-way stretch so it can better move with the cyclist’s movements. The bibs also have a small pocket on the lower back for stowing something small. Like the Winter Jersey, the one drawback with the bibs is its sustainability. None of the fabrics are sustainable or green to my knowledge. I scoured the Rapha website to find more information and was not able to find anything. For this reason, I gave it a zero for sustainability.

Mesh Straps

Fit ★★★★☆

Comfort Next to Skin (20%) ★★★★½

Ease of Movement (25%) ★★★★☆

Inseam Length (10%) ★★★☆☆

Leg Sizing (20%) ★★★½☆

Strap Comfort (15%) ★★★½☆

Torso Sizing (10%) ★★★☆☆

The Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts have a great stretch to them. The fleece material and mesh back all stretch to fit me and whatever movement I do on the bike well. I am normally a medium in most of my cycling clothing, and that is what I tested in these. I do not think any other size could fit me any better. The shorts hit me in the upper calf and give ample protection for my knee. The gripper hem does a great job holding them in place. I find these to be extremely comfortable to the skin. The fleece material is soft, and all the seams are flatlocked for comfort. The chamois is also soft to the touch.

Lower Back Pocket

The shorts do not come up too high which I appreciate. For those who are interested, it is easy to use the restroom without disrobing, which is a good thing when out on a ride. The mesh material is not as soft as the fleece but is close. The straps are nice and wide, which distributes the pressure well and makes them less noticeable. This is one of the most comfortable cycling bibs I have worn.

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (15%) ★★★★☆

Cushioning (25%) ★★★★☆

Durability (15%) ★★★☆☆

Reflectivity (15%) ★★★☆☆

Warmth (20%) ★★★☆☆

Wind Resistance (10%) ★★½☆☆

Unlike the Winter Jersey, the 3/4 bib shorts do not block the wind. Rather they are very breathable. Their comfort range for me was from 35 – 60 degrees depending on sunshine and wind. I wore them in colder temperatures with pants over the top to extend their temperature range a bit lower. I found these to be warm but no overly so. I tend to be able to wear less on my legs than my torso when riding because of all the work my legs are doing and this was a nice balance of more protection but not too much.

White Panel on the Shin

I really liked the Cy-Tech chamois pad in these. While I did not take them on any rides over 40 miles yet (my season build-up was not there yet) I have been comfortable on all my rides. I used these a couple of times with Rapha’s chamois cream and a couple of times without anything and had no discomfort either way. There are some reflective elements on these for safety. Often the legs are a good place to put these as the movement catches the eye. I did not find myself using the rear pocket. I imagine if you are a pro and have to carry a radio that this may be the place but for me, the jersey pockets were what I used.

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, I was impressed with the 3/4 Bib Shorts. They are very comfortable and give you comfort over a broad range of temperatures due to the breathable but warm fabric. They do not offer much weather protection, which makes them ideally suited for drier climates like we have here in Bend. Not only do the shorts feel good on; they look good too. The graphics are minimal but there is a touch of style. I paired them with the Winter Jersey, Winter Hat, and Merino Socks for a sweet kit. Now I just need a pair of the new shoes! IF you are looking for a pair of longer shorts for shoulder season riding or just cool mornings, look no further. I would definitely recommend these. They retail for $235, which is no joke. They are well made, comfortable, and good looking so you will have to make the call there. They are cheaper than Assos. As always, your mileage may vary.

Cy-Tech Chamois Pad

Pros

  • Very comfortable against the skin
  • Great subtle style
  • Reflective strips on the legs
  • Mesh upper and straps
  • Gripper leg hem

Cons

  • Expensive

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

3 Responses to “Rapha ¾ Bib Shorts”

  1. Sven Ziegler

    “The Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts have a great stretch to them. The fleece material and mesh back all stretch to fit me and whatever movement I do on the bike well. I am normally a medium in most of my cycling clothing, and that is what I tested in these.”

    The 3/4 rapha is raphas weakest product, if try some assos 3/4 then you know the difference! The raphas are thick and not flexible enough at all. Sizing is also not right – you need to buy them one size bigger than normal, the come very small.

    • Thanks for the comment. I have to disagree with you though. I have not had the opportunity to test much Rapha gear or the Assos 3/4 shorts but I did find that these ran true to size and stretched really well. I am normally not a small, I wear medium in almost everything except Castelli in which I was a large. These felt right on and I never thought of going larger. I am 5’10.5″ and 160lbs. I wear 31/32 pants for those that are curious. Let me know if you have any questions.

      JJ

  2. In response to the first comment, it is possible you purchased something in the past that did not meet your expectations. These nickers looks like pretty high quality stuff. A similar assos piece could cost $300 or more. Many high end buyers intentionally order their “american sizes” in assos and rapha. They buy from those brands because they like the way the company does the sizing. These knickers are high tech enough that they can be sized smaller and have no movement restrictions or discomfort. Great review.

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