Although Rapha is a brand synonymous with style, there were no worries of form over function with their new women’s classic bib shorts.
Editor, Kirsty Medlock, explains why you shouldn’t be put off by the £150 price tag. “These are some seriously well thought through bibs.”
I’ve waxed lyrical about the issues associated with bib shorts: poor chamois design, short leg lengths, straps in all the wrong places and don’t get me going on crotch zips. However, it is with pleasure that I can announce that Rapha have addressed all of these matters with thought to the women’s form and more importantly done a ruddy good job in the process.
Designed for lightweight summer riding, these bibs are aimed at the more experienced road riders. Aesthetically, Rapha have done what is almost impossible, to make lycra appealing to wear. Instead of a shiny sheen, Rapha utilise a matt lycra fabric for the shorts, that melts around your curves. Include the triathlon suit inspired bib section, which helps support the shorts without causing the gut ache associated with shorts or the digging in of traditional bib straps and it’s easy to see why these are so comfortable.
Initially, I was apprehensive about the bib section; being covered up was a concern that was quickly dispelled. Mesh fabrics are used, so the bib portion was incredibly breathable and the hole in the back offered some much needed perspiration emission. An unsuspecting benefit from the high neckline at the front was how much support I gained for my bust when caught unaware by potholes and rough terrain.
Focusing on the all-important chamois, the women’s classic bib shorts have one of the thickest chamois’ I’ve ever worn, but this did not end up as an issue. As the width and length of the chamois was spot on, there was no rubbing between my thigh and nose of the saddle or bunching at the front of the pad. In fact, having a dense chamois protected my derrière nicely and offered comfort both on the bars and in the drops.
While in the saddle, these bib shorts came in to their own. The slim fitting legs, although tight, showed my quads in the best light, with not a sausage leg in sight, plus helped create a compressive-feeling. There was no slippage either; even without any sticky gripper strips due to the thick broad bands used instead.
It really is hard to pick fault with these shorts, one possible pitfall is that they’re available in any-colour-you-like-as-long-as-it’s-black or a Team Sky edition.
Expensive, but with a price comparable to other high-end bib shorts, these shorts are worth their weight in gold.
– Fit true to size
– Great overall fit
– Comfortable and flattering material
– Well thought out chamois padding
– Difficult to go to the toilet due to bib section
What Rapha says about Women’s Classic Bib Shorts
Lightweight summer riding bib shorts created for everyday riding with a fit and features created exclusively for women riders.
Close-knit front mesh for support
Open-knit rear mesh for breathability
Full-length zip for temperature control
Wide leg gripper for improved comfort