I was so excited when Rapha released its 3/4 length tights. I am a big fan of Sunday social rides that are a little more relaxed than your average ride and often include long chatty lunches and several cups of tea. Not the ideal situation for a pair of bib shorts so this seemed like the perfect alternative for this type of riding.
My first impressions of the Rapha 3/4 length tights were pretty positive. Visually they looked fantastic. Rapha never fail when it comes to cut and fabric choice. I also found myself looking in the mirror with a new appreciation for my legs - the 3/4 tight is by far and away the most flattering I own.
Unfortunately when it came to performance, I felt these did not deliver the same comfort as other products I have tried in the Rapha range.
I have worn these tights in both cold and warm weather and one of the most notable things was how sweaty and uncomfortable the chamois is.
It felt bulky and despite making several adjustments to position of the tights (including pulling them right up over my belly-button) I still could not get them to sit quite right. I am a size UK 10 and wore a size medium tight. It is possible that this might be reduced if I tried a smaller size but elsewhere the fit was good. I also acknowledge that like saddles, a chamois is a very personal thing so if you are a fan of a lot of padding, you might find that this tight is the perfect match.
Other than the chamois, the tight performed reasonably well. The front of the tights have a v-shaped waistband so they sit comfortably. They sit just below the belly button (although as mentioned I had to play around with this due to the uncomfortable chamois) while the back sits even higher which is nice when you are in riding position.
The fabric used is nice and soft and flatlock stitching throughout ensures there is no chaffing or discomfort. I personally was not a huge fan of the gripper on the waistband though- my skin is very sensitive so it caused some redness and irritation in warmer weather. The legs are held in position by a similar gripper elastic and thankfully there was no irritation to my skin there.
Other features on the tights include reflective details on the back of the legs and a gloss Rapha logo.
Overall, I loved the look and feel of the tights but the chamois for me was uncomfortable and sweaty.
The tights look fantastic. They are so flattering, the dark grey colour goes with everything and with the exception of the chamois, they are very comfortable.
The chamois for me was not a good fit. It was too bulky and I just could not get comfortable for the duration of my ride.
Available in sizes XXS to XXL