Review: Rapha’s Lightweight Bibshorts
(2016) Imagine that. We’re reviewing a Rapha product. Let’s get one thing out in the open straight away: Their products are touted as the measuring stick of the industry. If that is the case, how do we know if bibshorts or jerseys by other companies compare? We’ve mentioned some shorts are just as comfortable as Rapha's but for half the cost. We decided to find out what all the fuss was about, and to conclude whether or not the lofty price tag is warranted.
The Lightweight bib shorts arrived by mail in the typical Count of Monte Cristo house warming invitation packaging. Pulling them out of the tactile garment sack along with the giant black receipt envelope two things were immediately apparent: the bibs had a giant cutout for the back, and the blue stripe was a brilliant color. These bibs are designed for hot days and luckily we had numerous ones lined up. A midday ride with temperatures approaching the low nineties sounded just the right environment to try them out.
I’ll scoot over the feel of the shorts because, really, what bibs don’t feel great off the rack? However the lightness is truly noticeable when having them on. The overused expression that the garment felt like second skin works best here. The second noticeable feature is the restructuring of the chamois placement. The sit areas were stoutly covered, but they decided to remove material in the fore portion of the chamois. The next feature was the slim leg gripper that never really irked throughout the ride.
Rolling out onto back Bucks County roads and the bibs were studied intensely. Remember, were these worth the price tag for their performance? Into the heat and it was anticipated the black domination on the bibs would sizzle immediately. They felt warm, but not as hot as other bibs have in the past. This is the first positive for the bibs.
The chamois, without the front material, was remarkably comfortable. There seemed to be satisfying all around including the fore portion of the saddle. Being in the rivet could no longer represent a term for suffering. As with bibs, a comfortable chamois is another positive for this garment.
These bibs come in two lengths, regular and short. The short option is based on the idea that the less fabric, the cooler the garment. The bibs used here are full length. The breathability, though, was noticeable as the ride continued in rising temperatures. Upon returning to the house, it was reflected that the bibs held up its end of the bargain in keeping cool in creeping temperatures. The breathability also scores points.
The final detail is the compression. Perhaps due to the breathable fabric the bibs did not feel as compressed as others have. One downside was the front compression felt the loosest of all recently tried bibs. Combine the loose front compression with the shortened chamois, (see: prominent bulge) and it might be the one downside.
What’s proper is that the Lightweights have been on sale recently. They’re roughly 25% off, which sounds about right considering we found three positives to one downside. This leads our opinion to the rightful price of getting the Rapha Lightweight bibshorts on sale. They could be the choice on hot and long solo rides when the team kit is at the bottom of the hamper. I truly did not feel like I was wearing bibs, they were that comfortable and functional. The bibs looked and felt nice. So get them while they’re on sale, otherwise getting what might be the equivalent in price of two team bibs may do the same trick.
Select colors of Rapha Lightweight bibshorts are on sale currently for $170 (USD) with the regular price of $230.