The Rapha Brevet is an outstanding pair of bib shorts for endurance rides. They dry incredibly quickly, the fit is comfortable and they have an excellent chamois pad. And of course they're very stylish. Yes they're expensive but the design, the quality of the fabric and the construction are all just about as good as it gets.
Very quick drying
Good amount of reflective strips
Pocket is a nice feature
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I was praying the Rapha Brevet bib shorts would come to my rescue when a violent thunderstorm opened up on me in the Pyrenees, leaving me seeking shelter in a barn and bemoaning the fact that I was still 70km and two cols away from home.
When fear becomes a reality and the heavens open, the one thing we cyclists want on a long-distance ride more than anything else is to be dry as quickly as possible, and for the bib shorts (opens in new tab) and other clothing we’re pedalling in - that suddenly double in weight - not to saturate our skin further.
The rain, eventually, dispersed, and within minutes so too had my wet look. The Rapha Brevet shorts, just a few minutes before soaked wet through, had dried up in a near-instant, returning to hug my figure as before.
For a pair of shorts that are designed for riders wanting to complete audaxes and endurance events - whether on a road or gravel bike - the quick drying of the shorts was a huge tick in the scoring box.
Thankfully the majority of summer rides take place in drier conditions, and these shorts thrived in record-breaking heat, salt patches rarely visible despite the temperatures, and sweat wicking away quickly.
When the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped quite suddenly, the extra thickness of the shorts (largely thanks to 58% recycled nylon that adds durability) kept warmth trapped. They always felt breathable and responsive to the weather.
The response to climatic conditions wasn't the only thing to impress me. With the brevet scene (timed, long-distance events between 200 and 600km) in mind, Rapha has added a cargo pocket on the right leg of the shorts, big enough to store a few snack bars and tools.
I wasn’t sure about its practicality at first, but over time I warmed to the feature so much that it became my go-to pocket for stuffing food in. Heavier items, such as phones, fit well but weigh a little too heavily, and I can also nit-pick about the inside of the pocket often coming out of place whenever I removed items, but overall the craftily-designed pocket is a valuable addition.
Rapha have noticeably given careful thought to the intended wearers of the shorts, including multiple reflective strips, dots, and a brand logo that keep people visible when on endurance rides that continue through the night.
As well as its quick-drying capabilities, the shorts come with a UPF50+ sun protection which basically means they’re going to prevent the user from being sunburnt through the garment.
It’s a testament to advancements within the industry that it’s harder than ever to mess up a chamois pad, yet there are some brands who consistently outperform their rivals in this most crucial of areas, and Rapha are firmly in this group.
Alongside its all-round comfort, the Brevet pad dries quickly and has an antibacterial topsheet that is not just a nice touch but an important one, especially so given the risks of bacterial and genital infections on long rides.
There are numerous other design points that are noteworthy: the leg gripper, although quite high in comparison to other shorts, impressively stays in place despite the absence of a race-hugging elasticity; the mesh bib straps, meanwhile, have the right amount of stretch that they fit over the shoulders comfortably without feeling compressive and tight.
Aside from the cost, there are few criticisms I can level at the Brevet shorts, because I genuinely believe they are the perfect accompaniment on a long-distance ride, thanks to an excellent chamois, quick-drying properties, a relaxed fit and stylish design.
Rapha Brevet bib shorts: specifications
Colours: Dark grey, dark navy, black
Sizes: XS - XXL
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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