Rapha has redesigned its 10-year-old Classic bibs – and with an excellent fit and superbly comfortable pad it has done a great job
Rapha’s Classic bib shorts are probably the London brand’s best known product. Now, Ten years on, they’ve received a redesign and while it might not look like it – after all, the Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II are still black and classic-looking – Rapha has changed quite a lot.
For starters, the shorts are now fitted with a new, body contouring pad, which in itself is a pretty major change.
This new pad is a masterclass in how a chamois should be. It has a level of support that belies its skinny nature, and it’s that skinny nature that gives it such a great fit: it’s minimal and unobtrusive yet great to sit on.
The pad wicks well, which minimises chafing and discomfort over long rides. It also means that when you get out of the saddle there’s minimal uncomfortable dampness.
Watch: Tech of the month April 2017
The fit of the shorts is decent, too. They’re a good length on the legs with excellent grippers keeping them exactly where you want them to be. This means there isn’t any bunching in the crotch area.
The low-cut front end is a nice touch, although it’s a tad low for some jerseys. I found there was a gap when I wore these shorts with the Santini Beta 2.0 jersey. However, this could be as much dependent on the fit of the jersey as on the low cut of the shorts, as when I was riding in other jerseys I didn’t have the same problems.
Either way, that lower cut on the front makes comfort breaks a lot easier.
Rapha says it has paired a soft, stretchy Lycra with a luxurious mesh back to make the garment as comfortable as possible for the rider.
The fabric certainly feels comfortable against the skin, and the flatlocked seams ensure there is no rubbing or chafing. The open back does a good job of releasing excess heat, avoiding sweaty dampness.
There is no escaping the price point, though, and at £165 the Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II are a seriously pricey piece of kit. But that said, I’d still ride in these every day if I could.
At £165 there's no escaping the fact that these are pricey shorts, but there's also no escaping the fact that I'd wear these shorts every day if I could.