Rapha Pro Team Shadow Bib Shorts review

The Rapha Pro Team Shadow is designed to be the best windproof, water resistant, breathable kit for use in foul weather. How well does it perform and is the high price justified?

Rapha Shadow Shorts
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Prohibitively expensive, but performs very well. Rapha has raised the bar in terms of what to expect from this kind of garment

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent fabric technology

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    Great wind proofing

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    Very breathable

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    Excellent water repellancy

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Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Very expensive

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    No taping on seams at back of shorts

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You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Rapha Pro Team Shadow shorts are designed to be worn with the Shadow jersey as part of what is intended to be the ultimate foul weather clothing for racing or high intensity training. At £260 the price is wince inducing, so how do they stack up?

>>> Rapha head phones made from African Hair Sheep Leather

The first thing to note is that the fit of these shorts was a little different to standard Rapha Pro Team bibs. At 6'1 and 70kgs I normally opt for size medium, however these shorts are longer in the leg for greater coverage and a bit more protection. Consequently I sized down to a small and found they fitted superbly.

>>> Buyer's guide to bib shorts

The chamois is the same as found in other Rapha shorts and is supremely comfortable. It is very supportive (something which I prefer) and I have had no issue on rides as long as six hours.

Having tested it in a variety of conditions I can report that the Shadow performs superbly, especially when used in conjunction with the jersey. The fabric is thinner and lighter than the Windstopper textiles used in the Castelli Gabba, but impressively offers comparable wind-proofing. Water repellency is superb and the best I have seen on garments of this type.

>>> Review of the Rapha Pro Team Shadow Jersey

The Rapha Pro Team Shadow was featured in our February tech of the month video which is below. Skip to 3mins 20seconds to see the Shadow and how well it repels water, it really is impressive.


Watch: Tech of the Month – February 2016

When riding on wet roads or in the rain, cold rear spray on your bum is highly uncomfortable. On chilly days it can feel like an annoying friend has slipped an ice cube down your back. The Shadow shorts are very good at stopping this. However, they could be better, as the seams on the rear of the shorts are not taped.

>>> Better than a Castelli Gabba? Foul weather jerseys put to the test


The Straps are very comfy and feature tradmark prison bar detailing

The Straps are very comfy and feature tradmark prison bar detailing

Future taping of these seams could prevent water ingress – Something I experienced on some particularly long grim excursions in the wet. It is impossible not to comment on the price, but it is important to remember that Rapha does offer excellent after sales and repair services.

As mentioned on the jersey review, I would like to see a future version have some hi-vis details. I feel this is important on kit that is designed for crap weather.

Despite the niggles, Rapha has raised the bar with regard to foul weather cycling clothing. It may be prohibitively expensive, but we can expect this kind of fabric technology to trickle down into more affordable products which can only be a good thing for all of us.

For more information, head over to Rapha.cc.


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Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.