Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts Review

I’ve had these bibs for about 2 years now.  You can’t tell by looking at them, because they still look like new.

Excuse the garage poseur pics…I don’t have any good pics of them on actual rides.

The shoulder straps are incredibly comfortable.  Despite not having any rubber grippies on them, they stay in place on your shoulders perfectly.

The length of the bibs tends to fall about mid-calf, or a little above.

The chamois is one of the best, most comfortable chamois I’ve ever had.  Notwithstanding 2 years of heavy use, it looks like new and still feels great.

I wear a medium in the bibs…and they’re snug in the legs.  If you just pull them on and go ride, the legs will pull the bibs down and move the chamois in an uncomfortable way.  Over time, I’ve found that when you put the bibs on, it is critical to grab the leg fabric and pull it up firmly…you have to really make sure the legs are up enough that they don’t pull down on the rest of the bibs.  Once they’re in place, they’re perfect and don’t move at all.

Aesthetics are typical Rapha–understated and elegant.

I wear these from the 50s down to the low 40s/upper 30s.  If it’s 35 and it’s going to go up to 50, I wear these.  Some question the need for bib-knickers.  I find that keeping my knees warm is critical to being comfortable on the bike.  If your knees get cold, particularly in damp weather, they don’t feel good.  Knickers help keep you comfortable, without getting too hot, and without any binding or adjustment of knee-warmers.  They’re a great compromise piece for fall/spring riding.

The fabric is what Rapha calls fleece-backed Thermoroubaix; it’s insulating/windproof, but not terribly water-resistant.  If it’s raining, you’re getting wet.  The back of the bibs has some very breathable fabric that makes these comfortable under a jacket or winter jersey.

I’ve tried 3/4 bibs by Capo, Pearl, Rapha, and others…and the Rapha are unquestionably the best.  I should also note that the Pearl bibs, while significantly cheaper, started to unravel at the seams after about a year of use and are not insulated.  The Rapha bibs have been bulletproof.  They’re an investment piece…twice as much as the Pearl bibs, but more versatile, and they’ll last more than twice as long.

One final note on Rapha: I think the post-ride care of these is pretty critical.  I turn mine inside out, and machine wash them (cold) with an extra rinse, and then air-dry them.  They still look like new.  These are the best bib knickers I’ve ever used, and one of the best chamois I’ve ever used.

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4 thoughts on “Rapha 3/4 Bib Shorts Review

  1. I’ve got to say that I loved my Assos bib( I forget which one but it ran for 400 Canadian), which seems to be more expensive than Rapha. It was wearing out on the both thighs in the second summer (2014) and ripped near the crotch last August for no memorable reason. You have convinced me to give Rapha a try.

  2. I have these Rapha ones too – putting them on does require a pull up but once there they stay put. I find the legs tight but not overly in fact it nearly works like a compression fabric. I too turn mine inside out and wash with the rest of the clothing on a 30C wash with them all air drying on a clothes hanger ….. all tenement flats have these pulleys …. http://www.pulleymaid.com …. and with 14-16 foot ceilings there is plenty of room for all my crap …
    As for Peters comments on Assos their padding is great too – might even be better than Rapha but my Assos bib is a summer race one so far less practical in Scotland.

  3. I have these bibs as well and love them. I got an x-large (I’m more round in the stomach region then I should be) and they might be a little long in the leg but they are still comfortable. I have recently discovered Rapha and really like their more understated designs and colors. I’ve never liked all the gaudy color and designs most cycling clothing has.

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