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Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights review

14 Dec 2020

Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights are warm, comfortable & could be all you need for warm legs on cold winter rides. Photos supplied by Rapha

Cyclist Rating: 
Very comfortable • Good bib straps • Reflective detailing • High front and full length back
Could be slightly long causing material to bunch

The Rapha Pro Team men's winter bibtights with pad II are not only good in their own right, they may have changed my approach to winter kit.

Usually, I would always opt for a combination of shorts and legwarmers. This brings an obvious level of versatility beyond what bibtights can offer as the shorts can be worn on their own, with kneewarmers or with legwarmers. Sometimes, starting in the warmers and removing them as the day and my legs get up to temperature.

Add to that access to top quality legwarmers from GripGrab, paired with shorts from several brands – including Rapha, and I've tended to shy away from going full bibtights.

However, with the Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights offered up for review in combination with the Rapha Pro Team winter jacket – in fetching purple and navy – I decided to break my usual sartorial winter habit.

How well I pulled that look off will have to remain a mystery as I opted to use the photos supplied by Rapha to illustrate this review.

Buy the Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights from Rapha here


Flattering lines

For anyone who isn't a pro cyclist or a Rapha kit model (as photographed here), the legwarmer-bibshorts combination can sometimes be quite unflattering as the top of each leg warmer cuts in to a generously proportioned thigh (it's not muscle) and creates the sort of bumpy sausage look we all dread.

Just such an outcome is far less likely with the smooth lines provided by one piece bibtights which follow the outline of the rider's legs without cutting in or highlighting a love of beer and burgers (just me?!).

When cold weather – in which the removal of legwarmers is not only unlikely but ill-advised – is the setting for a ride, vanity can also be the victor as bibtights smooth out rather than highlight any bulging legs (again, it's not muscle).


Get through winter with warm, dry legs

With the temperature noticeably dropping over the last couple of weeks or so, and snow reaching many areas of the UK, the weather has changed to suit the target conditions of the Pro Team bibtights.

So far, I've worn these bibtights in temperatures ranging between 0 and 7C – across multiple rides, any given ride only having a temperature difference of about 3C, and mostly in the dry.

'The tights have a wind-blocking DWR (durable water repellent) fabric all the way up the front-facing panels to ward off the weather,' says Rapha.

Unexpectected rain the other morning (which I'll admit meant I delayed my ride rather than going out in it), allowed me to check the splash-proofing of the bibtights under a thorough bombardment of roadspray – and I was impressed.

Light spray from my tyres noticeably beaded on the surface of the bibtights while a heavier deluge on wetter roads did begin to dampen the front panels, but without saturating and, most importantly, not lowering the temperature of my legs.

At most, my skin may have got slightly damp but I was a long way off soaked – pretty much spot on for water-repellent rather than waterproof.

The fleece lining of the bibtights provided comforting warmth and blocked the wind as advertised.

Fit and feel

Along with the flattering lines and winter warmth, the pad mentioned in the bibtights' full name is as comfortable as I've come to expect from Rapha. That is to say, very comfortable and suited to long days in the saddle – think New Year's Eve with 200km to go on the Festive 500.

The pad has been adopted from Rapha's Pro Team bibshorts II, which received similar praise from Cyclist's deputy editor James Spender.

The fit, however, is slightly further away from perfect; and this is the only point on which I have found reason to stop the bibtights coming out with full marks. The Rapha Pro Team men's winter bibtights are, perhaps, ever so slightly on the long side meaning that if they're not pulled perfectly into position the extra material can bunch behind the knees.

At 180+cm and wearing size medium, I wouldn't expect to find myself on the shorter side of people wearing that size.

I should add, this is a pretty minor negative to the overall package and I'd much rather they were slightly overlong – and so need adjusting at the start of a ride, instead of too short with gaps for cold air around my ankles.

Clothing for the conditions

What's the main thing stopping us getting out on the bike as much in the winter as in the summer? There are a few 'right' answers here: low temperatures and associated risk of ice, fewer daylight hours, higher chance of rain or even snow, and perhaps more besides.

The key is to work to either cancel these out – decent lights, Gore-Tex rain jacket – or at least move them from prohibitive to manageable. It's this approach that the Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights facilitate.

Buy the Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights from Rapha here

Warm legs are happy legs, and with a decent pair of merino socks and overshoes keeping your toes warm, you'll have few complaints from your lower half when you set off in low temperatures before sunrise.

I'll gladly be donning these Rapha Pro Team winter bibtights for most rides until the weather warms up.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews


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