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Rapha Classic II Bibshorts review

13 Aug 2020

Lightweight, comfortable, breathable bibshorts for 90% of rides

Cyclist Rating: 
Excellent chamois • Stylish design • Upper portion is cut perfectly with high waist and wide bibs
Still a lot of money, but if you have the cash…

The Rapha Classic Bibshorts II are the shorts I reach for when my mate asks if I’m riding midweek. They’re also the shorts I wear if I’m nipping out for a 20-mile evening blast around the lanes.

Why do I gravitate towards them over anything else in the wardrobe? They’re near-perfect companions for most of my riding. Not too showy, not too overtly performance-focused, they do the job exceptionally well, and they’re ridiculously comfortable.

Cliché though it is, I almost forget I’m wearing them. Although I’m sure someone would remind me if I’d accidentally left the house half-dressed…



I’m not a towering figure of a man, but for my 5ft 8in frame, the Rapha Classic bibshorts II are a brilliant fit. The leg length doesn’t leave the hem too close to my stubbly knees, sitting right in the tanline sweetspot.

The hems are held comfortably at the lower thigh by a gripper. Like the rest of the construction, it’s satisfyingly chunky yet not over-engineered.

Buy the Rapha Classic II bibshorts now from Mr Porter for £170

Flatlock seams proliferate, again ensuring there’s zero chafing. Although, of all the shorts I wear on a regular basis, the Rapha Classic Bibshorts II do leave the most hilarious seam indents on my quads, such is that chunky construction.

Where the comfort really excels is in the chamois – it’s scaled to the specific size of the garment for the best chance of a perfect fit, and for its weight and comparative lack of thickness, it’s one of the most supportive pads I’ve had the comfort of sitting on.

Up top, the waist is cut to finish at the navel up the stomach, giving these shorts three-season potential, and the usefully wide bib straps (hemmed with classy white piping) never stray mid-ride.


Moisture management

The upper portion of the Rapha Classic Bibshorts II, while classic in appearance, is actually working some technical magic. A lightweight mesh used for the bib construction allows the heat of a summer ride to dissipate, while the oval cutout to the rear acts to vent heat build-up from your core straight out the back.

I’ve worn these shorts in temperatures touching the high-20s, and as low as 12°C, and I’m here to tell you: I’ve not once suffered a clammy back.


Practicality and price

The Rapha Classic Bibshorts II have been through 12 wash cycles since I started to wear them, and the stitching is holding up well (something that I couldn’t say about a pair of original Rapha Classic Bibshorts I owned many years ago), so that strikes a gratifying practical note.

The branding is subtle, too, with classy black-on-black Rapha script on each leg. Equally neat is what Rapha calls a ‘key pocket’ at the rear of the bibshorts.

Back in the day, we used to call these ‘race radio pockets’, and while I’ve pondered who would keep their key in this pouch rather than in their jersey, it is a useful addition for those who don’t have a zip-up pocket to their jersey, or just want to wear a technical T-shirt for off-road riding or general off-duty leisure rides.

Buy the Rapha Classic II bibshorts now from Mr Porter for £170

There’s little to dislike about this pair of shorts, but the elephant in the room is the price. Yes, £170 is still a lot of money for a lot of people.

If you have those sorts of readies, I can’t see you being disappointed with these shorts. If you haven’t, maybe start a savings fund… the Rapha Classic Bibshorts II have the potential to be everyone’s next pair of go-to shorts.

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


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