The Rapha Lightweight bibs make for an extremely comfortable pair of shorts. The subtle, stylish graphics are classic Rapha.
Despite the chamois not having the densest of foams, the variations in thickness and the stretchiness of the pad mean it forms perfectly to the body and sufficient support is offered to the sit bones to mean that long days in the saddle never cause problems comfort-wise. Perforations at the front and rear of the pad provide noticeable ventilation, especially when you're standing on the pedals. The front of the pad extends high up the body and is wide at the front.
The rest of the shorts mirror the pad. The cutaway on the back panel extends to just above the small of the back, keeping you cool. And the open-weave mesh braces are stretchy and breathable, so don't bunch up and will keep you cool in hot weather.
The stretch of the bib material is enough to stop the shorts moving around too much but not to make you feel as though you have to be crouched over all the time. Rapha have done away with silicone grippers on the legs, relying on wide elasticated bands to stop them riding up. The legs aren’t the longest around, but they are supportive of muscles, providing some compression that might aid blood flow, decrease fatigue and improve recovery.
The price sounds like a lot of money for a pair of bib shorts, but if you think about the hours that will be spent in them over the years, their price should become a little less eye watering. It’s often said that you get what you pay for in bibs, and the Rapha Lightweights are some of the most comfortable we’ve tried.