Rapha’s range covers everything from high-performing, tight-fitting garments for serious riders, to functional commuter wear. The Women’s three-quarter length tights sit in the middle of this spectrum.
The tights offer a good fit and a high level of function, but should be less intimidating for casual riders than bib shorts or knicks can be. That said, the high quality chamois and soft, breathable fabric means they'll be equally suitable for hardened cyclists during the mid-season and in cooler temperatures.
They might seem expensive to casual riders, but that high price reflects the quality of the materials and Rapha's refined approach to construction. They provide a nicer ride experience than a lot of cheaper alternatives.
The nylon/elastine blend of the fabric is luxuriously soft on the skin. It is thinner than most competitors’ three-quarter tights, which means riders won’t overheat when wearing them on mild-to-warm days. The flat-lock stitching provides a nice, chaff-free finish too.
The high waistband offers a pleasing fit
The waistband comes up high at the rear, which kept our lower back nicely covered when in a riding position, with silicone grip to keep them in position. The front of the tights forms a V-shape, which is gentle on the stomach.
The top of the tights felt loose compared to that of the Rapha Women’s Classic bib shorts in the same size. They became a little looser over the test period too, which meant we would often have to reach to pull them up when chatting or stopped at the lights. That said, the softness of the material and the high quality of the chamois meant we still didn’t experience any chaffing as a result, even after rides of up to five hours.
Simple leg grippers and accurate fit mean the tights don't ride up
The lower legs are kept in place by a silicone band. Our size small came a third of the way down our calves, and remained there without pinching or sliding out of place. We’ve used several pairs of three-quarter tights in the past, which all slid up under our knees, so we were impressed by how well Rapha's stayed in place.
Our test tights came in slate, a charcoal grey colour. While we expect the black version to be the bigger seller, we appreciated being able to spice up our cycling wardrobe with something a little different. This colour is also in line with brands that make gym wear, further suggesting that this garment is a great option for women who want to build up their cycling wardrobes without going all the way to shorts and bibs.
Overall we were impressed with the flattering appearance and comfortable ride experience of the Rapha Women’s three-quarter tights. Riders who are used to the classic bib shorts may want to consider getting a size smaller than they usually do, or trying the fleece-lined Women’s three-quarter bibshorts for a more secure fit that's better suited to colder conditions.