Looking at purchasing a pair of bib tights with all the features you want can be a minefield and with many only offering a single or no pocket option. This is especially true on water-resistant winter tights, where the material can be thick and the focus is mainly on warmth and performance, rather than the intricacies and details those extra features that make the ride more of a pleasure and success. Rapha is known for its high-quality tailoring and the smaller details that separate them from other brands. There are many features that you may look for in a winter bib tight, the main ones being the performance of the weather-resistant material and reflective detailing. But a female specific cut, storage space and a decent chamois suited for longer durations in the saddle are also important extras that not all tights offer.
Design and specifications
Rapha’s Cargo Bib Tights are constructed with high-performance materials and different material characteristics. The soft fabric has a fleece lining for comfort and warmth, ideal for the colder winter weather. The fabric features a water-repellent treatment for an exceptionally warm tight that shields against rain and road spray.
The lower legs have a large block of reflective material for low light in wintery bad weather or night time riding. The hi-vis material also includes strips of highly reflective material. Along with this, there is also reflective detailing from a large logo on the left side as well as a waterproof zipped pocket. These bib tights are well suited to bikepacking adventure travel, either on- or off-road.
There are four storage pockets overall. The left side is a small zipped waterproof pocket, and the on the right side of the thigh is a pouch-style pocket with a stretchy mesh that can easily be accessed to stash items on the go without a zip. The other two are on the back. One pouch and one zipped waterproof.
The tights also feature a dual-density, women’s-specific chamois pad that is not too thick and offers good support for longer-duration rides. The lower leg is tapered and doesn’t include an ankle zip. The upper area features bib straps, and they are stretchy and breathable.
When first putting these Rapha tights on, I felt instant soft comfort and warmth, with the legs offering plenty of flexibility and a good balance of support around the upper thigh area. They held against my legs with slight compression, offering support without being too tight. The waist area where the bib straps merge into the upper leg area is soft, and offers added flex so as not to put too much pressure around the middle or on the shoulders.
The upper bib part of the tights offers lots of back coverage, and I felt protected enough on colder rides.
The bib straps and mid-section are mesh-like and kept me comfortable around the middle. The sit flat against my chest and are super breathable and the stretch allows them to move when in a more extreme cycling position.
I tested these in different temperatures, ranging from -3 to 7 degrees C. They were comfortable in both cold and milder weather conditions. I felt protected at all times from the elements. The material is perfect for when there is a possibility of rain showers as there is a (DWR) water-resistant coating against the Nylon/Polyester blend.
The leg length is slightly too long for my petite legs. I rolled the hem up only about an inch to get rid of the baggy look that nobody wants from a pair of slim-fitting bib tights. White riding, there was enough flex in the legs not to cause any uncomfortable restriction during pedaling.
The pockets were easily accessed even while cycling. The only issue was with the left side pocket was the zip is easy to open while on the go but is difficult to close again, and I needed much more dexterity and effort to close it without stopping. The pouch mesh pockets were handy for grabbing something without too much effort, such as snacks, where I needed to get to it quickly and easily.
A chamois pad has a great balance of padding and support for long hours in the saddle. I found it comfortable without any chaffing or the urge to want to cut the ride short. The chamois material kept me cool and never felt too clammy or uncomfortable.
Rapha’s Cargo Winter Tights with Pad are the ideal winter weather bib tights that you may often ride for longer durations, such as bikepacking trips, whether multi-day rides with the need for more storage space. The tights feature four pockets offering plenty of places to carry your phone, money tools or nutrition. Even enough space to carry a lightweight, packable jacket. The emphasis on these tights is the pockets. Hence the name, cargo bib tights.
Another significant feature of the tights is the reflective material making these great for when the sun sets or the weather visibility is low. The material shields from the wind and rain showers, but the leg length is a little long for shorter pins, and the price is extortionate, but we have to remember this is Rapha, and you can expect premium quality and performance. Super comfortable and with a soft, cosy fleecy next-to-the-skin feel, the chamois is designed for long hours in the saddle.
Looking at others of the same quality, there are the Pedaled Obyssey Women’s Bib Cargo Tights that have the same mesh pouch pockets and rainproof sections at a slightly cheaper price. There's also the 7Mesh WK3 Cargo Bib Tights with two pockets, plus the unique feature that allows riders to trim the cuffs to fit which is something shorter riders will be thankful for.
Tech specs: Rapha Women's Cargo Winter Bib Tights with Pad
- Sizes: XXS - XL
- Price: $355 / £270 / €310
- Colour: Black/White
- Materials: Main: 85% Nylon 15% Elastane Contrast: 76% Polyester 24% Elastane
- Available from: Rapha.cc