Women’s Test Team: Women’s Bibshorts Review Part 2

Apparel Pro Review

Rapha Team Sky Women’s Bib Shorts

Sizes: XXS to XL
Color: Black with Team and Sponsor Logos
MSRP: $220
More Info: www.Rapha.cc

What The Manufacturer Says

Made from a comfortable, compressive stretch fabric that is breathable and durable, these shorts are designed for maximum comfort and durability on long rides. The shorts use a chamois pad designed specifically for women riders and have a panelled construction to guarantee a superb fit. Flatlock stitching throughout means they won’t chafe, no matter how long or hard you ride. The fabric also has a wicking treatment to improve moisture transfer and an anti-bacterial treatment to prevent the build-up of the bacteria that can irritate the skin. The bib section is made from two different mesh fabrics to regulate body temperature. Cut high for a more flattering line, the mesh at the front offers excellent support and is designed to be worn with a sports bra.

Tester: Kate Powlison (Size Tested: Small)

Fit: These fit me quite well. The seams and fabric expanded where I needed them to and fit close where I didn’t.

Function: Most comfortable bibs I’ve ever worn, hands down. Two and a half hours into an epic six hour ride, I suddenly realized that I had no crotch pain, no chafing, no discomfort whatever. I didn’t think that was possible! I’ll have to find new excuses to cut my rides short now.

The design of the full length bib top also changed my mind about the concept. It didn’t seem as restricting or hot as other versions of this design. I think this was a combination of the zipper, a lower neckline, and the super-lightweight mesh. I never ended up using the zip pocket. As long as you’re wearing a jersey with well-designed pockets, it seems unnecessary and restrictive.

Materials: Nice and lightweight. Does seem a bit delicate. I had to be careful about snagging or abrading the fabric. Even with careful washing, the silk screened graphics started to crack and peel, particularly the Pinarello logo.

Fashion: I found the zipped top to be very flattering. When I unzipped my jersey on a sweaty climb, I didn’t have to worry about distracting motorists with a flash of bright white belly fat.

Additional Comments
: I thought it was really cool that Rapha offered a women’s version of the Sky team kit. For all the female racing fans out there, this is all too rare of an offering. Now, the next step is to get their own women’s pro team!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Tester: Liz Barcheck (Size Tested: Medium)

Fit: These shorts fit okay. I liked the length but they were a little tight. They have the small elastic band at the bottom of the short that I really dislike, but it’s not terribly unflattering. The bib fit well and isn’t too tight.

Function: Unfortunately, I found that for my body the chamois was bulky and misplaced. It sticks out too far in the back when I’m on my saddle. I don’t really think the chamois is all that comfortable in general. I do like the bib style, even though traditionally I like thin straps that allow for lots of airflow, I almost feel like this style of bibs that provides more mesh coverage almost acts as a little base layer. There is a pocket hidden in the back, which is place to keep an ID or some cash.

Materials: They definitely feel great, the material is breathable and isn’t too constricting. The mesh is soft and there is a liner on the chest where the zipper is to keep that area free of chaffing.

Fashion: My biggest beef with these shorts, is the seam on the chamois that puckers out in the back. It makes more of a bubble butt scenario than a girl in a chamois wants to have. Otherwise the lines are smooth and clean, and I really do like the look and feel of the bib.

Additional Comments
: These shorts feel really nice, they are comfortable mostly because the fabric is really soft and thin. I could definitely ride for a long time in them and feel fine, they just don’t fit perfectly.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Tester: Elizabeth Train (Size Tested: Small)

Fit: These bibs fit very well — they’re supportive and comfortable.

Function: I’m not sure why there are so many zippers on these bibs. The one in the front seems unnecessary. The fabric seems like it would stretch well enough to get them on without it. And the zippered pouch in the small of the back is absolutely inaccessible unless the bibs are off. So I’m not sure what it’s for. (Maybe it’s to transport super-secret intel?) In any event, I found them a little overwrought in the zipper department. But I love the chamois.

Materials: The materials in the Rapha bibs are understated yet luxurious. (Yes, I realize we’re talking about Lycra here. Humor me.) These are beautiful, high-quality bibs.

Fashion: These bibs look and feel great on. The detailing is beautiful (love the oval cutout in the back) and I like the longer short length — that’s hard to find in women’s shorts in general.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Tester: Lisa Sumner (Size Tested: Medium)

Fit: These bibs look and fit like a body suit. The legs come to mid-thigh and the upper mesh part of the bib is a good length and fit me well. The only compliant I have on the fit is the leg bands are slightly tight. They didn’t result in any major unsightly leg bulge but I would like just a bit more room.

Function: I don’t really understand the benefit of the body suit bib. Rapha claims it’s for a clean look when wearing your jersey, no strap seams showing. It does accomplish this task; however, on hot days I prefer less material up top when riding. One nice feature Rapha added to the upper mesh part is a zipper allowing you get more air flow when needed. The material continued up the bib until just under my sternum and then transitioned to the mesh upper. Having the fabric transition higher up on my body was much more comfortable while riding and resulted in a more flattering overall look. The chamois did its job well. I didn’t really notice it at all which is a good thing and I was comfortable while riding.

Materials: I don’t know how better to explain the material than just plain soft. It feels like the tissues you buy that have just a hint of lotion in them. They feel very luxurious when on. There were no seams on the inside of the bibs. The elastic leg band was an inch thick band, which is smooth on the upper side with a slightly sticky feel on the underside, so there no glue spots, which I found comfortable.

Fashion: The bibs fit very well and the Lycra coming up higher on the body creates a flattering look. We tested the team Sky bibs so they included the Sky logo on the legs and back, but it’s possible to buy the bibs in all black, which looks very sleek and classic. I also like that the Rapha logo is very non-descript.

Additional Comments
: Rapha did alter the design of the bib to be specific for a woman but they did not address the restroom issue in this altered design.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Next: GS Panache 12 Women’s Bib Short »
About the author: RoadBikeReview Womens Test Team

In order to better serve our readership, RoadBikeReview has launched a Women’s Test Team that’s tasked with reviewing gear and apparel made expressly for women. Our quartet of testers are all experienced cyclists, who each bring a unique set of perspectives and needs to the conversation. If you have questions for our testers or suggestions on gear you would like to see featured here, leave us a note in the comments section below or send an email to WomensTestTeam@roadbikereview.com.


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  • Vicky R says:

    Why weren’t Gore’s Xenon 2.0 Lady Bibtights tested? They sell for $200. I buy a new pair or two every year. They have compression legs, look nice, and fit well,. They also have a very handy bio break access capability via two large zippers in the back that open all the way around the sides. They make bathroom or porta potty stops very easy and quick. I wear them on all my century and metric rides as the chamois is very comfortable for long rides.

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