By Terry Doyle
Are you ready for summer? No, it is not time to go to Camp North Star…yet.
As the sun starts to make an appearance with more regularity in the Bay Area, my thoughts turn towards getting my cycling kit ready for the inevitable hot days of riding throughout Northern California. I can already feel the heat coming off the road as I climb the Seven Sisters on Ridgecrest, too deep in my pain cave to appreciate the stunning views off to my right. That is why I recently bought a pair of Rapha’s Lightweight Bib Shorts.
Rapha has designed these technical cycling shorts specifically for hot and humid conditions, starting with their signature mesh bib that provides support while allowing for real breathability. In the Lightweight Bib Shorts, the design team increased the opening on the back to allow for maximum heat dissipation. This is extremely effective, and it is easy to forget you are wearing bibs, as the soft mesh trim never digs into your shoulders, no matter how active you get on your climb. I have more than a few bibs that make me feel like I am wrapped in Saran Wrap as soon as the temperature climbs.
The Lightweight Bib Shorts are constructed with a soft and highly breathable stretch material that also provides SPF 50, essential given their intended use. Flatlock stitching used throughout the shorts ensures that they don’t chafe.
Rapha developed a completely new chamois for these bib shorts. The pad has a perforated construction, which not only reduces weight, but also improves breathability by allowing more airflow. I found the chamois to be a bit bulky at first, but once on the bike, it provided comfort over longer rides throughout a range of temperatures.
Like all Rapha products, there is a strong attention to detail, seen in the lightweight leg grippers, subtle styling, and labels perfectly positioned to never irritate. The bib shorts come in three different stripe color options, including white, red, and blue, and retail for $210.
If you are looking for a high quality set of cycling bib shorts to take you through the hottest months of summer, you will be well served by Rapha’s Lightweight Bib Shorts.