Rapha Core Shorts Review
These entry-level bib shorts from Rapha look as premium as their more expensive cousins and provide excellent comfort on commutes or group rides, even with their slightly less-padded 7Mesh MK3 chamois.
Rapha’s signature high-quality, dense knit fabric and modern raw edge leg grippers with silicone dots combine for the ideal combination. Additionally, Rapha’s leg material extends beyond where you bend to prevent any chance of chafing and any potential for discomfort during cycling.
Rapha’s most budget-conscious bib short, the Core, boasts impressive premium range technology. Crafted with stretchy fabric that breathes well and stays put without pinching legs. Additionally, flatlock seams help prevent chafing while its wide waistband doesn’t pinch your stomach, while flatlock seams prevent chafing while its straps distribute pressure evenly across shoulders.
The chamois is also very comfortable; though not as thick as Pro Team or Classic bibs, it still provides ample support on longer rides without getting saddle-sore. Even on rougher roads!
The Core falls short only in compression, however. We tested several bib shorts that provided more excellent support over a wider area of leg muscles than these do – such as Rapha’s Cargo or dhb’s range – however, this doesn’t diminish their comfort or suitability, available from sizes XS-XXL. They should fit most riders well; plus, Rapha offers their 30-day return/size-down scheme should that ever become necessary!
Rapha’s Core range forgoes many features on their more expensive models to offer quality performance at an entry-level price point. Our experience suggests they live up to that promise – lightweight and not baggy outer shorts support 7Mesh MK3 pads without pinching or riding up on legs; wide enough bibs fit them comfortably; surprising comfort despite not being designed as such; overall great value.
Leg grippers are well designed, featuring wide silicone bands that cover the bottom edge of shorts rather than just their hem – this helps avoid long-term chafing when exercising in hot conditions.
The waistband may be boxier than I’d prefer, but that won’t be an issue for most riders. They come up quite high around the waste, which may make these pants less comfortable compared to alternatives with lower-waste designs.
Rapha has successfully taken its premium Cargo bibs and scaled them back for more budget-conscious riders, maintaining most of their good qualities – the fit is superb, the chamois comfortable, and there are multiple pockets.
They come up slightly high at the waist, which might not suit everyone, but they can easily be adjusted. The fabric feels good against your skin, while its flatlock stitching pattern minimizes potential rub points.
Rapha has taken great care with their leg grippers, an area where lower-priced garments sometimes cut corners to save cash. Their silicone grippers feature wide bands that hold your legs without biting into them and stretch fabric for extra comfort on your legs. Plus, the bib straps are excellently designed and feel entirely secure!
Rapha has synthesized all the knowledge from its premium range into an accessible pair of bibs that offer exceptional fit and performance: Core bibs are available with either black or white straps to match different jersey colors more seamlessly and feature a discreet Rapha band running across each leg that makes its presence known without drawing attention away from its wearer.
The short material feels dense compared to other bibs on the test, with chunky flatlock seams that adequately dissipate pressure. Silicone leg grippers provide comforting heft for gripping legs firmly during pedal strokes, while overall finish quality was high. Unfortunately, reflective features seen on other Rapha bibs are missing. Yet, this entry-level pair from Rapha is hard to fault and represents excellent value – an attribute that begs why they haven’t made this part of their main range sooner!