In this installment of our Rapha Winter kit review we’re looking at the Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad.
If you’re after a pair of tights to get you through the worst winter can throw at you, these are a great place to start.
Words – Mike Boudrie
Photography – Andrew Clifforth
Rapha’s Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad are made in Italy and designed for those days when you really need protection from the wind, freezing temperatures, rain and road spray. Basically where having any exposed skin is going to be pretty unpleasant.
These tights have been developed by Rapha for Team Sky’s winter training, meaning they need to handle long hours, poor conditions all while performing at the highest levels.
I’ve been using the Rapha Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad over the last month, through wind rain and generally freezing conditions. Last week I returned home from a ride feeling very comfortable only to find that the water pipes in my street had frozen. If that’s not cold enough for testing I’m not sure what is.
We were not disappointed by the construction quality of the Pro Team Winter Tights. All the stitching is nicely finished and the heavy weight DWR fabric looks like it will last wash after wash.
The tights use a chamois by Cytech – the same one that is used in the Pro Team Bib Shorts. There’s plenty of detailing to help improve visibility in the form of a white ‘RAPHA’ logo across the back and on the side of the left leg (there’s a black ‘RAPHA’ logo in the right leg). You’ll also find a series of white horizontal wide stripes across both calves and two stitched reflective tabs to the lower rear of the hips.
While the logos and stripes are not fully reflective, we’ve found they do a pretty good job of catching car headlights.
Turning the tights inside out you’ll find the front of the tights is constructed from a different material from the rear. The idea here is that the front blocks the wind while the back lets excess heat escape to help regulate body temperature.
The bib section is beautifully finished using mesh, with smooth bonded edges. There’s also a ‘Pro Team’ label where you can write your ‘name’ and ‘number’ on the lower back.
Put simply, the performance of these winter tights is amazing. In temperatures of around zero I did not feel cold, the wind-blocking DWR fabric stops the wind effectively and does a great job, keeping you feeling warm and comfortable. The high waist also keeps your lower core protected.
On one test ride we ended up in constant heavy rain for over an hour and temperatures of 2 degrees. The protection from the tights was awesome, letting me get out there and ‘endure’ some terrible conditions in relative comfort when paired with the appropriate base layer, jersey and jacket.
On another cold, wet 3-hour ride I did not realise how cold and unpleasant it really was until the end of the ride, where I found that my riding buddy was freezing and not exactly loving life… I did not have the heart to tell him I was almost completely dry and feeling comfortable.
The Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad also do a great job of regulating temperature, avoiding overheating. Even when temperatures moved away from zero and worked towards 10 degrees there was no discomfort.
On the fit side the tights don’t have the same level of stretch as Rapha’s bib shorts, but once on, which can be a bit tricky, they stay in position. There’s no bunching of material behind the knees and the bib section is super comfortable to the point where you won’t even notice them after a while.
Six Sizes – XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Our 188cm/98cm Chest / 83cm Waist / 79kg tester wore a medium
Colours – Black.
WHERE TO BUY
Head to www.rapha.cc to check out the Long Sleeve Pro Team Jersey
These are without a doubt the best tights I’ve used. There’s no questioning the fact that they are expensive, but for your money you’ll be provided with top quality protection from the elements. Based on our other Rapha kit and the construction quality of the tights, we’d expect you’d be using them for winter after winter.
- DWR treatment
- Breathable rear panels
- Multi-panel fit
- Same chamois as Pro Team Bib Shorts
- High waist for insulation