No matter how well the bike fit or how geometrically accurate the saddle, discomfort on the bike isn’t something that you should have to tolerate, the problem is the array of bib shorts, pad designs, fabric types and then on top of all of that is problem that the industry don’t use the same measure for sizing. On the whole buying bib-shorts if you’re a woman can be the biggest pain in the arse.
Being beyond the standard size range as a 6ft 1in tall woman exacerbates. The industry is aware that there are design needs individual to both men and women with many manufacturers spending huge amounts to develop gender appropriate garments, however if you’re over 5ft 11 the women sizes generally stop fitting as they should and retailers are more than happy to say “ buy the men’s product, it’s just as good” and I’m sure that Rapha do make good products for both men and women but if the clothes are just as good why bother developing two padding systems, why work from different gender blocks to cut fabric, why not just make everything for women and then tell the men that the women’s range is just as good? Or another idea, why not just make a taller range for women, why not invest in solving the design problem for taller women.
Rapha stuff does look nice and I can spend quite a lot of time on their website talking myself out of buy expensive cycling clothes that just won’t fit. I pick on Rapha a lot because I expect more from a company that should be amongst the best in the world at what they do.
To combat the proliferation of overpriced, well -constructed but badly fitting tat those clever people at Wiggle had a thought and that thought gave birth to the most comfortable pair of bib shorts and they’re only £65!
Obviously, given the happy state of my backside the padding really does hold up well which is pretty great given that I have the worlds boniest bum. The shoulder straps, one of the most overlooked parts of the shorts it seems, the shoulder straps. Pretty much every bib on the market is based yet again on the male body which as far as I’m aware doesn’t include boobs. DHB Sport, on the Aeron range have opted for the much better front fastening over the head type braces with a magnetic closure. Never again will I chuff on about needing to take off my jersey so I can get my shorts down to pee if I get caught short.
The material is very supportive and warm, it also breathes and comes in a range to trim colours, although mine are plain black and look amazing on.
I think as a down side I think the middle section of the padding could be longer towards the front by perhaps 25mm so that the half oval shape button cover towards the front of the padding protects that spot it should be protecting.
Overall considering the price point in relation to the market place you must slightly bonkers not to be wearing these on your training rides.
For reference I’m 38-28-38 and 6ft 1inch tall I have the size 12 and apart from the padding they’re pretty perfect. Due to the height issue I’ll most probably take them to Jenny and have her make the straps longer by a tad to get as comfy as possible.