Rapha Cargo bib shorts review: Unless you're often riding in the heat, buy the cheaper Core Cargo bibs instead

Are the Rapha Cargo Bibs appreciably better than the Core Cargo Bibs?

A white man wears a set of Rapha Cargo Bibs
(Image: © Will Jones)

Cyclingnews Verdict

An excellent choice for bikepacking thanks to a massive capacity and non-compressive fit, but the Core Bibs do the job just as well.

Pros

  • +

    Fit is extremely comfortably for all-day riding

  • +

    Leg grippers will never let go

  • +

    Reflective details

Cons

  • -

    Leg grippers uncomfortable

  • -

    Thick chamois can get a little soupy

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Adding pockets to bib shorts might be something bordering on heresy for certain sections of the cycling community, but for me, they’ve been such a good thing that I rarely ride in anything else now, for road or gravel. Any old bibs can be improved with a couple of pockets, but the best cargo bib shorts aren’t just a normal road pair with some mesh sewn onto the thighs; they add features that are a little more discipline-specific that take them away from the best cycling shorts into a realm of their own.

While excellent for road riding if you just want to carry a bit more luggage, cargo bibs are more aimed at the crossover of the Venn diagram of gravel and endurance riding, and Rapha was one of the first brands to produce them, at the time to a fair bit of derision and some memes.

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Testing scorecard and notes
AttributesNotesRating
Design and aestheticsA good looking pair of cargo bibs with neat reflective detailing8/10
Comfort and fitComfortable for long days, but the thick chamois holds on to moisture and leg grippers are uncomfortable7/10
Cargo capacityExcellent pockets. Not the most premium but functional and high capacity9/10
Thermal managementFor the purpose of endurance rides they manage heat very well, let down slightly by the chamois thickness8/10
ValueWhen the Core cargo Bibs do the job more or less just as well it's hard to justify the cost5/10
TotalRow 5 - Cell 1 74%

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