Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rapha Women's Line, Take 2

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
Over the summer I wrote about being underwhelmed with Rapha's women's line, but recently circumstances have encouraged me to give them another chance. And by circumstances I mean their 50% off winter sale, which coincided with the sudden demise of some of my current winter cycling clothes. Long story short, I now own several pieces of Rapha gear, two of which I will review here: the women's winter bib tights and long sleeve jersey. After my previous Rapha post, some felt that I intentionally used low quality pictures to exaggerate my criticism of the clothing. So this time I used a proper camera and did my best to show the clothing in a flattering light, freezing my butt of on a 20° day in the process. While I usually wait longer before reviewing a product, these are winter-specific and it is probably more useful to write about them now than once winter is over. Please keep in mind that the comments here are based on a very brief period of ownership.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
Rapha Women's Winter Tights

I decided to take a chance on the Rapha winter bib tights, because several women I know wear them and have good things to say about them. As you can see, these "tights" are pretty much a full-body jumpsuit. In my view that somewhat justifies the price of the garment, as the amount of warmth and coverage it provides is akin to what you would get from both tights and a vest. The fleece-lined tights are warm and windproof, designed for winter temperatures. At the time of this review, I have worn them on only one 30 mile ride so far in 25°F. My understanding (based on how others wear them) is that one dons these over a base layer and under a long sleeve jersey. For the purpose of demonstration I will show them here without a jersey on top.

I am a US size 4 and got the winter tights in Small. They are a very close fit, but also super-stretchy and don't constrict my movements at all, so I guess I am happy with the size. Multi-panel construction allows for a tailored look. The sizing seems designed for lean women with big thighs and a moderate bosom. If you are larger than a size B on top, consider going up a size or the torso might feel constricting.  If you have very slim legs, consider going down a size or the tights might be loose. If you have a big bosom and slim legs... well, then you might be out of luck. 

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
As far as quality, the tights seem to be well constructed, with no loose stitches or sloppiness. I won't really know until I wear them for at least a season though. The aesthetics are elegant, with the contrast piping and panels. Mesh panels in the shoulders and back aid temperature regulations and reduce tugging when in the drops.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
The bottom is reinforced to prevent wear from contact with the saddle. There is a roomy pocket at waist-level in the rear that I could frankly do without (it adds some bulk under the top layer of fabric), but some might find useful. I could also do without the word "wheelsucker" embroidered on the right butt cheek. But I guess no one I ride with will ever see that, so I needn't worry.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
A distinct feature of these tights is the large reflective strip on the back of the left calf (as another reviewer points out, the placement on the left is curious given that the manufacturer is English, but it works for American roads). I was riding with another woman who was wearing these, and the reflective strip made her very visible from a distance as she pedaled. The mesh stir-ups are another nice feature, as they keep the tights from riding up and exposing skin at the ankles while also being soft and stretchy enough to eliminate tugging.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
The front unzips to just above the belly-button. On a scale of 1 being easy to put on and take off and 10 being difficult, I would rate these as a 7. I would not want to be trying to pee in the woods in the dead of winter while wearing these bibs with several layers over them. The type of cycling I do is unlikely to call for that, but winter-peeing enthusiasts beware. What bothers me more, is that I find it quite difficult to smooth out my base layer inside the bibs - the zipper opening does not allow for enough reach. As a result, there is inevitably some unsightly bunching around my hips inside the bibs.

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
And finally there is the lack of a chamois. The tights are unpadded and meant to be worn over padded cycling shorts. The idea is that this way, you don't have to wash the entire massive jumpsuit every time you wear it and therefore it is a great feature. I can sort of see that, and I also appreciate that without the tell-tale pad these bibs can double as a cross-country skiing jumpsuit. But there is one thing that confuses me: Isn't the whole point of bibs to solve the problem of cycling shorts cutting into your abdomen? If so, it seems to me that the Rapha bibs rather fail at that aspect of things. Also, some might simply find it too bulky and constricting to wear fleece-lined compression tights over shorts. You may want to consider this aspect carefully before buying. 

Rapha Women's Winter Tights
Summary: The Rapha women's winter tights are really more like a multi-sport full body jumpsuit. They are warm, easy to move in, attractive, and increase the cyclist's visibility on the road. On the downside, they are time consuming to put on and take off, while the lack of a chamois and the need to wear them over cycling shorts negates the waist-band eliminating benefits of bib tights and adds bulk. Given how warm these are, I am willing to deal with their limitations. But ultimately my opinion of their value will depend on quality. I really hope these last longer than a season! I would also suggest that Rapha consider offering a padded version for those who would prefer to carefully wash the chamois to having to wear them over cycling shorts. 

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
Rapha Women's Long-Sleeve Jersey

I got the women's long sleeve jersey to wear as a midlayer underneath my winter cycling jacket. Again the purchase was motivated by positive feedback from a couple of other women who own this garment. There are several choices for colour schemes, and after agonising over the "fig" vs the "blue," I decided on the latter. It is a pleasant slate blue colour that transitions from gray to seafoamish depending on how the light hits it. I have worn this jersey on a handful of rides so far.

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
The size Small is spot-on for my US size 4 frame (worn over a sportsbra, long sleeve baselayer, and bib tights). As with other Rapha women's items, if you have much in the way of bosom you may need to go up a size. The jersey has a full zip and drawcords to tighten and loosen the hem.

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
This is actually a nice feature, because on some of my current jerseys the hem is too loose and on others it rides up. It is hard to get that part right for women, because of the curvature of the hips - everyone's is different. There are three deep pockets in the rear, with an inner compartment for a small pump and a zippered compartment for credit card and cash.

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
As with other Rapha jerseys, there is a high collar and a tab to prevent the zipper from digging into your neck. I like the colour-matched zipper and stitching; there is not too much going on in this jersey.

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
The white armband that screams Rapha is a feature I could do without very happily, though I understand that this is too much to ask. But I will say that, similarly to brands like Chrome, in a way Rapha has gotten itself into a corner with the strong visual branding. At this point there are people who would enjoy the functionality and quality of some of the garments, but are simply too embarrassed to wear Rapha because of what the branding has come to represent (roadie couture, backlit films of exquisite suffering, etc.). Maybe something to consider.

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
The fabric is "Sportwool" - 52% merino wool and 48% polyester. The surface of the fabric is smooth and shiny, almost shimmery in the sunlight. It does not look or feel particularly wool-like to me, so if you are seeking the tactile qualities of wool be aware. While I am not sure that I'd be able to wear this against bare skin (I am sensitive to polyester), over a merino baselayer it is fine. Most importantly, I find this jersey to be surprisingly warm, and the best insulating mid-layer I have tried so far. Prior to getting it, I was wearing a heavy Icebreaker turtleneck over my baselayer and it was neither as warm nor as breathable. A little disappointing, because I prefer 100% wool, but I have to admit that the Rapha jersey does the job. Worn underneath a windproof shell, this setup has kept me comfortable on rides in temperatures in the 20s. 

Rapha Women's Long Sleeve Jersey, Blue
Summary: This is a wool-blend cold weather jersey with a number of useful features. While YMMV, it seems to work extremely well for me as a winter midlayer. The fit may be tricky for curvy bodies, and the tell-tale Rapha armband is sure to cause some eye-rolling, but ultimately this is an effective garment that to me was worth the sale price. 

Having examined Rapha's new additions to the women's line for 2011-2012 at a local retailer (the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA), they generally strike me as more flattering and more aesthetically pleasing than the items I commented upon in my previous post. I would love to see Rapha make a couple of jerseys in 100% merino, especially for the summer, a better fitting wind jacket in a more inspiring colour scheme for the warmer season, and arm warmers that are size-matched to their short sleeve jerseys. I would also love for Rapha to tone down some of the strong visual branding. I hope the Rapha women's line continues to expand. The more options for female cyclists, the better.

49 comments:

  1. I have a Rapha jersey, 40% wool 60% polyester. It's surprisingly warm as you say. The high collar is nice and warm. It's just about all I need when the temperature is over 10-15 °C or so. Even in rain I don't bother with a jacket.

    Never thought of wearing it over a baselayer. That would make it even more useful. You learn something new every day =)

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  2. You could color over the "Wheelsucker" embroidery with a black permanent marker.

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    1. It's already black, but still legible.

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  3. Is the long sleeve jersey the same as the womens classic jersey, only with long sleeves? Thanks for the thorough review and pictures!

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    1. I can't tell for sure, but I think no. The fabric on the long sleeve jersey has a sheen to it that the short sleeve version does not. And the fit on the long sleeved is almost certainly different (looser). In any case, it would not make sense for them to be the same, as that would make the short sleeved to warm to wear in the summer. Feedback from others is welcome though.

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    2. No, the winter jersey is warmer, made from 52% merino, the regular jersey is 29% (I think). Also, the way the material is made puts the polyester outside for wind resistance and gives it the sheen, the wool part is on the inside next to skin for wicking.

      They don't "hide" the country of origin on their site, they promote it and have a rather defensible case for those actually interested.
      http://www.rapha.cc/made-in-china

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  4. The waist this is an issue. You either wear non-bib shorts with bib tights or vice versa. Or deal with spaghetti straps and/or hold your water.

    I don't really care but wonder if you can feel the vent zipper if there's something in your jersey pockets.

    The base layer issue is a non-starter I think. Once the jersey goes on, your original form factor returns.

    But...is it fair to say you wish for a 100% merino product when you haven't worn the Sportwool next to your skin?

    Yes, the thought of "taking one for the team" vis-a-vis a rash might be asking too much.

    The Rapha thing doesn't bug me. It's handsome. If someone calls you an elitist you can point to your Moser. Blow minds.

    PS I signed out of the Goog acct and got a youtube error message - awesome.

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    1. I've worn the Sportswool against the skin when trying it on, and I do prefer the texture and feel of 100% merino to it regardless of whether I am sensitive to the blend or not. I will try it in the summer though.

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  5. I have the mens version of those pieces. I have had them for a couple of years now. My long sleeve jersey gets a lot of use, but the tights... not so much.

    I seem to feel the about same way that you do about the pieces. The jersey is very versatile and breathes well, which is good for the dry cold where I live. Short or long sleeve base layers really extend the useful range of the jersey. And their base layers, though expensive, are very nice. As you mention, try to get Rapha on sale and it is not such a shock to the wallet.

    As for the tights, the lack of a chamois is the biggest shortcoming. The tights are a bit constricting on the abdomen when wearing bibs underneath. I feel like a sausage when I zip up the tights in the front.

    Rapha does make a pair of fleece bib knickers (for men at least?) that are fantastic. Not exactly a substitute for the tights, but highly recommended for riding in slightly warmer weather.

    Mike

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    1. "And their base layers, though expensive..."

      They have a deal where a 3-pack costs $160 including shipping, and you can choose them in any sleeve length and any size. If you get all 3 long-sleeve, that's a good deal. Also, when you buy something from Rapha online they apparently send you a discount coupon to use on a subsequent purchase. All in all it is possible to get the merino baselayers at a reasonable price.

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  6. which shorts are you wearing underneath the tights?

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    1. For these photos I was lazy and just wore the tights over underwear. When I rode in them for real, I wore them over my Ibex cycling shorts as these are the only ones I own. Being wool, they are thicker than lycra shorts and it was a tight fit. Doable though.

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  7. Re your comment about waistbands: In the description for the men's tights, Rapha suggest you wear bib shorts under the bib tights :-) Not sure why the wording isn't the same for the ladies version.

    But I will say the Rapha women's (non-bib) shorts have a nice deep panel at the front, so don't have a constricting waistband. I am not a spendthrift, but I do love the silky fabric and the nice deep waistband on their shorts.

    Back to the tights. One potential use for that zippered pocket in the back is a disposable handwarmer. It would have been nice TODAY at 7F.

    As for that white armband, don't forget that like the white panel on the leg, it really adds to visibility. As for branding, sure the white band is one of Rapha's branding things, but why not have a nice distinct branding association? Should we remove the partially eaten apples that light up from the backs of open laptops? And given that they don't have giant logos, sponsor names, garish patterns or pink flowers all over, their clothing is much more subtle than much of what is offered to *sport* cyclists.

    But if you really don't like the white armband and want to try a Rapha jersey with a flattering cut for women, consider the women's club jerseys. While RSC only has the pink one in stock, it also comes in blue and cream - and Rapha have them marked down to almost half price. My wonderful brother-in-law got me the complete set last fall! These have a much more flattering cut than the classic jersey, and without the full zip that you didn't seem to like in your earlier review. Of course you'll have to travel somewhere warm or wait a while to really use them. V, feel free to come try mine.

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  8. Pixie, Jim & Mike - Yes, the men's winter tights can be worn over bib shorts, which eliminates the waistband problem, but unfortunately they do not make bib shorts for women. I suppose you could get these from Shutt Velo Rapide. Has anyone tried them?

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    1. Have you tried their regular women's shorts? Definitely no binding waistband.

      Also there is a 3/4 bib for women.

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    2. I'm puzzled by your comment that they don't make womens bib shorts. Am I missing something? I wear Hincape bibs (what my team provides me) but have worn several different kinds in the past.

      Real Cyclist has a whole page of bib shorts for women:

      http://www.realcyclist.com/womens-cycling-bib-shorts

      They even have a pair of wool blend bibs there. I really feel like I must be missing something.

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  9. "Wheelsucker" is generally a derogatory. It means a rider who sits in the group taking shelter from the wind while failing to go to the front to do his/her share of fighting the wind. Why ever would this be embroidered on a self respecting cyclists clothing? Get out the stitch ripper.

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  10. Wow. Totally not for me. 1. Bigger boobs, skinny legs. 2. I tend to wait to pee until it's OH GOD I HAVE TO GO NOW. Even when I go earlier than that, when I get to the bathroom/whatever my body starts to yell NOW PLEASE. The idea of having to struggle out of half my clothes to pee is just awful.

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    1. You might like the fit of Capo tights, they are made for slender legs and have several bibless versions available. Departmentofgoods often has them on clearance.

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    2. Huh. I'll have to think about it.

      Reading this post, though, was a reminder that I generally dislike roadie-ish clothes. In general I dislike single-purpose clothes, and I'm just really un-fond of the spandex look (whether made out of that material or not). I have padded shorts, but they're almost all liner-style, partially 'cause I prefer a super-thin chamois, but also because I generally wear something over it. The liner shorts and my wool jerseys (which aren't true bike jerseys as they don't have those pockets) are the only truly cycling-specific clothing I own.

      Like, for instance, I really hate walking into a store in just padded shorts (no, I don't do this in liner shorts). I feel oddly exposed, like I walked in the store in my bikini bottoms or something. On tour I had some thin gray knickers for wearing over my shorts, as well as a black thin cotton jersey skirt for hotter days.

      I dunno. I just have this huge resistance to looking like a roadie, even when I do half-assed roadie style rides. Maybe I'd feel less weird about it if I were faster or on a bike that wasn't clearly set up for touring? No idea.

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    3. Re padded shorts/tights and civilisation: consider carrying a skirt in your bag, one of those made of thin jersey fabric that fold up into a tiny ball and barely take up any space. Then you can simply put it on once off the bike before entering respectable establishments. To me, black padded tight and shorts don't really look that roadish anyhow; it's the brightly coloured lycra with company ads all over it that holds the roadie association for me.

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  11. Dhb that I usually buy from Wiggle has sub $100 padded roubaix bib tights for women if you are looking for a cheaper option. (although the roubaix version seems sold out). I have used the mens versions for commuting for two months with no problems. Have worked great down to -7 C. Lower than that and I would consider a baselayer underneath for 1h+ riding.

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    1. Saw those earlier, but they are listed as discontinued unfortunately.

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  12. I don't have anything constructive to add, but I must say the second pic is charming.

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  13. i find that branding rather bold and subtle at the same time. mass-market here we come! semi-elitist with a nice trickle down effect.
    -
    please fill me in on the 'backlit films of exquisite suffering'. - not sure we are visting the same cinema...

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  14. So glad to see your second report on Rapha for women.. I am waiting on a few pieces to arrive this week, including the women's long sleeve jersey in medium (fig) and the 3/4 bibs. I purchased the women's gilet last year in large, and it love it and wear it all the time. I am eager to see if the jersey will be a good fit for my frame.

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  15. what's disappointing to me - at their pricepoint - is that almost all their stuff appears to be made in the third world. there's no reason you can't make most of these products in england (where rapha is based, and where you'd imagine they'd want to invest their money) or europe or the us (since they seem to have a satellite office here).
    perhaps you could call out the country of origin on the products you bought, since they hide it on their website?

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    1. Good point about listing the country of origin, will add this to the text.

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  16. Wow, how long did it take you to get those thigh muscles? Do you find it difficult to shop for women's pants?

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    1. Gee, thanks a lot : ) I don't wear pants often, but a month ago I wanted to buy some jeans and yes it was tough.

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  17. Have your feelings about the clothes in your previous review changed at all in retrodspect? I've seen the stow away jacket on sale for 1/2 price and it's so tempting!

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    1. Look, you might like the jacket even though I don't. There are other blogs reviewing it if you search for it, so maybe have a look at them as well.

      But to answer your question, no I still find that jacket hideous. From the matronly shade of red to the awkward fit, I just don't know what else to say. I would gladly buy a lightweight summer rain/wind jacket from Rapha if they made a nice one, but this ain't it for me. I do like their softshell winter jacket and their rain jacket very much, but those are very expensive and I've never seen them go on sale.

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  18. "If you have a big bosom and slim legs... well, then you might be out of luck."

    Strange to think that way.
    Big bosom and slim legs is what I have always wanted.

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  19. I assume this question would apply to the men's versions as well.

    I am new to cycling in inclement weather. These tights keep you warm but do they keep you dry? Do you need tights and an outer shell as well? Iv'e seen Izumi pants that zip into shorts and those seam reasonable. Are you supposed to wear them over tights?

    Sorry for such noob questions but this is the first year where the Seattle-threatens-to-move-to-California syndrome has started in January for me. Usually it doesn't begin until March!

    So I am very interested in what I'm supposed to wear because my wool knickers and t shirts won't cut it.

    Happy WInter Riding,
    Ryan

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    1. Not 100% sure what you are asking, but there are rainpants that are basically made of the same shell material as rainjackets, and you do wear them over tights or regular pants (my husband wears this stuff for commuting).

      The Rapha tights shown here are compression tights that are meant for strenuous cycling. They are water resistant, but would probably not withstand a downpour. You may want to ask here though; the reviewer has almost certainly worn them in heavy rain.

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    2. I'll just answer here...

      I have not worn the rapha tights in heavy rain. My choice of rainwear varies a bit depending on temperature, type and length of ride.

      For staying the dryest - I have a nice pair of Mountain Hardwear Goretex PacLite pants that I've had for several years. These are great when I'm out all day and want to keep a base layer relatively dry, like when touring, or doing a spring brevet. I've also used them a lot for commuting where I don't want to have to deal with trying to dry wet tights at work. I vary the weight of the baselayer under them to deal with warmer or colder conditions. I don't see the model I have anymore, but I think they have something similar and suspect a few other companies make something similar as well. Of course, I need to mate these with a tall overshoe to really stay dry.

      I also have some nice *warm* pants made by showers pass. These are water resistant for a while, but not waterproof and will soak through in heavy rain.
      http://www.showerspass.com/catalog/men/mens-pants/roadie-pant

      Note that they don't have a women's specific model. Mine actually were originally bought for Fear Rothar, but they somehow ended up on my side of the closet. These are good for cold and damp, less so for heavy downpours or all day rain.

      I tend not to use rainpants in warm conditions - tradeoff in sweat versus rain. But again, it also depends on whether it's an all day ride/rain or an hour or two.

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    3. I cannot wear the fully waterproof rain pants on warm rides either, my legs just get too hot even if the pants are described as breathable.

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  20. maybe rapha will sponsor your dark hedges trip if you wear these and promise to shoot a video? ;) just brainstorming here!

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    1. Shooting promotional video for a company is typically a paid job worth more than an airline ticket. I know you are joking, but sadly I think people are too willing to do this sort of thing without fair compensation.

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  21. I like the look of your new kit. It might be worthwhile to call a local cycle courier and see if they have some tips for you on durable, comfortable and good value winter gear.

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  22. Photo #2 - You are Elastigirl! (Sorry - cheap shot.)

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  23. i received my Rapha order today, and will add my comments on fit on the chance it will help another female who's trying to decide whether to try the gear. I ordered the 3/4 bib shorts in small, the women's long-sleeved jersey (Fig) in medium, the merino roll-neck sweater in small, and the men's long-sleeved jersey (gray) in small.

    The bib shorts fit wonderfully, but the padding felt like a LOT compared to what I am used to in my Sugoi 3/4 tights. That said, the overall fit of the tights was spot on, and I think, after I have washed them, maybe the pad will have a bit more give. On the bike, though, they feel great, and I think the 3/4 tights will get a lot of use. The length below the knee felt good to me.

    As I mentioned in another posting, I have the women's gilet in a large, and it's great for layering, though i probably could have gotten away with a medium. The women's jersey (in medium), however, just does NOT fit my body shape. It bunched in weird places, and was too big in the neck. The arm length was decent, but the arms felt large over all. I did not order a women's small, because when i first tried the women's gilet, I ordered a small and I couldn't zip it! The large vest is slightly loose, but in a good way (for layering).
    Interestingly, the men's long-sleeved jersey in small fits me perfectly. There's no bunching anywhere. It fits my neck snugly, and it's perfect across the shoulders. It's snug in the bust, but not in a bad way.

    Lastly, the merino roll up jersey in small was a perfect fit. The neck is cut pretty slim, and it looks great as a turtleneck (I'm not sure if you're to roll the neck down or not, but it fits my longer neck nicely without rolling it down). For reference, I am 5'8-1/2"or so and around 132 lbs with a 36A bust. In Outlier women's pants I'm a solid 6. Don't mean to tell you more than you want to know about me, but i hope it will help others figure out what sizes might (or might not) work for them.

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  24. Kim, do you think the 3/4 tights could be worn with leg warmers to make a combined full leg tight? Or is there something in the tailoring/length that prevents this? I am thinking now that maybe I ought to have gone with that option.

    Thanks for sharing your sizing issues and measurements, I think this sort of thing is very useful for everyone!

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    1. Velouria, I think that sounds like an excellent idea, pairing the leg warmers with the 3/4 tights (unless the double coverage would be constricting at the knee). I had thought about buying the women's shorts and the leg warmers instead of the 3/4 bib tights, but ultimately, after going back and forth on it, I decided on the 3/4 bibs.

      I was worried the leg length wouldn't be long enough for me--a reviewer elsewhere on the web said she wished the length below the knee was longer. Thankfully, I am comfortable with the length.

      Since I'm keeping everything I ordered but the women's long-sleeve jersey, I just might exchange the jersey for those leg warmers. I think your idea is a good one, and it's certainly worth a try.

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    2. Okay I went ahead and asked Rapha about this. They replied that the 3/4 tights and legwarmers will work together.

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    3. Velouria, Thanks so much for contacting Rapha about the combination. Do you plan to swap your full winter tights for 3/4 tights and legwarmers now?

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    4. Well I like the reflective strip, the warmth, and the multi-sport potential of the full winter tights, so I'll keep them. But maybe next year I will also get the 3/4 and the legwarmers : )

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  25. I also have their winter jersey, the gaiter, booties and embro (won a gift certificate from some racing). I commute/train in Seattle outside 6-7 days a week year-round and ski in my off time. I've been using these for riding in 35-50 degree rain and skiing in 10-20 degrees.

    As a 5 foot, 110 pound competitive cyclist, I normally wear a 0-2. The XXS jersey is made for tiny children. I exchanged for the XS and the fit is quite trim, but fits perfectly for me with a lightweight base and allows me to wear a vest or jacket easily. I do a lot of core work and used to be a climber, and this fits my larger biceps, as many Euro jerseys do not.

    I live in the gaiter since I got it. Warm but breathes well, and unlike others that I have tried, it has some shape and drape, more like a scarf. I have considered wearing it to work with a sweater but it's usually sweaty from the weekends. I got the pink and it's almost a bubblegum color, but very fun. I am tired of owning all black, grey and blue.

    The embro is nice, but I still like the brand Greyhound Juice better because it's a solid that I can put on like deodarant rather than rub on. Could be a tad warmer and longer lasting for heat.

    The neoprene booties are nothing special and if they weren't a deal and my old ones torn, I would have returned them. I wear a SIDI 37 and like that the S actually work with my road cleats. Most other booties are too loose and get in the way when clipping in. Could use some reinforcements on the sole...I suspect these will wear out quickly.

    Waiting for that gilet to go on sale...

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