Like their women’s counterpart, the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts are designed to be worn as a second skin, whether off-road or on long-distance rides. For € 255, you get light rain protection, a dual-density chamois, and a choice of 3 colours. With 4 pockets, they’re designed to let you ride without a jersey. We put the shorts to the test to find out more.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Which are the best cargo bibs of 2023 – 13 cargo bib shorts in review.

The 2023 Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts | € 255

Specs & quality of Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts

As with the women‘s model, the men’s version is made with a water-repellent material, which should fend off a bit of drizzle, though we weren’t able to test this during our test. They don’t feel as soft as conventional bibs. However, once on, they’re surprisingly comfortable. Narrow but firm rubberised cuffs are incorporated into the bibs and hold the legs securely in place. Four large pockets – two on the back, and one on each leg – accommodate everything that you usually try to stuff into your jersey pockets. And there is room for more, too.
The bibs are mostly made with conventional seams, though that doesn’t detract much from this model’s comfort. The cuffs are relatively narrow at 3 cm, but they keep the legs in place. Like all Rapha shorts on test, these also qualify for their in-house repair program. Excellent!

Logo print incl. 2 bananas.

Cargo functionality of the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts

On the size L shorts, the two back pockets measure 13.5 x 13.5 cm, capable of accommodating loads of stuff! Rapha don’t promote overshorts for their cargo bibs, but the pockets are positioned high enough to allow you to wear shorts over them if you wish. However, to grab things out of the back pockets while riding, you need to be a contortionist. So, we recommend using the back pockets for items belonging to the “things I want to carry but don’t need while riding” category. You’ll have room left for the emergency energy bar, of course.
The leg pockets measure 17 x 15 cm, which is enough for pretty much everything you could reasonably need on a long day in the saddle. All pockets are made of a sturdy, elastic mesh with a tight-fitting hem at the top. As such, we never had to worry about losing our mobile phones or other important and/or expensive items on our rides – whether on the road in an aero position or on bumpy off-road terrain. Everything remains in place, which also improves comfort when the pockets are full.

The back pockets with the drying instructions inside, and the reflective strip underneath them.

As the bibs we tested were black, they could easily pass as regular bibs with nothing in the pockets. The logos are partially reflective and located inside the pockets, analogous to the women’s model. Therefore, you can only see them with the pockets empty.

Safety/visibility of the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts

Unlike the more affordable Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts, the Cargo Bib Shorts have five(!) reflectors. As with the women’s model, there are reflective logos in the leg pockets as well as a wide reflective strip above the butt. The men’s model also features small reflective tabs on the back of the leg pockets. We wonder why the women’s model doesn’t have these tabs and why the Core Cargo Bib Shorts have no reflectors at all…?
Surprise: even the straps have reflective elements in case you ever ride without a top or with an open jersey at night! The robust, water-repellent material should offer more protection in a crash than ordinary shorts – fortunately, we never had to find out ;).

With a regular top, you can only see the two reflective tabs from behind

Comfort of the Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts

As the women’s model, the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts initially seem unusual until you put them on. When you’ve got the right size, the fit is comfortable and elastic while providing a pleasantly supportive feeling. The back is closed almost all the way up to the shoulders, but thanks to the breathability of the material, this didn’t bother us even on hot days. That’s a good thing, seeing as the bibs are designed for mild to warm conditions.
The dual-density chamois is pleasantly soft, though without lacking in stability or sitting through. It dries overnight, making these shorts ideal for multi-day bikepacking trips.
Cited as a USP by Rapha and tested by us: the low-cut abdominal area for a quick excursion into the bushes works as advertised! (Addendum: it doesn’t let your paunch hang out either.)

The chamois of the 2023 Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts.

The quick-drying chamois is a cherry on the cargo bibs pie, making the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts ideal for multi-day bikepacking tours. They feel comfortable and supportive, offer plenty of storage space, and should even be capable of fending off small rain showers. The Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts are designed for long rides, but they also fare perfectly on quick post work rides.


  • many reflectors (why not always, Rapha?)
  • lots of storage capacity
  • comfortably supportive


  • inaccessibility of the back pockets while riding

For more info visit

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Which are the best cargo bibs of 2023 – 13 cargo bib shorts in review.

All cargo bib shorts in review: Café du Cycliste Chloe | Isadore Women’s Gravel Bib Shorts | Rapha Women’s Core Cargo Shorts | Rapha Women’s Cargo Bib Shorts | ROSE ROSE UNPAVED bib W II women’s gravel bib shorts | Café du Cycliste Helene | Café du Cycliste Virginie | Canyon Signature Pro Cargo Bibshort | Isadore Gravel Bib Shorts | MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bib | POC Rove Cargo Bib Shorts | Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts | Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts | Specialized Adventure Bib Shorts SWAT

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Words: Christoph Staudinger Photos: Peter Walker