Rapha Technical Trousers [Review]

History recounts numerous colossal errors by individuals: Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in winter, the Captain of the Titanic’s hubris and David Beckham’s 2003 haircut. While not of quite the same magnitude as these men, I must add my name to this list.

Let me tell you why…

At my last job, I finished at half past the hour and the train I needed to be on pulled out of the station at 53 past the hour. The station was 6.55 miles away.

Being both stubbornly competitive and desperate to get home as quickly as possible, I had to work out the optimal solution to make it to the station on time.

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Changing into Lycra was both stylistically and functionally not an option as it would take too long to get ready. Instead I had to cycle the distance in my work clothes.

I don’t want to talk about the effects of averaging 17.25 mph in a body and a set of clothes that really shouldn’t move at that pace but suffice it to say, no one wanted to sit near me on the train and there was much remonstration and wincing when standing up the next day.

What I needed were a set of work trousers that I could cycle in without sanding or cooking my undercarriage.

“A pair of hard-wearing trousers for riding around town, commuting and travelling”

In an attempt to alleviate my suffering, Rapha sent us their Men’s Technical trousers which they describe as “a pair of hard-wearing trousers for riding around town, commuting and travelling”. They come in a variety of colours and weigh in at £110.

Rapha Technical Trousers come in 4 different colour options

They look a lot like a normal pair of smart work trousers. According to my sister who is far more sartorially astute than me, they look better when ‘dressed up’ than ‘dressed down’. I think by this she means it looks better with a shirt than it does with a t-shirt. Suitable then for the vast majority of workplaces.

However, when one puts them on and gets on a bike, many of Rapha’s clever features become apparent.

Rapha Commuter Trouser Features

The fabric used is very conducive to riding in, a far cry from the Procrustean bed my usual pair of smart trousers turn into during a ride. It’s stretchy enough for the full range of pedalling motion, but it is breathable too.

When tested on a reasonably warm day (akin to THAT day), my bottom half was kept cool. One of the main factors for this breathability is the lightweight construction, it weighs in at only 336g, and packs down small with the bulk and mass of a coke can (the SI unit for this type of calculation).

The cut is relaxed enough to allow easy cycling and the designers have lifted the back, lest those cyclists you overtake see more than they bargained for. The seams inside are also offset so as not to chafe.

One thing I would perhaps want Rapha to consider is the addition of a reinforced gusset, by which I mean an extra panel where bum meets saddle. This would make the crotch area slightly more durable and perhaps offer an extra layer of protection. However, all in all it was a comfortable riding experience, even at 17.25 mph.

Reflective Detailing

In the eyes of my mother, the proof of any piece of cycling equipment is in its visibility. For trousers, these have a good tally of conspicuous features. The inside seams of the legs are bright pink, and there is a large reflective Rapha logo on the inside. There is also a hi-vis tab on the buttoned pocket which enables other road users to locate your left buttock from a considerable distance. So enough to not simply placate my mother, but for her to actively endorse this cyclewear.

Cycling Trouser Pockets

I can state, almost unequivocally, that the greatest benefit of being a man is that my trousers have pockets. There has been many a potentially great garment which has been rendered ineffective due to its lack of pockets.

Thankfully, Rapha have not only adorned these trousers with a number of pockets, but they also all have closing mechanisms: the front two are zipped and the back has one zipped and one buttoned.

Not stopping here, the designers have also made these pockets deep enough so you can put your phone and wallets in them and not be abruptly reminded of their presence each pedal stroke.

While the whole gamut of pocket attributes might seem to be standard, I can assure you that amongst trousers able to be cycled in, this is almost unique. Chapeau Rapha.

In-Summary: Rapha Men’s Technical Trousers Review

In conclusion, these trousers make the 6.55-mile ride and subsequent train journey home a far more pleasant prospect. They are breathable, ergonomic and visible. Although they cost more than an ordinary pair of trousers, I value the integrity of my undercarriage sufficiently to pay the difference.

The Rapha Technical Trousers are available to buy directly from Rapha for £110.

More Rapha Reviews:

Rohan Joseph

Rapha Technical Trousers

£110
7.8

Fit

9.0/10

Function

8.0/10

Style

8.0/10

Value

6.0/10

Quality

8.0/10

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Visible

Cons

  • No gusset

Rohan Joseph

Rohan is Discerning Cyclist's chief reviewer. Most of his exploits on a bike involve hurtling across London's streets to either his lectures or church. He also enjoys labouring up inclines in an attempt to feel athletic and has recently joined the minimalists in riding a fixie (of his own creation). As a firm believer that a small exertion justifies a large meal, he passionately extols the virtues of a post-ride pizza to anyone who will listen.

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