Speaking of fleece, there’s also a little more included on the edges of the bib section, while the straps themselves are a touch thicker than the previous generation. It means comfort over the shoulders is excellent, while the back section offers slightly more insulation. I rode the Thermal IIs in close to zero degrees with some leg warmers, and never felt too cold, and I’ll probably stick with them until temperatures start reaching the mid-teens.
Finally, there is also a race radio pouch in the back of the bib section, as well as lightly reflective white Rapha branding on the left leg. You won’t get this on the all-black version, while the pink and ‘chartreuse’ colourways (all with matching colour bib sections, by the way) are naturally high visibility anyway. The black branding on the right leg of our test shorts isn’t reflective, which is a bit of a shame.
Some riders love the versatility offered by thermal bib shorts, others don’t see the point, but if you’re in the first camp then you’ll find plenty to like here. Once again, the price tag is a hefty £195, but you do get strong performance across the board.
In fact, aside from the new textured grippers (I slightly prefer the previous versions, especially when using them with knee and leg warmers, but that’s a personal preference), the Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts II are an improvement in some way in almost every area.
Of particular note is the overall comfort, afforded by a modified Cytech chamois and the water resistant panels, as well as the rethought seam placement and fleece lining. That all comes together to create a great set of winter bib shorts.
- Excellent chamois
- Water resistant panels
- Comfortable fit
- Softer leg fabric can snag