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I get excited when I find an attractive pair of pants with real, functional pockets. That excitement extends to Rapha’s Core Cargo Shorts. With a deep mesh pocket on each leg, these shorts securely hold virtually everything you’d normally put in your jersey pockets.
I’ve used the cargo pockets on short rides in lieu of having weight on my back and on long rides when I want room for extra snacks and gear. They even worked great mountain biking—securely holding everything from my phone and hand pump to my house keys on rough singletrack.
The Core fit is focused on long rides, comfort, and durability at a more affordable price than most other Rapha offerings. The fit is less compressive than their more racing-oriented Pro fit and utilizes a plusher chamois.
The shorts themselves are a thicker fabric which is great for durability, but definitely feels a bit warmer during summer temps. The inseams are on the longer side (which plays into how much pocket room the shorts have). The leg band has silicone grippers but is soft and non-restrictive.
Rapha describes the waist as low-cut, which is certainly not how I would describe it. Perhaps it’s related to my own proportions, but the front came to just above my belly button, so depending on your build, mid- to high-rise seems more accurate.
The back has even more coverage. While I think Rapha’s description is off, I don’t have any critique of the fit, especially given that one of the things these shorts are supposed to do is eliminate the need of a traditional cycling jersey. The higher waist meant I didn’t experience awkward gapping with a looser, more casual top.
While you may not always want to ride without a pocketed jersey, it’s nice to have the option to just throw on a simple tech tee or t-shirt without resorting to packs or frame bags to carry your essentials. It’s equally nice to have extra cargo space for long days when you need to fill every pocket you can find. In all, I stand by my mantra: Long live real pockets!