Say nothing else, Rapha certainly is polarizing. I admit I find their "we're too cool to have fun" aesthetic a little dry... But I like it otherwise.
To that end, I've got a whole slew of Rapha gear: softshell, tights, 3/4 bibs, regular bibs, three different jerseys, baselayers, hats, armwarmers, gilet, etc (yeah I'm a bit of a whore). I like wool and dig the aesthetic of it and I will say that though most
of it is made in China (newsflash: it isn't all made in China and many of the pieces come from other places, the chamois are all from Italy as is much of the raw material for their bibs and deep winter tights) it is much tougher than some of the other kit I have.
Descente kit from two years ago? See through, chamois blown. Primal "top of the line" Club Kit I got last summer: the bibs were toast after 2000 miles. Castelli kit I wore when I was 25 and climber light? The bibs have actually held up, but the chamois is dead dead dead.
You definitely pay a premium for it, though I think you can easily spend more on Assos. It really just comes down to taste, at some point you just have to let people like what they like. I, for one, can't stand the look of Capo, Castelli, Assos, etc. My buddies call it "pseudo retro grouch". That's fine. I'm not going to give you shit for liking it.
I wash my Rapha shit all the time, wear it in the worst conditions (blizzard, etc), I've wrecked in it, and it's held up fine. Bibs are the only things I ever chew through anyway. If I can get 2 seasons out of a pair of $220-260 bibs then I'm happy.
I thought JVA was pretty much spot on with their spoof
and I still like Rapha, so whatever.
FWIW, the 3/4 knickers are perfect for anything from 30-45 (warmer and I go with knee warmers or nothing, colder and I don the deep winter tights).