Shorts & 3/4s
Thor Hushovd and co on the Garmin-Cervlo team are currently wearing Castelli's Body Paint bib shorts in the Tour de France, so I was expecting them to be nothing short of superb on test. And they are. These Body Paint shorts really do deliver, in all aspects of their design and function. Enough to justify that eye-watering price tag? Well...
Sugoi's Evolution bibshorts are at the lower end of their performance orientated range but the quality and ergonomics belie the price tag.
The eight panels are stitched together using flat seams providing a close contoured fit. The 'Evoplus' material made up of 68% Polyamide (Nylon), 18% Polyester and 14% Elastane (Spandex) feels soft to the touch but also has a solid, close knit feel to it minimizing stretch.
dhb offer some incredibly good-value clothing and while £75 on a pair of bib shorts might not seem to be the bargain of the year, for the quality you get here it really is a great deal.
These are made from Fieldsensor fabric (69% nylon, 16% polyester, 15% elastane) with a slightly raised inner surface that helps shift moisture outwards to keep you feeling comfortable. It's a middling weight fabric that provides good support while the well-cut 10-panel construction makes for an excellent fit.
BBB's Ultratech bib shorts could easily go unnoticed in our world of snazzy design and slick promotion. Professional in the literal sense, they deliver the goods all day long without fuss or fanfare and I would recommend them for all categories of road and Audax riding from time trials and cyclo cross through to endurance events. Flat seams, twelve-panel construction, silicone leg grippers and the laughably understated 'Premium Performance Padding' is the stuff of boutique brands twice the price.
Northwave's Evolution bib-shorts are a technical and race ready accompaniment to the Evolution jersey we tested recently and together they form a really comfortable and high performance outfit suitable for long mountain days or short races alike... or indeeed just a good day out on the bike.
If you've not heard of Sumattory before, that's probably because the Spanish brand is a recent arrival on the cycle clothing stage. The Hermida Signature Series is named after 2010 world champion mountain biker Jose Antonio Hermida, although there's not a massive difference between a lot of cross-country MTB clothing and road wear.
The Greta Capri from Sugoi is a godsend for tourists, commuters, recreational riders or anyone who just wants to avoid looking too much like a cyclist. For many cyclists a pair of trousers or capris in the wardrobe is a very handy thing indeed, bridging, as it does, the gap between casual street wear and practical on bike performance. The key however, is finding a pair that look relaxed enough, but also take into account the needs of the rider, be they sporty or otherwise.
Solo's Lugged Bib shorts have some high-quality features although they're among the more expensive options out there.
The Solo shorts are called Lugged because they look lugged. Kind of. The boundary between the bib section and the lowers has swoops and points like the lugs on an old-style frame. It's not the most obvious feature, admittedly. I'm pretty indifferent to that aspect of the design, but you might like it.
The Madison Shield Protec Men's Roubaix Bib 3/4 is a good value option for your legs until the sun really breaks through. The mid-weight Roubaix fabric is just right for spring and autumn riding or cooler summer days and they're comfy and well made for the money. Just be careful of the sizing.
Rapha's Pro Team bib shorts are very, very good shorts that put in a strong performance across the board... although the price tag might be enough to make you yelp.
Where shall I start? How about the seat pad, on the basis that if the pad is no good, you might as well not bother with the rest. Thankfully, Rapha use a top-end endurance pad from Cytech, chamois builders to the stars.