Craft's base model shorts, the Active Bike bibs are well-made and comfortable, and fortunately you can get them in colour schemes other than this lairy electric blue.
If you had to list the features and level of quality you'd expect from £55 bib shorts, Craft's Active bibs are exactly what you'd expect: tidy, flat-locked stitch construction; mesh bibs; silicone leg grippers; and a nicely-shaped but simple pad.
That feature set adds up to shorts that are comfortable for a couple or three hours of riding, but don't quite cosset your bum enough for longer rides. I found that if I wore them for full days out I wasn't as comfortable at the end as if I'd been wearing my favourite Gore Bike Wear shorts - but the Gores are twice the price.
I think there are two reasons why the Crafts don't perform quite as well for the long haul. The fabric is a fairly light and very stretchy 80:20 Nylon/Lycra mix that's not quite as firm and compressive as that used for more expensive shorts. The pad is a simple one-piece number with variable-thickness foam and a surface that's not quite as forgiving against the skin as spendier pads.
Don't get me wrong; these are not at all bad shorts. The lighter fabric means they're cool on hot days, and they're perfectly comfortable, as long as you don't expect to sit on the saddle for five hours at a time in them. The wide, lightly siliconed leg bands are particularly good, avoiding that feeling of strangled thighs you can get from some grippers.
Sizing is generous. I vary between an L and an XL, and could probably have got away with L rather than these XL samples. If you're used to Italian sizing, you will definitely want to go down at least one size.
It might be just me, but I found the fit a little loose around the crotch. They're fine from waist to shoulders and around the body, but there was a little too much fabric around my genitals. Maybe I just need more tension to keep my massive equipment under control (yes, that'll be it - ed).
Good quality for the money, and the blue isn't compulsory
road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Active bike Logo bibs
Size tested: XL, Flame
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Silicone Print on Bottom of legs
Craft active pad
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Craft Active Pad
The active pad is designed to suit all kinds of riders and make every ride a comfortable experience. It's a seamless, laser cut, antimicrobial and gender specific pad made of certified fabrics and foams of the highest quality. The active pad provides the right support for cycling movement thanks to 4-way stretch fabrics and an anatomic sitting area.
Tidy stitching, no loose threads.
Comfortable for medium-length rides; pretty much what you'd expect for the money
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They're bright BLUE! But then, I have no taste.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Feeling like the tackle wasn't quite under control.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were okay
Would you consider buying the product? No - I'd spend a bit more for better quality
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes if their budget and ride aspiration fitted
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Firmer fabric, a better pad or a lower price might pull these up to 8, but they're exactly what you'd expect from decent £55 bib shorts, so they score a 7 overall.
About the tester
Age: 48 Height: 5ft 11in Weight: 85kg
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.