Skins are not the biggest brand in cycling apparel but have certainly helped start a trend with their compression wear for both on the bike and travel and recovery. The C400 Bib Shorts from Skins certainly impressed this summer but at £153 these bib longs seem to fall a little fall of the mark by Skins own very high standards.
The fabric, so Skins say, provides dynamic gradient compression; delivering more oxygen-filled blood to your core, as well as muscles. The compression feels nice and is definitely noticeable. Having used these on the MTB a few times the main benefit which is noticeable from the compression is the improved muscle wrapping which does helps reduce fatigue from vibration. That’s why triathletes and runners are so much more into compression wear than cyclists. As for performance enhancing blood delivery, I’ll stick to my Spanish steaks. Also the excessively stitchy design is noticeable to the touch on the leg and may well divide opinion on looks too.
Some of my favourite features of the Skins C400 range are missing in the bib longs; none more so than the chamois pad. The pad used here is certainly not offensive but doesn’t have the same shape and multi density foam that I found so comfortable in its summer time stablemate.
Fit and cut are good and thanks to Skins excellent attention to detail and there comprehensive sizing chart, finding the right pair is easy. Some may be disappointed to see a lack of ankle straps, which feature on the travel and recovery tights but the finishing is good here with no noticeable “dig in”. Construction is excellent as always from Skins.
At the £153 list price these were going have to be amazing performers to score highly on value for money. Even so a couple of perhaps dated features and design don’t help them either on that score, but the biggest drawback in terms of value for money is there usability. These have actually been very difficult to test, delivered in the summer they were too hot to use except for a couple of night rides in the woods. Then it wasn’t long through Autumn when you’ll switch to something thermal. That’s the big gripe on value - £153 for a garment that you may only get to use for a couple of months in Spring and a month in Autumn. They obviously aren’t designed for warmth but their lack of it makes them hard to use and who would wear longs in Summer when its finally warm enough to get your pasty white legs out?
Another very well made garment from Skins offering good muscle wrapping and a fit but slightly let down by a mediocre pad. However, these tights just struggle to make it out of the cupboard. Too warm for summer and only suitable for those cool but balmy Spring and Autumn rides. Perhaps we will see a revamped C400 version in 2011.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Skins Cycle Pro men's bib longs
Size tested: M
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?
Skins don't really say exactly what these are for but given the price these are certainly performance orientated. Some good training benefits from the compression but unlikely you will be racing in these except for early season
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Pro C My best bike is: Canyon \"Grand Canyon\" Ergon24 team issue
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, mtb,