The Cervo Rosso Corsa SR01 Winter Bibs are well made and they're surprisingly versatile too.
I've been using these quite a bit lately because the weather has been... what's the word?... crap. Obviously, when the temperature is 20°C you don't want to be getting all sweaty in winter shorts, but on morning and evening rides lately it's occasionally been in the low-teens and these have felt about right.
I must say, the whole idea of winter shorts has always been an oxymoron to me. I mean, life's hard enough for a cyclist in cold weather; why add to your troubles by riding in shorts? But these have won me over... well, to an extent.
Okay, let's start at the beginning. These are made in Italy from super roubaix fabric (80% polyester, 20% elastane) with side panels of Thermodream which offers a similar level of warmth while being a touch tougher.
The bib section is super roubaix right up to your mid-back with just the sections that go over your shoulders being mesh. You get strong grippers at the ends of the legs with silicone dots inside that hold them in place either against your skin or over leg warmers.
There's a small pocket in the back that's not especially accessible underneath your jersey but it's handy for carrying something you might need in an emergency, like your mobile phone. The reflective trim around the top of the pocket isn't practical because it's completely hidden in use, but more on the sides and back of the legs adds visibility at night.
The seatpad is really comfortable. It comprises two layers of open cell foam in different densities, the combined depth being a generous 12mm. There's a good amount of stretch in the pad and a central channel allows the two sides to move independently. The top fabric is super-soft even many washes down the line and it moves moisture well.
Cervo Rosso say that they've included silver ions in the pad 'to reduce the formation of micro-organisms and the build up of bacteria.' I'm never sure how much difference that makes – it's kind of difficult to tell – but maybe it's a useful feature. Anyway, the main thing is that the seatpad provides plenty of cushioning without too much bulk.
So when should you use these? Well, shorts like this are especially useful for spring and autumn when you might team them up with some leg warmers that you can whip off mid-ride if necessary. Or, in the winter, you just keep your warmers on. What's the benefit over just going for full tights when it's cold? Not a lot, although it looks a bit more pro if that's something you aspire to. Oh, and loads of people use thermal shorts for cyclocross racing, of course.
More cold-blooded types might find a use for them year-round, though. These arrived in the Road.cc office in June – yes, winter shorts in June – and I've done some early morning and late evening rides in these when it has been about 13°C or so. You don't really want to think about having to stay warm at this time of year but the reality is that I've been glad to have something that'll just take the edge off the temperature. If you tend to run warm you probably won't want to use them in this way, but if you find yourself feeling cold even in the summer then maybe you will.
Versatile super roubaix shorts built for winter but handy for early morning/late evening rides in the summer too.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cervo Rosso Corsa SR01 Winter bibs
Size tested: Large
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?
Cervo Rosso say, "The NEW CR CORSA collection represents a pinnacle in quality, design and comfort. Maintaining the renowned reputation of the STRADA collection, the NEW CORSA range is for the cycling athlete who demands the very best and will not compromise technical function and form.
"The NEW CORSA SR01 Winter Bibshorts are made from Super Roubaix fabric (80% Polyester / 20% Elastan). Our choice in Super Roubaix for the SR01 is due to the soft microfibers and high breathability of the fabric that ensures accumulated moisture is drawn away quickly and efficiently. Super Roubaix is renowned for its body temperature regulating properties in cooler conditions in addition to its highly elastic properties. These bib shorts are designed to remain in the right place and shape in extreme conditions, perfect for winter riding.
"Complementing the Super Roubaix body of the CORSA SR01 bib shorts, is a completely covered front and rear section of the braces. This ensures body warmth is locked in place preventing wind draft entering the front and rear mid zones. The side panels of the CORSA SR01 see the introduction of a second winter fabric, Thermodream by MITI that provides not only a stunning contrast to the all black Super Roubaix, but is a robust fabric that will ensure longevity in high stress zones.
"Complete with NEW and enhanced signature silicone leg grippers, rear accessory pouch and 'Born in Switzerland / Made in Italy, "
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cervo Rosso say this about the seatpad, "New to Season 2012, the revolutionary HG11 padded insert continues to redefine rider comfort further extends the highly successful HG07 pads included in the well reviewed STRADA MK2, TOUR and TEAM bib shorts.
"Maintaining the same 'Y' style anatomical form and seamless technology, the HG11 Cervo Rosso pad is designed to adapt to the riders seated position in motion. The geometry of the HG11 is designed to eliminate skin rash and irritation during every pedal stroke and ensures maximum contact between pad and skin to avoid unnecessary movement and friction between the the skins surface and the top layer of the pad. These key features were introduced in the original HG07, resulting in it's rapid success and comfort and will be maintained in the NEW HG11."
They're not cheap but, on the other hand, Rapha's Thermal Bib shorts /content/review/51571-rapha-pro-team-thermal-bib-shorts are £160
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They do their job well, it's just a question of whether you need something that does this particular job. To many people 'winter' and 'shorts' are two words that just don't go together.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's an excellent pad and the leg grippers are really effective too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Not sure. I tend to cover up more when the temperature drops.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: 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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.