Cervo Rosso's Corsa Mk3 bib shorts fulfil every requirement you could ask for. They fit very well; they're extremely comfortable, whether it's a short dash to work or an epic 100 mile ride; the fabric copes with sweat in this hot weather; and they look smart.
The most important part of any bib short is the padded insert, so that's where I'll start. Cervo Rosso decided to develop their own HG11 insert and odd name aside, it's a very good design. Like most top-end inserts, it has variable thicknesses of foam padding to balance comfort where it's needed and an anatomical fit so it shapes to the body.
There's sufficient padding in the sit bones area and along the central section that even on my longer rides I was not left with any soreness or discomfort. The pad also stayed dry even on some pretty sweaty rides. In terms of comfort these shorts easily match others in this price bracket.
Supporting the insert is a short made from Xtra Life Lycra. It's fairly stretchy and the various shaped panels ensure it clings to the skin with just the right degree of tension. The fabric wicks sweat away effectively too. According to the Lycra website, this fabric 'is the new standard in swimwear, delivering beautiful, long-lasting fit that counters the curse of 'bag and sag''. All qualities that I can confirm it delivers, albeit in a bib short.
A tougher wearing Easy Rider fabric is used in the undercarriage region. This is a fabric with a noticeably more durable feel and it is designed to withstand wear and tear in this high friction area. As well as helping to prevent wear, the fabric also increases the surface friction between the shorts and saddle, which reduces saddle slippage. It's not just a gimmick, it really works and made a noticeable difference.
Many manufacturers are moving away from narrow gripper tape-lined hems, and towards the wide elastic band that Cervo Rosso have used in these shorts. They comfortably keep the legs in place with just the right amount of pressure, and importantly they never slide up the legs. And you don't get left with a wavy/dotted imprint from the silicone gripper tape after a ride.
At £130 they're at the higher end of the price range, though you can certainly spend a lot more. There's a lot of competition in the £100-130 price bracket though, but they do tick all the boxes - comfort, fit, build quality, looks - I look for in bib shorts. You certainly won't be left disappointed if you choose these shorts.
Comfortable Italian made bib shorts that do everything well
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cervo Rosso Corsa Mk3 bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
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 says:
We've been told that it's near impossible to improve the standard and quality that CR bibshorts have quickly developed a reputation for. Adding to the STRADA MK2, STRADA S3 and the ever popular CORSA SR01 Thermal Bibshorts, we are delighted to introduce the all NEW CORSA MKIII.
The immediate notable differences include a stunning contrasting fabric in the middle section of the bibshorts that wraps around the external position of the inner pads. Apart from looking smart, there is a practical reason behind the edition of the 'Easy Rider' fabric. With a well textured surface, the Easy Rider insert is non abrasive to withstand high friction points and wear and tear. In addition the anti-abrasive properties provide a clever way to reduce saddle slide and unnecessary saddle movement.
We have maintained the ridden and rated propriety HG11 inserts which continue to set new standards in the industry for rider comfort and durability. Durable and elasticated leg rippers with silicone droplets are also maintained which serve the purpose very well of keeping our range of shorts in place at all times for the entire ride! Further subtle finishes that set the CORSA MKIII apart from our existing range include an all black finish which is an elegant combination with the full range of CR jerseys and accessories. Red trims on the braces are a nice signature detail unique to the CORSA MKIII.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3 Panel Lycra Construction
All Black Flat lock Stitching
NEW anti - abrasive Exterior Insert
Saddle Slide Resistent
HG11 Technology Insert
Signature Cervo Rosso leg grippers
Made in Italy
Nicely made bib shorts with an excellent insert.
Top-end performance, fit and comfort.
They've been through a dozen washing machine cycles and worn on many long hot rides and are still in perfect condition. That tougher material around the crotch area is standing up well
Their own insert proves adept at providing miles of comfort, and the wide bib straps and large elastic hems ensures the fit is very good
The price puts the shorts them in the same company as Castelli and Rapha. The Cervo Rosso stand up well against such rivals and offer the same high level of performance expected at this price, with a dash styling.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed over the rest period very well and met my high expectations for the brand.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The insert and the fit of the shorts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing springs to mind
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.