At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
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
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
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.
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,
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.