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Vermarc Nationals SPL Bib Shorts Italian



Great fit and pad performance, if you can carry off the colour

At 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.

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If you're looking for an unassuming pair of bib shorts that will go with a number of different jerseys, the Vermarc Nationals SPL in Italian colours are probably not going to be high on your list. They are, though, very individual and an opportunity to show your passion for your country – as long as that country is Italy (as tested here), Britain or Belgium. The additional Vermarc branding is subtle and doesn't dominate.

The Italian-made LD (Long Distance) pad felt slightly wooden at first, with little give and a fair amount of material towards the inner thigh. But the shorts are very comfortable once you're sat on the saddle, and the extended thigh area padding comes into its own. The pad incorporates aloe vera in its construction, which Vermarc claim to be the first of its kind, with the idea that aloe's healing properties can come into effect if needed. I can't confirm whether this works or not, not having had to draw on its medicinal benefits while testing, but the pad did feel comfortable over long distances, with the waffle-textured expanded foam staying in place well and no numb areas.

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The bib, like the rest of the shorts, is well ventilated, with the straps made from mesh to keep you cool in hot temperatures. The straps are wide enough to give ample support and don't lose form or dig in the way some lightweight mesh straps have in my experience.

The main shorts section is constructed with a number of panels, with fabric chosen to suit the different locations. I experienced no bagginess or wrinkling, so Vermarc have got this selection right, and the cut feels appropriate for the shorts' intended use as an item of race clothing. Flatlock stitching helps keep the cut true, and the 4.5cm elastic leg bands really push the 'pro' feel, with the left leg brandishing the tricolore of red, white and green.

Back to the first point I made about these shorts, though, and that's the colour. I tested these with the matching jersey. They didn't go with anything else in my over-stuffed cycle clothing drawer, so the matching jersey always went on at the same time. This led to much guffawing from club mates and questions as to how my mate Vincenzo was going to do at this year's Tour. I've got a thick skin, but the full Italian national blue with flag accents may not be to the taste of some, and you might prefer to go British. Or Belgian.


Great fit and pad performance, if you can carry off the colour

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Make and model: Vermarc Nationals Italian 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?

Shorts for long summer rides. The pad is well suited to distance riding, despite an odd initial feeling when first putting them on.

* Standard fit

* Long Distance shammy Pad with antibacterial treatment

* Mesh Bibs

* Silicone grippers keep the shorts in place.

* Flatlock seams to avoid friction and irritation to the skin

* Breathable fabric helps you keep cool.

* 100% Made in Italy

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Vermeer say: "Super compact mesh inserts with carbon fibers to keep the bib firm in the right anatomic position for a long ride and quick drying Inner leg made with a spandex-poliammide high tenacity 200gr/m� embossed fabric, anti-abrasion, anti-slip on the saddle, Flatlock stitches to avoid friction and irritation to the skin."

"Long distance shammy (LD pad) utilizes a special Nylon microfiber that incorporates Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera is permanently incorporated into the material so that the benefits will not wash out or fade over time. The integrated Aloe Vera cools, protects and even heals the skin while the rider is in the saddle. In addition, Aloe Vera is a natural defence against bacteria."

"Below this outermost layer is a thick expanded memory foam with a waffled texture. The divots create the texture, aid in ventilation and perspiration management so that the pad does not retain moisture. A prostate relief cut-out in the centre and independent panels allow maximum comfort and movement with the body in motion."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Better than first impressions had given.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Quite a light pair of shorts, especially for having a long distance pad.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Quite expensive at nearly £100, though most of that cost will be for the pad.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Great for summer use; fabric is thin so there's not much protection from usual British weather conditions.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The pad, once I got sat on the saddle, and the fit for a light summer pair of shorts.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The colour. I just couldn't bring myself to use them with any other jersey apart from the matching Vermarc Nationals, which then made me look like I'd gone a bit too full-on.

Did you enjoy using the product? Comfort and performance - yes; appearance - not so much

Would you consider buying the product? Not in the Italian colour, but the other colour offerings are somewhat more neutral

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No, but I'd recommend the pad

Use this box to explain your score

The fit and pad of these shorts is great, but that colour scheme felt all wrong given the fact I'm as un-Italian as a Yorkshire pudding filled with chicken tikka.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 183  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T  My best bike is: Cervelo S2

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,


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