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Caratti's Treviso bib shorts sit right at the top of their range and boast high quality fabrics, a top-notch Italian pad and some nice detailing. Ultimately, though, the comfort levels were a bit below what I expected from a premium pair of shorts.
The Treviso bibs are largely made from 'Power Lycra', with a higher compression than most. That means they feel snug when you pull them on, to the extent that you may want to size up one from normal; they are Italian, after all. I'm normally a Large these days but still an XL in Castelli bibs, and the fit on these XL Caratti bibs is similar to that.
The seat of the shorts is a less compressive but more abrasion-resistant weave, and the bibs themselves are perforated to give a lighter feel. The leg grippers are a woven strip, with additional silicone dots to keep everything in place.
There's a radio pocket at the back, big Caratti logos down each leg, reflective tabs on the back and a neat little 'Made in Italy' flag. They're well put together and they've lasted multiple washes and a good number of rides with no obvious wear. The rubberised logos are the kind that sometimes like to peel, but there's no sign of them making a break for it just yet.
The pad is an Elastic Interface Comp HP, the same as we very much admired in the Dhb Goldline bibs. It's a very comfy endurance pad, and kept me happy on all the rides that these shorts accompanied me on. The pad density was just right and the central channel did seem to do a job of relieving pressure. The thin outer area of the pad is quite large compared to some, but I didn't really notice it was either better or worse for it.
Some of the internal seams are flatlocked, and some aren't. One that isn't runs down the inside of each leg from pad to gripper, and I had some issues with it rubbing and causing minor irritation on longer rides. Checking the kit drawer, most of the shorts I find most comfortable don't have this seam at all. I had a similar but less serious problem with the seams around the back of the bibs where the seat meets the bib straps.
They weren't major issues, and I completed some long rides in these shorts in reasonable comfort, but little niggles make it harder to justify the outlay: at £120 these aren't cheap bibs, and the aforementioned Dhb Goldline, which use the same pad, are some £40 less. The Treviso didn't make it to the top of the short pile for longer rides; for shorter blasts and crit racing I wore them a good deal with no problems.
Well-made bibs with quality materials throughout; some minor comfort issues though
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Make and model: Caratti Treviso Bib Shorts
Size tested: XL
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?
Caratti say: "Caratti Treviso Bib Shorts are the premium of the short range, using some of the most premium designers and fabrics to produce a superior cut, fit and performance.
"As passionate, experienced cyclists, the Caratti team know how importance of a high quality chamois as well as its positioning. This is why we have teamed up with to one of the the leading producers of high quality chamois. This ensures a superior chamois quality and positioning of the chamois used in the Treviso Bib Short.
"Based in Veneto, near to where the Caratti brand originated, Elastic Interface produce a wide range of hi-tech cycling pads. Their mission is 'to better the performance of all cyclists, men and women, by engineering and creating high quality cycling pads that improve comfort on all points of interface with the bicycle'."
Elastic Interface Comp HP Chamois.
The Comp HP one of Elastic Interface most successful cycling pads. The chamois has premolded wings and an integrated top for a smooth, seamless look. While the overall dimensions are almost the same, the ultra high density foam inserts have been enlarged in order to deliver a greater degree of comfort during longer rides while in the road bike position. While keeping the minimalist, flat design of the original pad, the central channel has been slightly modified to provide more relief along the perineal area. A reduced usage of the back liner makes the pad even more lightweight and breathable, allowing greater freedom of movement.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% made in Italy.
The Caratti Treviso bibshort has an anatomic race cut, designed and produced by one of the top specialists in the Industry.
The main panels are made with 'power lycra' which provides muscle compression for improved performance and fit.
Abrasion resistant fabrics are used in the crotch panels to protect again friction and wear on esential contact areas.
The upper bib section is made from a breathable and functional mesh with a rear (radio) pocket.
Assembled with flatlock stitching to prevent seams from rubbing and compromising comfort.
Finished off with a 4.5cm elasticaled cuff that features silicone stripe gripper and high-vis reflective tab inserts on the back of the leg to aid visibility.
Very well put together pair of shorts, made from quality materials.
They're comfortable to wear and made to last, but they didn't become my go-to shorts during testing.
Very nicely made, no obvious wear in spite of plenty of miles.
Good weight Lycra for UK conditions.
Decent, but not as comfortable as some pairs in the drawer. The gusset seam isn't flat locked, which caused some minor irritation, as did the seams around the radio pocket.
Well made from good materials but performance isn't stellar.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, but I'd really like a bit more from £120 shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great quality materials and construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as comfy as some I've used.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were good, but not really £120 good.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not
Use this box to explain your score
Construction and fit are good, but they get marked down on comfort a bit, and they're not great value. They're certainly not bad shorts, but I want a bit more from a premium product.
Age: 42 Height: 189cm Weight: 91kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track