Back in March we brought you news of the 2015 Adistar range from German sporting giant Adidas. Having previously brought one of the lightest jerseys ever seen to market, in 2015 Adidas spotted that it's All About Aero, and its range for the year has been heavily focused on this area.
If you had £120 in your pocket and new bib shorts on your mind, it's likely that Adidas wouldn't be the first brand you'd think of. Whether you grew up in the 70s, 80s or 90s you probably wore Adidas trainers in your formative years and, if you're anything like me, the memory of those shoes somehow clashes with the notion of Adidas being a cycling brand you aspire to.
Its cause isn't helped, it must be said, by some of the gear we've had in for test in recent years. I liked the crazy-light Adizero jersey, despite the uninspired styling, but the Supernova bibs and jersey left other reviewers distinctly unimpressed. These Adistar bibs, though, are excellent, and ones to consider even at this elevated price point.
Adidas has used an Italian fabric called Carvico Revolutional Energy to give a compression effect, which is claimed to reduce microvibrations and delay the onset of fatigue. One of those claims that sounds good, if hard to substantiate. But it's a comfortable, light and elastic fabric, thanks to the 29 per cent elastane content. The fit is excellent, too; Adidas has made real progress in this area. A good, close fit is a must for aerodynamic apparel, not to mention helping with comfort too.
The pad is an Elastic Interface from Italian giant Cytech, the Comp HP model. In bike terminology, 'Comp' sounds fairly low end, perhaps what you'd go for if you can't afford the 'team', 'elite' or 'pro' version of something, but this isn't a budget pad, it's the same one that we liked in the excellent Dhb Goldline bibs as well as the Caratti Treviso. It's made in varying thickness, up to 11mm, and using four different densities of foam. Cytech reckons it's good for rides of six hours or so and I certainly found it very comfortable on long or short rides.
Having a decent pad is one thing, but there several other areas that need to be done right for a truly comfortable pair of bib shorts. Straps are a particular focus for me – I like them wide and as lightweight as possible. The straps here tick both boxes and more – instead of seams, the edges are bonded, so there's no stitching at all to irritate the skin. They are just about perfect, I reckon.
At the other end, Adidas has followed current trends and ditched the gummy silicone gripper strip (as used on last year's model), replacing it with really wide, really white bands. They have a slightly rubberised finish on the inside, which does an excellent job of keeping them in place, while also being a lot more comfortable if you have hairy legs like me.
They have a raw cut end and sit very smoothly against the thighs – this is clearly an area where the vaunted aero approach was focused. The good fit around the hips helps here too, with a minimum of bunching if you choose the right size. (And if you want to go the whole hog with the outfit, have a look at the review of the Adistar cd.zero3 jersey here – if you have a small enough waist…)
We've noted before the German sizing employed by Adidas is very different to typical Italian sizing. I'm a medium in these, and (unlike some other brands where I can also get into a medium) the legs aren't too short on me. Adidas has only made these in men's sizing, but they also released a women-specific sleeveless bodysuit in the 2015 adistar range, which seems quite good value by comparison; it's a notably more complicated garment and £20 cheaper.
A couple of minor details to finish with. I was initially confused by the orange tag on the back, which I (and most people, I suspect) had associated so closely with Dhb bibs as to have imagined that it was actually its trademark. Wrong. It's an Elastic Interface logo (as it is on Dhb bibs).
Lastly, there are no reflectives at all on these. At this price point you could argue that they're not really intended as winter commuting wear, but in my ideal world, everything short of a skinsuit would have some sort of subtle reflectives on it.
Very impressive aero-influenced bibs with great fit and excellent all-day comfort – a big step forward for Adidas
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Adidas Adistar cd.zero3 bib shorts
Size tested: Medium, Black/White
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?
Adidas says: "Races are won with endurance, speed and strategy. The aerodynamic FORMOTION® design of these men's cycling shorts forms to your riding position to help take you over the finish line. Carvico® compression fabric and a pre-shaped pad offer comfort for over six hours in the saddle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FORMOTION® follows the natural movement of sport for a better fit and greater comfort in motion
Open front; Racer back; Strategically placed seams for reduced wind resistance
Four-density, pre-formed men's-specific Comp HP seat pad made with Elastic Interface® Carbonium microfibre provides up to six hours of comfortable riding
Trailing edge hems for aerodynamic speed; Carvico Revolutional™ Energy fabric for high-quality compression and reduced micro-vibrations; Reflective details
71% nylon / 29% elastane tricot
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. These are as good as similarly priced bibs from some other big cycling brands.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All of the key areas are pretty much spot on, contributing to an excellent overall level of comfort. The straps, in particular, might be my favourite yet.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a lot.
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: 37 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Commuter - something with disc brakes, drop bars and a rack My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.