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Isadore's Bib Shorts feature classic styling and a great pad with some useful fabric technology, but I didn't find the gripper particularly comfortable, and they're a bit warm for hotter days.
At an RRP of €129 (currently converting to around £100), these shorts hit the middle of the market in terms of cost, and so I picked them up with this in mind, looking for a decent balance of technology and functionality, as well as the all-day-miles capability boasted on the Isadore bumpf. I have to say, they do deliver on that front.
Chiefly, the reason for this is the TMF chamois. According to Isadore, this "revolutionary chamois replaces multi-layer foams with Airmesh", a "100 per cent recyclable" fabric. The effect, says Isadore, is to make it the "world's first totally ecological chamois".
Whatever the marketing/science, it certainly works. This pad is right up there with some of the best for support and cushioning, and the lack of bulk is definitely noticeable (or rather, unnoticeable). I was comfortable in these shorts all day, on rides topping 60-70 miles, and couldn't imagine them suddenly causing discomfort soon after that.
The body of the shorts is made from Lycra treated with Coldblack technology, which is designed to help stop black fabrics absorbing too much heat from the sun. It's good technology, though on warmer days I did begin to feel hotter in them than I do with other, thinner, shorts on the market. This is probably because, alongside the Coldblack technology, Isadore has designed its shorts with a seemingly slightly higher-gauge matt-black Lycra fabric than you tend to find in summer bibs.
The result of this on the road, on warm days, feels like a lack of ventilation, causing your whole body temperature to rise. While not a disaster, it does mean that on the hottest days – we're talking 25 degrees and higher here – you may want to go with a lighter, thinner fabric design. That said, the quality of the fabric is great, comfortable and hard wearing. And the flip side is that they offer some extra warmth on cooler spring and autumn days, and on cold morning starts when you can team them up with leg warmers until it's warmed up.
The bib shorts are held together by seams that are visible externally. Instead of making the shorts look cheap, Isadore has used this as a design feature, giving them a more classical look than your normal high-performance fare. I was initially worried they might cause chafing, but thankfully my fears were unfounded due to their strategic placement, and they went completely unnoticed after a short while.
Up top, the bib straps are well designed, giving plenty of support without cutting into the shoulders, and surviving 40°C washes despite the recommended 30°C instructions. The rear bib section is made of a black mesh material, which could be another source of the extra body temperature I felt when riding on hot days – so if you're going for summer-only bibs, you might be better served looking for a design with cutaway sections for maximum cooling.
Down on the legs, Isadore has gone with branded grippers to hold the shorts in place. Although these don't rub, and they perform well at holding the shorts in place, I was always aware of the band while riding. It has the effect of compressing that one specific area of the shorts, rather than the whole leg, and as a result feels strange if you prefer a more seamless-style grip system with the benefits of a graduated compression.
Overall, these are a very nice pair of bib shorts, capable of catering for a variety of temperatures, excluding the hottest days, and for the price you get a lot of bib for your money. Just be sure that the styling and grippers are what you're after.
A strong performer all round, just falling short in some areas for a summer bib
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Isadore Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Isidore says: "Matt black type of Lycra is very soft, stretchy, pleasant on skin and makes sure of superior fit. Second lycra material is highly durable and resistant against scratches and is strategically positioned in the most exposed places where the shorts meets the saddle. We gave both of our fabrics ColdBlack® treatment. Fabrics with this treatment are 9°C cooler than non-treated black fabrics, and measure just as cool as a light-coloured material."
"Decorated with subtle silicone Isadore logo on both sides."
"Features TMF® chamois from Italy, This revolutionary chamois replaces multi-layer foams with Airmesh, 100% recyclable material, making it the world's first totally ecological chamois. Another example how we keeping promises to our manifesto. Ideally thick and wide yet not bulky. Constructed with 4D technology, totally seamless, pre shaping, 4 multi structured levels optimizing shock and impact absorption"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Isadore bib shorts are made from two types of Power Lycra® made in Italy - (70% Polyamide / 30% Elastane). Each material type is specially selected and put in place where is needed the most.
Great build quality with sturdy fabrics used, holding up well to washing.
Can get a touch warm on sunny summer days.
No snags at all, like new after repeated use.
Not the lightest around due to the fabrics, but you hardly notice.
Matt black fabric is comfortable; a shame about the grippers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Largely well; Isadore doesn't yet make a lightweight bib short, and these don't quite cut it in hot conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lovely build quality and nice-to-touch fabrics, and an excellent chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Grippers on the leg.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not for me with those grippers.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
For spring and autumn days these are very good/8-out-of-10 shorts, but they can get a bit warm on hotter days of the year, which reduces their versatility. The pad is excellent but I didn't get on with the gripper, which is a shame as I'd be tempted to give them a higher score.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding