The innovation and attention to detail in women's bib shorts has really improved over the last decade, giving women a genuinely good range of choice, catering to all budgets and technical requirements. That said, the Stolen Goat Bodyline ONE Women's Bib Shorts are still one of the most unusual and innovative pairs I've ever seen, but that innovation has, disappointingly, only been partially successful.
Although these shorts sit firmly at the premium end of the price spectrum, they are still far from being into the realms of Assos, Castelli, Rapha and some of the other super-premium brands. That said, they are easily as packed full of features and performance technology as some of those designs.
For starters, the shorts have only one central seam, designed to minimise chafing. The fabric has a compression effect in the legs and uses Coldblack technology to regulate temperature even in the hottest conditions; it also features an unusual structure to keep moisture effectively moving away from the skin. Instead of leg gripper tape, the bottoms of the legs are broad slightly grippy fabric sections and the pad has been designed to improve airflow. All in all, these are one seriously high tech pair of shorts, so much so that I really really wanted to love them.
The fit was the first minor snag. Once I got past the fact that the website appears to have only a men's size guide (even on the women's product pages the measurements are the same) and obtained the correct size, the fit on the legs and waist was fine, but the bib area straps were rather slack. As a result, I'd say these are far better suited to taller or particularly big busted women.
Once on, they were very comfortable, with little in the way of unseemly grabbing around the thighs. Snag two, however, was the fabric itself. While the colour is a flattering matt black, the special weave to assist with temperature and moisture management did mean the shorts were somewhat on the see-through side, especially since the compression effect in the legs obviously requires them to stretch to a degree.
On the bike, they really were amazingly comfortable, with the temperature management properties of the fabric clearly discernible on a hot day. There was no feeling of clamminess and I felt a very pleasant temperature. The pad was also very comfortable, but because of the slightly slack bib straps it did have a tendency to flatten out at the back rather than conform to my shape. The cushioning was effective, though, and ideal for all lengths of ride.
I'm convinced that taller women may well absolutely love these shorts, given the quality, comfort and performance of the fabric and the great pad, but they would still have to be confident enough to be happy with some transparency.
Comfortable, high performance technical shorts best suited to tall women and those who don't mind a little transparency
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Stolen Goat Bodyline One Womens Bib Shorts
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?
Designed for demanding female riders.
Stolen Goat says: "The stolen goat Bodyline shorts feature a proprietary chamois pad that has been developed alongside top level pro riders. After extensive testing the pad created is not only the perfect density for long, hard rides but crucially is located in the perfect position. This means you can ride hard and far without noticing your shorts.
"The pad uses dimple technology to improve air flow. This combined with being anti-bacterial and fast drying ensures that hygiene and comfort are as advanced as possible ensuring you can focus on your performance.
"The bib shorts have a slightly compressive feel and feature an elasticated cuff to keep the shorts in place all day long. No nasty silicone gripper to pull at your skin is used here.
"The Bodyline ONE version of the shorts are constructed from a single piece meaning that they have just one seam to further decrease irritation. They are also UV protected and are treated with 'ColdBlack' which helps to reflect the heat from the Sun. This keeps you the right temperature whatever the weather."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Anti-bacterial pad with dimple technology to improve airflow designed in Belgium alongside professional riders
4-way stretch lycra
80% polyamide/20% elastane
Proprietary pad developed in Belgium- antibacterial using Dimple Technology for increased airflow
Washable at 30
Very well finished and excellent quality fabrics and components.
Superbly comfortable and the fabric was excellent in hot conditions. The slight bagginess to the upper bib section did mean that the pad failed to stay contoured to the body, but it was still comfortable.
Signs are that it should last pretty well.
The bottom section was absolutely fine but the top bib section was quite long on me (5ft 5in) so these would be better suited to taller women.
The top section was quite long for an average woman and there only seemed to be one sizing chart on the website, with men's sizes.
Very comfortable, both in terms of fit and fabric. Less comfortable in terms of slight bashfulness at their transparency!
Quite a high price but not bad value considering the technology crammed in (and if the bibs fit you...).
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The product performed very well as a highly technical pair of bib shorts, but the length of the upper section wasn't best suited to the average height woman and the fabric was a touch on the transparent side.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Hot weather comfort, pad technology and shape, fit of lower section.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Length of upper body section, transparency of fabric, lack of support of upper section causing flattening out of pad.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, apart from the self-consciousness caused by the transparency of the fabric.
Would you consider buying the product? Not in its current form but definitely if the upper section and fabric opacity were tweaked.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? To a tall, confident one, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Technically great shorts and extremely comfortable, but needing a few tweaks to score higher.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.