Sometimes you put on a pair of shorts, or pull on a jersey, and they just feel right. That's what I found when asked to model the La Passione kit for the photos. And after using the snappily titled Women Summer Bib Shorts Classic Blue for a good chunk of our wonderful British summer, I'm still impressed. They're comfortable, look good and are showing no signs of wear.
The appeal was partly down to their being part of an outfit, and I really, really like the Checked Ottanio jersey. I'm not normally that concerned about what jersey goes with what shorts, but I've made an effort to wear these as a combination.
The fabric description from La P goes: 'Externally we use a highly technical 44 Super Light Power Lycra guaranteeing exceptional compression and shape retention. Combined with the latest version of Lycra Lab fabric, in the middle section, this thicker, intensified structure of the weave will minimise saddle slide.'
I have to say, I didn't notice the lack of sliding around, but I did like the way the legs felt: tight and supportive but not uncomfortable. I'm a 10-12 in normal clothes, and at the top end of the size guide for L, so this might have contributed too (the shorts go up to XL, but there isn't any sizing info for it). I found the hems quite tight too – a little bit of sausage leg going on, but not hugely so.
Generally I found the pad comfortable, but at the end of one particular long ride, which had taken in a bit of gravel and old rough road, I was aware of some discomfort. La P says the pad enables you to 'remain comfortable for more than six hours in the saddle'. Pad comfort is, of course, a very personal thing, but here I'm not sure if it's the pad itself or the seams underneath; the two seams crossing under the pad aren't flatlock stitched, and in fact are quite prominent – possibly more so after a few hours of riding.
Another seam issue I had was at the back of the bib section, again where two non-flatlock seams meet, which dug in underneath a backpack when I used the shorts for commuting. I'll accept that this isn't their target market, though, and there was no such discomfort when riding without a pack.
Price-wise, £80 isn't cheap but it's not bad value compared with other high-end bibs out there. I really like the style and think they're generally a good pair of shorts, but I'd probably hesitate before choosing them for my longest rides, especially if some rough stuff was involved.
Nicely styled and well made shorts, particularly good for shorter rides – without a backpack...
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road.cc test report
Make and model: La Passione Summer Bib Shorts Blue Woman
Size tested: Large
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?
La Passione says: "A good pair of bib shorts is the single most important product in your wardrobe as a cyclist. Performance, fit and comfort are the three key characteristics when choosing the best available performance materials, and when combined with timeless, classic design our Women Summer Bib Shorts Classic Blue are suitable for all your needs and is an elegant completion on any stylish rider's kit.Designed to worn over long days of training the Summer Bib Shorts Classic Blue uses two types of Italian made performance Lycra. Externally we use a highly technical 44 Super Light Power Lycra guaranteeing exceptional compression and shape retention. Combined with the latest version of Lycra Lab fabric, in the middle section, this thicker, intensified structure of the weave will minimise saddle slide. The anti abrasive properties of Lycra Lab fabric provides an innovative solution to reduce saddle movement and enhances greater rider stability. Our Chamois, The Pad, is manufactured by leading market E.I.T. A top-of-the-range Chamois, ergonomically shaped specifically for women, enabling you to remain comfortable for more than six hours in the saddle. With needle flat-stitched seams, non-slip silicone leg grippers and a race radio back pocket you are fully equipped with a high level bib short for racing or long rides.
Available in classic Black and Blue."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From La Passione's website:
Made in Italy
Tailored Fit for an ideal position on the saddle
Highly compressive main body fabric
E.I.T. Italian Pad, naturally bacteriostatic with 4 way stretch
Four needle flat-stitched seams
Grip 400 4,5 cm leg grippers
White La Passione logo on right leg
Race radio back pocket
3M Scotchlite rear reflective stripe
Main Body: 78% Polyamide / 22% Elastane
Mesh: 82% Polyester / 18% Elastane
Permanent wicking treatment
SPF UV 50+ sun protection factor
Flatlock seams under the pad might improve comfort here.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. Usual 30-degree cycle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good pair of bib shorts, though for me the pad became less comfortable towards the end of longer (3+ hours) rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I found the pad became less comfortable on longer rides; also, if I wore a backpack the seams at the rear would dig in, though possibly not its target use...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A really nice looking pair of bib shorts – good to see something other than black without going over-the-top garish (they come in black as well). La Passione says the pad is designed to allow you 'to remain comfortable for more than six hours in the saddle', but for me it didn't, so I'm sticking to 7 for 'good' rather than 8 for 'very good'. It's a close-run thing though. The pad might suit you fine – in which case, consider them an 8!
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.