These great-value Kalf Flux Chevron bib shorts, from the new brand available exclusively through Evans Cycles (check out my review of some Kalf summer mitts here), offer very good comfort levels married to a quality chamois.
As Kalf states, any bib short is first measured by the quality of its pad. If it can't stand up to the punishment of long rides and damp out harshness from the road and saddle, the rest of the garment is relatively superfluous.
Happily, the Elastic Interface Flux chamois is well up to the task. It's a decent size, and the covering fabric is dual density, which Kalf claims helps collect and expel moisture. Kalf must have faith in the fabric, because there aren't any ventilation holes, and it's well-placed it would seem: I had no sense that I overheated or sweated more in this key area than I otherwise would.
The high-density foam is effective at eliminating road buzz and maximising comfort, although it's not graded in the same way that you find in the likes of Castelli's excellent Progetto X2 Air pad. Nevertheless, it's well proportioned and doesn't feel over-plump, so although it looks a touch basic, it's not something you notice while riding. A century sportive settled any fears on that front.
The legs are medium length (a relief for me – I like to cultivate my tan lines a little further up the leg than the current trend of longer bib shorts), and feature flatlock-stitching, as well as textured grippers at the leg to ensure a comfortable adhesion, using the chevron styling to form the pattern.
Invisible to the eye is a thin internal band that supports the elasticity of the grippers. Although not a big issue, I found that it's noticeable at the end of the legs. It's not uncomfortable, but there are numerous examples of brands that don't feel the need to include thin bands, instead relying on the natural elasticity of the fabric to apply the form fit. That aside, the rest of the Lycra fabric is supportive in a performance-fit manner without feeling restrictive.
The bib section features a flat band on the shoulders for extra comfort and elasticity. Kalf says the bonded bridge at the top of the back helps pull the waist of the shorts inwards while freeing up neck space; in practice this is successful, helping to distribute pressure evenly and comfortably across the shoulders. In fact, you barely notice it, which is just about the highest praise you can give to a bib section. The straps also feature nods to the distinctive chevron design, with flashes of coral visible in the bib bridge and in the grippers.
A light and airy mesh-like fabric covers your rearside, and as a result they're cool shorts to wear, offering a little protection for chilly mornings but really stepping into their own when the temperature rises.
Comfortable, high performing and well considered, their construction quality is very strong despite feeling summer-lightweight in bulk, with all material returning well after a series of washes. Throw in the competitive £84.99 asking price and they're a great value option. There's a matching jersey – you can glimpse it in the pics, review to come – if you like the coordinated look.
Great performing bib shorts with a very reasonable price tag
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kalf Chevron Men's Bib Short
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?
Kalf says: "The Kalf Flux Chevron Men's Bib Short is the result of hundreds of hours of development both on and off the bike. The unique bonded bridge on the bib straps is designed to pull the fabric of the shorts into the body without pressuring the rider's neck. The newest warp knitting technology in the Lycra provides compression, durability and moisture wicking at a minimal weight.
"Any short is measured by its pad and the Elastic Interface Flux pad with its dual layers of X-TRACT fabric and high-density foam is designed to keep you both dry and comfortable.
"Detailing on these shorts includes reflective logos and internally printed straps."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Evans lists these features:
Flux Chamois - The Elastic Interface Flux pad has been developed through extensive testing, resulting in a uniquely curved and comfort-enhancing chamois. The proof is obviously in the sitting, but if you want to know the details here goes. It's made from a double layer structure of EIT X-TRACT fabric to help collect and expel moisture, and combines all-way stretch with a special high-density foam to maximise comfort and performance. The pad has a central channel to relieve pressure from the perineal zone and allow for unimpeded blood flow.
Reflective details - Moving away from the recent trend to all things fluoro, our designers have added reflective details – often very discreetly – to bring visibility without visual assault.
Very good, no complaints.
Excellent – good pressure grading and all-round effectiveness. Decent chamois too.
Wooden garden furniture wariness aside, great.
A lovely, comfortable fit with spot-on leg length for me.
The medium was just right for me. Was also slim around the waist, which is ideal in performance bib shorts.
Certainly not heavy at 189g.
The chamois is very good, while the hidden leg bands were my only gripe. Otherwise, top notch.
£85 for a pair of bib shorts of this quality is an absolute steal. Worth every penny.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Respond very well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly. Nothing much more to say.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, fit, cut, comfort, performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, except those leg bands that, to be honest, get forgotten about after a while.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – I already have.
Use this box to explain your score
A well-rounded pair of performance bib shorts that have no real weak points for the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 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