Proving that you don't have to spend a couple of hundred quid on a pair of cycling bib shorts are these £60 Sportful Giro shorts, which put in a superb performance with great comfort and fit.
The shorts are made to Sportful's usual excellent standard, and the fit is just as good as its more expensive products. An eight-panel Elast-X fabric construction with contrast flatlock stitching provides a nice fit around the legs and bum, with no excess fabric to ripple in the wind or areas of tightness to detect.
You don't get a posh all-singing-all-dancing padded insert in these shorts, but the updated Comfort Plus belies its simple appearance by providing excellent comfort. I've used them for four to five hours in the saddle with no ill effect; comfort doesn't really seem to suffer compared to more expensive shorts with fancier inserts.
Where it does struggle a little is in very hot weather when you're generating a lot of sweat. It appears to hold on to moisture a little longer than better-ventilated inserts, but it's within acceptable limits. You're not exactly getting a soggy bum, it's just noticeable when tested alongside more advanced inserts. For the majority of British weather riding it's not a factor though.
One of the nicest details on these shorts is the newly updated leg band, which not only sets them apart from rival shorts but also those costing twice as much. A wide band of elastic material around the front of the short opening is a fabulous solution in an area that many much more expensive shorts fall short. The elastic material applies just enough pressure to keep the hem in place without being restrictive. A little silicone detailing on the inside also helps but isn't irritating against the skin. I'd be happy with this approach on far more expensive shorts.
Bib straps are made from a lightweight mesh material with enough length to stretch comfortably over the shoulders. There's no irritation if the bib straps sit against the skin but I always prefer to wear a base layer under the bib straps for extra comfort and sweat mopping duties. The back panel is made from the same mesh material and helps with pulling moisture away from your back.
The Giro shorts are available in sizes XS to 3XL and eight colours so you can match them to your favourite jersey.
Top quality, fit and comfort for just £60, what more do you want?
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Giro Bibshort
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?
An update to our popular Giro bibshort that combines race-ready comfort and features with exceptional value.
Eight-panel construction, flat-lock stitching, 210g Elast-X fabric, mesh bibs, lie-flat jacquard elastic leg endings and our updated Comfort Pro seat pad give this short the features of a high-end short but at an amazing value.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Elast-X 210g compression fabric to help prevent muscle fatigue
8-panel anatomic construction
Mesh back on bib straps
Partial jacquard elastic with silicone grip dots
Flat-lock stitching on selected seams
Comfort Pro seat pad
Solid construction and top build quality
Great performance at a great price
Have been just fine so far
Fit is a little more generous than some of Sportful's racier shorts which is no bad thing if you're not actually racing
Found the sizing just right
The comfort of the padded insert is not quite in the same league as more expensive shorts but it's jolly close
This much performance and design at this price has to be applauded, a reminder you don't have to spend a fortune these days
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems at all
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provides good comfort for short and long rides, ideal for longer sportives
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The elasticated leg openings are the real highlight, but the padded insert is worth a mention too
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can't find anything to fault really
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Top performance at a knockdown price, the Giro shorts are an excellent short even if you're not on a tight budget
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.