Craft's Verve Glow Bib Shorts use a multitude of various fabrics to create a close, compressive fit for those who like a bit of support for their muscles when riding hard. Add to this a decent pad and the shorts offer a lot, although they are a bit expensive compared with the opposition.
I like the cut of these bib shorts, as everything is snug and in proportion. The straps, for instance, are taut enough whatever position you are riding in, holding the bibs in position without being overly tight to cause pressure points on the shoulder – thankfully, as the thick seam between the two fabrics would definitely make itself known otherwise.
The mesh rear panels mean breathability is pretty good, plus you also get an open mid-section at the base of the back which helps.
The bottom half of the shorts are made up with a large array of panels to mimic your body shape when you are in the saddle, and in a variety of fabrics.
The main front leg panels are made of a thicker yarn than the rest of the shorts which gives that supportive feel for your muscles; it's something I like to see in a pair of shorts as I'm a big fan of compression fabrics. The only downside is that the fabric isn't the softest against the skin, giving an almost scratchy feeling, especially on longer rides of three or four hours. The same can be said for the front sections of the bib straps – you definitely want to wear a baselayer underneath.
The rest of the panels use a more traditional knit of Lycra which is smooth and comfortable, and the legs are held in position by large leg grippers that don't move one bit whether you are in or out of the saddle. The left one comprises reflective stripes that offer near 360-degree visibility from car headlights. It's a neat idea, as early spring and late autumn rides in the dark can still be completed in shorts or obviously with knee or leg warmers.
Two of the seams are also reflective, running down each leg, which is a nice touch, plus the Craft logo will also bounce the light back.
The most important part of any shorts is the pad, and the Infinity C1 found in these is pretty good for such a simple design. There are a couple of raised sections either side of a central channel. These are 14mm thick, with the surrounding area being just 3mm so there was little in the way of bunching of the material. The cushioning is fine for rides of up to a couple of hours, but I found if I was riding for any longer the pad wasn't quite as supportive as I'd like.
Eighty pounds is a substantial amount of money to spend on a pair of bib shorts, although the market place is quite busy. As with the Verve Glow jersey I tested, I think the pricing is a little too high – by about £10 to £15.
They aren't bad shorts – in fact they are pretty good – but they just lack that all-round refinement found on some other shorts of this price in terms of overall quality, comfort and performance.
I wouldn't say I dislike the Craft Verve Glow bib shorts, but I'm not especially enamoured by them, especially at full RRP.
Decent all-rounders, but there is tough opposition at this price point
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Verve Glow 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?
Craft says: "Verve Glow Bib Shorts are designed for those who ride hard on a regular basis and who prefer to be seen when speeding across the landscape. The bib shorts are made of technical body-control fabrics that offer great muscle support and efficient moisture transport. In addition, ergonomic design ensures perfect racing-position fit while reflective leg endings, seams and logos make you extra visible. Infinity C1 Pad Men is developed for optimal comfort."
The Verve Glows are decent shorts for rides of up to a couple of hours but seem a little pricey to me.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Size range - XS - 4XL
Infinity C1 pad
Material 1: 78% Polyamide, 22% Elastane
Material 2: 76% Polyamide, 24% Elastane
Material 3: 95% Polyester, 5% Elastane
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A 40-degree wash is all it takes and the shorts and pad show no issues from being washed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're decent shorts for rides of a couple of hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad is comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I found the material a little scratchy against the skin.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were okay.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly, but along with some others.
Use this box to explain your score
The Verve Glow bib shorts are decent enough in terms of performance and fit, but as with the jersey of the same name, I don't think they quite deliver the levels expected for the price against the opposition to warrant a higher score.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.