We really liked the Caratti Sport bib shorts the last time we tested them, so it's great to see that Caratti hasn't gone for a redesign, more a few clever tweaks to refine them. It's a great result – and achieved without increasing that unbelievable £40 price tag.
- Pros: Comfortable chamois, well made, excellent price
- Cons: A little rough around the edges
It was back in 2015 when George tested the Caratti Sports and he was impressed by the chamois and the fit, especially for the price.
They are a classic pair of bibs, black in colour with a simple logo on the leg and a slightly shiny finish to the fabric that I remember from shorts I was wearing 10 or 15 years ago.
As soon as you put them on they feel comfortable; they're close fitting without being restrictive and as they haven't been cut for aerodynamics or a form fit in the saddle they'll suit the majority of riding, especially if it's aimed more at the training, recreation end of the market.
For 2018 Caratti has added more panels, most noticeably at the front of the thigh, which has had more sections of fabric added. This has given a more refined cut.
The bib section is pretty much all mesh which is great for keeping you cooler on hot days, and while it isn't as soft as the Cooldry fabric used for the main section of the shorts, it never feels uncomfortable against the skin if you don't wear a baselayer.
Again you get a snug fit but with plenty of movement. If you sit a little more upright you won't find the straps restrictive like you can with some more expensive race-orientated shorts.
The legs are held in place with an elastic gripper which is covered in silicone dots for added grip. I found them comfortable enough and had no problems at all with them riding up my thighs. Both grippers are woven with the Caratti logo, which gives them a classy look.
The pad hasn't been changed from the original, and that's a good thing as it was well received. The foam isn't massively thick and I wouldn't necessarily say that all of the channels and lumps are making a huge difference to how well it works, but it is comfortable and I suffered from no hot spots or bunching of the material.
As ride times increase I would prefer something a little thicker and more supportive, but up to around three to four hours the Sports are totally capable.
It's rare to see shorts for just £40 that perform so well in terms of comfort and refinement, and these will give those twice the price a run for their money. You can see a few compromises have been made, though. The stitching isn't the neatest I've seen in places and there are the odd stray threads poking out here and there.
Their performance easily outweighs that, though, and the fabrics certainly feel durable enough to stand a good couple of seasons of abuse.
Overall, the Carattis are hard to fault for the money – unless you're doing long day rides, these are well worth considering.
Traditional looking classic bib shorts that deliver way more than you'd expect for the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Caratti Sport Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Caratti says, "When a product proves itself over and over again, not many changes to the fundamental design are needed. We've taken what made our Caratti Sport Bib shorts so great and made these new shorts even better.
"The same ergonomic Chamois and high performance fabrics are used in this latest design due to their success, durability and customer feedback.
"These new shorts have a slightly adjusted cut to give them a more relaxed, traditional fit so they are more true to size and no need to size up."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
This short is made for everyday riding, whether it be road, mountain, leisure or commute.
High performace cooldry fabric used in these shorts allow for fast sweat wicking to promote quick drying.
The cut and four way stretch allows for a snug but forgiving fit. The fit and a high density of fibres in the fabric promotes circulation to help enhance performance.
The Chamois is ergonomically shapped with a high density and elasticated foam to give a quality feel to a lower priced short.
Branded elastic on the legs with silicone gripper give a quality feel and fit.
High vis tab on the rear of legs help be more visible on the move.
Fully meshed upper 'bib' to allow for maximum ventilation and sweat wicking.
Sizing was absolutely spot and the fabric is quite generous so you don't need to size up if you are between sizes.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A 30 degree wash brought everything up clean and tidy without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If you want a simple pair of bib shorts for pretty much any type of riding, these tick all of the boxes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit and excellent performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some of the stitching could be a little tidier but I really am nitpicking.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are very few shorts on the market at this price and even fewer that can offer this level of performance. Lusso is probably the closest rival, and dhb.
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 overall score
The Caratti Sports are a simple yet effective pair of shorts that do everything you need them to and more for the money.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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.