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With a thing for names that honour notable racers, it might seem as if Hommage au Velo's Booty Bib-Shorts had already veered off brand. Not so – Booty was big as a rider (Ray Booty was the first Brit under four hours on a 100-mile TT, apparently) long before 'booty' got bigger as slang. The sticking point with these stylish, well-made and potentially excellent bibs is whether they fit your booty...
There's no doubt they're well made. The strong, tidy stitching is overlocked between most of the six panels and flatlocked around the hems and pad for smooth comfort.
The elasticated hems are broad (7cm on the size Large) while a 15mm silicone gripper rings the inside. The overall feel is one of quality.
Up top, mesh inserts broaden the elastic bib straps for cooling and comfort, though with the fashionably long legs and decent-weight fabric, the Bootys are best suited to cool through to warm summer temperatures rather than searing heat – warm autumn days, maybe.
Looking after your booty specifically is the Nudo pad, supplied by experienced Italian company GreenLime. The foam padding is excellent, staying springily supportive over hours in the saddle and wicking away sweat without issue. It's a wide-fronted pad, with thin fabric 'wings' designed to fold around the saddle nose and protect your inner thighs.
For me it had the opposite effect, with the extra bulk prone to bunching and, consequently, chafing. In truth, the Booty shorts simply can't accommodate my body type, and I fall right between two sizes. (It's not me in the photos.)
I have a relatively long torso, and if you do too, note that several details conspire to cause problems. The elastic of the bibs is strong, and while the size L shorts have a fit and shaping that's excellent, and right for the given size, the bibs leave deep red mesh prints in my shoulders and pull constantly at the crotch. By the time I get to a size that's comfortable on my shoulders (XL) the legs are too long and loose; the grippers struggle so close to the knees and slowly slide up to the broader thigh, freeing up material for the pad to bunch uncomfortably.
If your thighs are long enough for the leg grippers to sit right, you won't suffer the same bunching. I can say this with authority because, rather than just guess, I passed the shorts on to another reviewer, Pat, for a second opinion. Pat is roughly the same height and weight as me, but has different limb and torso proportions.
Pat says, "I have the longer thighs that Steve mentions and a slighty shorter back, and found the Booty shorts to fit extremely well. The legs are as close to perfect in length as I've worn and provide a good level of compression and support.
"The unusual 'wings' from the Nudo pad gave me no problems and I found the multi-density foam extremely comfortable, regardless of how rutted the gravel path was on my rides.
"They have also been cooler than my current favourite (7Mesh) bibs, moving sweat away from my nether regions effectively.
"I agree with Steve on the strength of the elastic in the straps, though, and it's not just the elastic; I found the material that the straps are made from to be extremely 'grabby' with whichever baselayer I was wearing. Once on, the straps were not tight on my shorter torso, but I did find getting them in place a bit of a fight. Once in position, though, they stayed put and gave no irritation and didn't pull on the legs."
In terms of value, at £100 they're in good company: the Craft Monument Bib Shorts score highly with a quality pad, effective grippers and fabric stretchy enough to accommodate different shapes well. Alternatively, the £90 Northwave Extreme 3 bibshorts offer a pre-shaped pad that's narrow at the front, if that works better for you. They're very comfy thanks to excellent shaping in the panels, although if comfort is paramount, Sportful's Total Comfort Bibshorts are extremely well named at £130. It's hard to ignore that £100 can get you a fancy Italian brand too, especially when the Castelli Velocissimo IVs are so very comfortable and score so well.
In conclusion... if you have longer thighs, the Booty's grippers will keep the pad taut and prevent bunching, while your shorter torso won't make the gusset cramped or the straps overtight. If so, lucky you – the Booty Bibs are well put-together, stylish and apparently very comfy.
Slightly shorter legs, gentler bib elastic and stronger grippers would allow riders like me to enjoy their obvious qualities as Pat did: he'd certainly recommend them for their impressive leg fit and comfort.
They're available in navy blue as well as black, and in six sizes, from XS to XXL.
The Booty bib shorts offer an impressive fit on the leg and a comfortable pad – as long as you're the right body shape...
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hommage au Velo Booty Bib-Shorts Black
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Hommage au Velo describe these as "an outstanding and versatile pair of all-year bib shorts".
It says, "Our Booty Bib-Shorts are one of our proudest achievements. Starting with the pad, we searched high and low to find the most outstanding, independent manufacturer who provides pads for some of the rock stars of the 2018 professional peloton: GreenLime™ of Italy.
"With a smooth profile and 70% of the cushioning below the surface of the pad, there is no folding or creasing. Anatomically-shaped, the pad curves to follow your body contour and protects your crown jewels from unnecessary exposure at the café stop.
"Combined with deep-dyed, supportive material on the legs to ensure no colour fade when stretching and a fantastic leg-gripper with discreet Hommage au Vélo logo, these are an outstanding and versatile pair of all-year bib shorts."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hommage au Velo lists these features:
Outstanding GreenLime™ anatomical Nudo pad with Kaarbo covering, the ultimate carbon fabric with tri-dimensional structure that helps canalize and eliminate sweat quickly.
70/30 technology in the GreenLime™ pad; 70 percent of the thickness of the pad sits below the surface, creating a cover that is free from folds or edges with support in the critical places
Elasticated mesh cup at the front keeps your crown jewels cosseted comfortably in place; no awkward silhouettes visible at the coffee stop.
Fully dyed for consistent colour depth even over the parts that stretch most.
Highly breathable leg gripper that eliminates the need for any solid silicon band around the thigh.
6 panel construction for excellent, tailored fit.
2-Way elastic bib braces with mesh inserts for excellent fit and comfort over the shoulders.
80% Polyamide20% Elastane fabric.
Well stitched together from quality materials.
Comfortable pad and a good, slightly compressive fit. The long legs and tight straps don't play well with certain body shapes, in which case, you wouldn't buy them... If they fit, it's a different story: they're excellent.
No reason to think the neat, strong stitching would struggle, while the fabric feels durable.
On Pat, a great fit: if the straps had more give they'd be even better. For my body shape I'd need the Medium shorts with leg openings from the Small and bib straps from XL...
Again, on Pat they come up just right. On me, from the waist to mid-thigh, sizing was very good; it's at either end things get critical.
At 191g for size Large, they're right around average, which is good considering their solid-feeling build.
Size/fit caveat, for me the padding and fit from waist to mid-thigh are particularly good. For Pat, "Best shorts I currently have."
The price is mid-range, but the quality is high – if they fit you, they'll be worth it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Resist smells valiantly and wash up without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive leg fit and comfort – says the reviewer whose body they fitted well on...
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good springy pad wicks well; substantial build feels like it'll last; subtle looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The long legs and lack of stretch in the straps meant that no size fitted my long torso/short thigh body comfortably. Even Pat, who they fitted, had a slight issue with the straps.
Did you enjoy using the product? I found them frustrating.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they had the right body shape.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These didn't suit my body shape, but gave the distinct impression that on the 'right' skeleton they'd be very comfy, and so it proved with a second opinion. With stretchier straps and slightly shorter legs these could work for everyone; with stretchier straps they'd be a 9 for Pat (and all his similar body shaped pals), but – for now at least – they're a very good 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking