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The Madison Turbo Bib Shorts are a new minimalist design aimed at improving the indoor riding experience. Made from a lightweight, breathable material, these shorts do indeed improve comfort on longer turbo sessions. Whether you really need such specific-use clothing is for you to decide, but these certainly help.
The Turbo Bib Shorts are a new offering into the world of indoor-specific cycling products. Usually, the clothing we wear for cycling is designed to help us cope with the outdoor elements, but with the rise of indoor cycling platforms like Zwift, specific indoor cycling apparel might make a lot of sense.
These shorts have several features designed to help combat the heat while on a static bike. The majority of the shorts is made from fast-wicking, thin material. You can tell the difference as soon as you put them on, with the shorts feeling lighter and more breathable than a standard set of bibs. I wasn't convinced that I could tell a huge difference while training, but for a particularly hot environment they'll offer some relief.
The material is claimed to be antibacterial, and it's also washable at 60 degrees to compensate for the extra build-up of sweat and salts that you wouldn't normally find from riding outdoors. Although it's a good feature from a hygienic point of view, it does mean you'll need to wash these separately from the rest of your sports kit, which typically has a 30-40°C maximum.
Other features include a very breathable open mesh strap with soft bindings, aiding comfort as things warm up.
Also, the waistline area of the shorts sits slightly lower than that of my standard outdoor shorts, which makes a small difference to the comfort and the heat management.
I found the shorts particularly effective when doing sessions of two hours and above, where the static nature of the turbo in combination with regular shorts can make things uncomfortable. These shorts felt very comfortable. They're kitted out with a much thicker pad than standard shorts, which offers a great deal more comfort, especially for those longer turbo sessions.
I also found the silicone leg grippers to be highly effective, and overall the shorts are well made and more than up for the task.
Do we really need specific indoor cycling apparel? The answer is probably determined by the sort of indoor riding that you do. I think for spinning classes and longer training session the Turbos are particularly effective. And while £65 might seem a lot for indoor-use-only, they're quite a bit cheaper than others from the likes of Primal and Castelli.
In the UK, for around five months of the year, some of us will spend the majority of our time training indoors, so a set of specific indoor gear doesn't sound as crazy as it might at first. If, like me, you are fond of the turbo, these shorts could be a worthwhile investment.
Lightweight and comfortable indoor-specific shorts that do the job they're designed for
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Turbo Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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?
TRAINING SMART? DRESS SMART! Madison have created a specific kit for indoor riding. Meaning those hours spent climbing virtual mountains can be done in comfort by wearing clothing designed to match
Join the indoor revolution! This cleverly designed short is specifically made for use on your indoor training rides
Stripped of all unnecessary features, the Turbo bib shorts are fast wicking and have anti-bacterial properties
A polyester anti-bacterial Lycra is used all over, which can be washed at 60 degrees to help keep things fresh
A custom designed Italian pad made specifically for this revolutionary bib short by TMF
Open mesh straps with soft binding are both highly breathable and comfortable hour after hour
Pre-curved into the riding position, this bib short gives great fit in the saddle
Silicone leg grippers avoid irritation and keep the shorts firmly in place
No external prints to lose on a hot wash, keeping it looking good for longer
Limited lifetime warranty
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the shorts?
A mesh jersey and special polyester blend in the shorts mean they wick more effectively than standard clothing.
We haven't used any printing on the jersey or shorts so you can hot wash them at 60 degrees, making sure they're fully clean.
Pared down design of the kit makes it significantly more breathable than standard bike clothing, helping you to stay cool even when working hard.
The shorts feel well put together.
For indoor-specific attire they perform better than standard shorts. More breathable than a standard pair of shorts.
During the short testing time nothing was clearly worn, and Madison offers a limited lifetime warranty.
Come up as expected. I opted for a size medium and the grippers were in line with my current tan lines.
Very lightweight, being designed for indoor riding.
Custom Italian pad designed for longer turbo sessions is really comfortable, as are the open mesh straps with soft binding.
Quite a hefty price for indoor-only shorts, but they're cheaper than others: Primal's eSport Bib Shorts are £95 and Castelli's Insiders are £110.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They wash well at typical 'sports wash' temperatures of 30-40°C, and the option is there to wash them at 60.
Tell us how the shorts performed overall when used for their designed purpose
The shorts work well for their specific purpose, and especially for longer turbo sessions or in spin classes where things can get even warmer.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the shorts
I particularly like how lightweight they feel. This massively increases the comfort of the shorts over a long period, and ventilation is great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the shorts
There was nothing that I particularly disliked.
Did you enjoy using the shorts? Yes
Would you consider buying the shorts? Yes
Would you recommend the shorts to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For the intended task these do a good job, especially when it comes to comfort. They won't be for everybody, but if you're looking for shorts specifically designed for indoor training, these are well worth considering.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR My best bike is: Giant Trinty
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, club rides, The occasional bit of track