Craft usually make good stuff, but despite excellent build quality their Performance Bike Bib Shorts have some major flaws.
At £70 the Performance Bikes are in a competitive price bracket, with dhb's Aeron range and Endura's FS260 Pro II shorts leading the pack. They certainly look the part, with angled leg panels, subtle changes in colour and a flashy, technical pad that's labelled up like a cow in a butcher's shop poster. Build quality is excellent, with flatlocked seams, tight stitching and a reflective logo on each leg.
Sadly the designer has clearly been taking advice from Mr Shaun William Ryder because the shorts are definitely a loose fit. The legs panels don't support at all and there are wrinkly bits around the seat area that just don't feel right. I like shorts that make me feel like I'm strapped into a go-faster technical garment. I don't really want them to feel like a pair of my mother's big pants. I tried a size L and they fitted well enough, it's the cut that's wrong.
For me it's the pad that really lets the shorts down though. With multiple sections of varying foam density it looks great but there's a huge snag. The middle line of the pad is very wide and made of the thinnest foam. As a result the whole pad folds in half while you're wearing the shorts giving a perma-wedgie that is incredibly annoying. It's worse off the bike, but even in the saddle it niggles, irritates and generally spoils the ride.
I could be charitable and suggest that it's just one of those things, and that they just don't suit my body shape but I've tried more than my fair share of shorts over the years and these are the only ones that I've had this problem with.
Despite the quality, these are destined to spend their days at the bottom of my drawer, only coming out when everything else is in the wash, which is a real pity.
Quality construction but poor performance and fit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Performance Bike Bib Shorts
Size tested: Black, Large
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?
Sad lack of marketing blurb on Craft's website.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thin polyamide shell fabric with channel structure in the seat area for cooling, durability and moisture transport
Body control fabric with 4 way stretch
Ergonomically placed seams follow the anatomy of the moving body
Elastic leg endings with silicone print on the inside for a secure fit
Smooth and durable flat lock seams
Reflective prints for extra visibility
Craft Performance Pad
Inseam: 25cm, 10"
No grumbles about construction - these are a quality pair of shorts in that respect.
They lose points for the slightly baggy fit and that annoying pad.
Off the bike the constant pad wedgie is hugely annoying. On the bike it's still very irritating.
Quality is good, but performance doesn't justify this kind of money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Not so great. I won't be reaching for these in a hurry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Constant wedgie from the folding pad and the loose cut.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Quality shorts let down by awful pad and baggy cut.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides