The main purpose of bib shorts is to provide comfort, and this is something Sportful's BodyFit Pro bib shorts do extremely well. A comfortable liner, great fit and load spreading bib straps earn these shorts a hearty recommendation.
BodyFit is the Italian clothing company's top-end range, and it's identical, save for the colours and logos, to the kit Saxo-Tinkoff wear. Therefore you know it's been proven at the highest and harshest level of the sport, good enough for the pros and good enough for us mere mortals with more modest cycling ambitions.
The liner, or chamois is the heart of the shorts. It's where a significant chunk of the money goes, and Sportful use their top-tier TCPro chamois. It's their poshest offering, to provide long distance comfort without the bulk. It achieves this with variable thickness, closed-cell urethane foam padding. It's 14mm thick at the sit bones region, and tapers down to 9mm along the mid to front central channel.
It is also dimpled which allows the chamois great flexibility to deform to shape, further increasing comfort.The chamois is attached to the main fabric of the shorts with a 'press-to-zero' edge, which creates a very smooth and almost seamless finish. Compared to similarly priced shorts, and even much more expensive shorts, it's a fantastically comfortable chamois. It's so slim where it needs to be, and just padded where you want it, so you don't have that baby nappy feel that some shorts have.
The shorts are made from Aeroflow Compress and Lycra Power with flatlock stitching with what is best described as a snug fit. The shorts provide a degree of compression so they really hug the contours of your body, with no ripples of excess fabric. There's a double layer of fabric at the leg openings which increases the compression, and, together with a thin band of silicone tape, keeps them firmly in place. I didn't experience them riding up my legs as can occur with some shorts.
Sportful have given these pro-level shorts interesting-looking bib straps. A wide elastic webbing material provides extremely good support and spreads the load evenly across the shoulders. They're very stretchy - toilet stops weren't a problem - and very robust, as you'd expect of a product designed for a professional racing team.
There's a race radio pocket that's so discreet I didn't even spot it at first. It's pretty useless for anything else, though you could squeeze a small MP3 player into there I suppose.
Comfort, both from the excellent chamois, the good fit, and the webbed straps, is at the highest end of the scale. From short blasts around the lanes to all-day cruises, to crit racing and commuting, these shorts provide incredible comfort.
They're one of the best bib shorts I've yet tested. In my mind they justify the price tag, because they're better performers than some of the much more expensive shorts available. And in the yellow they're bang on trend, if keeping up with trends is your thing. Don't' worry, two other colours, white and black, are also available if the yellow isn't doing it for you.
These are Sportful's top-end shorts, and are very much the same as the Saxo-Tinkoff team race in. Sportful are rightly proud of their involvement with professional road racing. It gets their products seen and tested at the highest level of the sport.
What does that mean for us? You get the same shorts, the same fabric, fit and cut as the Saxo-Tinkoff pros race in. If you want race-ready clothing, this is a good start. They aren't even that expensive, not compared to some of the other shorts that road.cc has reviewed this year. They tick all the boxes.
Extremely comfortable shorts as raced by a professional cycling team.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful BodyFit Pro Bib Short Ltd
Size tested: medium, yellow
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?
Cutting edge technologies for Pro Level aerodynamic performance and total comfort. Innovative mesh straps, a TC Pro pad and Aeroflow Compress fabric combine to make the Bodyfit pro short some of the fastest and lightest race shorts available.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pro level short for aerodynamic performance and all day comfort.
Aeroflow Compress leg fabric for muscle support and optimized air flow.
Innovative mesh bib straps for maximum breathability.
Non-compressing leg elastic with silicone band.
Radio pocket on mesh bibs.
Justifies the £120 price tag, very solid construction, especially the bib straps.
Best of the best, supremely comfortable chamois, lovely fit and the bib straps work well
Ridden and raced lots of miles in them and they still look like they have just been removed from their packaging.
Sportful have nailed the fit and the chamois.
Okay so £120 is a lot of cash, but these are better than shorts that cost way more, and as investments in cycling comfort goes, these are a good choice.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ticked the boxes. Good enough for the pros, good enough for us.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The chamois and fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.