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The Giro Chrono Pro bib shorts are supremely comfortable with a perfect 'goldilocks' chamois that's neither too thin nor too padded – it's just right. They're very well made and the straps are as comfy as the rest, but the very short legs won't be for everyone – and neither will the price.
When Stu Kerton first reviewed the Chrono Pro bib shorts in 2018, he said they were "absolutely lovely to wear." I would second that – they're up there with the most comfortable I've worn this year – but they're so short I've worn them mostly on the turbo for fear of wolf-whistling white van men.
Stu didn't mention the legs in his review, and perhaps if you have relatively short femurs they'll fit you just fine, but for the average male rider I'm really not sure where Giro is going. The Le Col Pro bib shorts I reviewed before these (also size medium), and which I praised for their perfect leg length, have an inseam of 29cm. The Giro Chrono Pros measure 22.5cm (against a claimed 24cm).
I took a tape measure to my other shorts and not one has an inseam as short as that. You can see on Mat in the photos that they leave a lot of exposed thigh.
I found the legs tend to ride up even further due to very minimalist grippers. The Santini Tono Puro bibs have a wide lattice of sticky silicone all round the insides of each cuff, but the Giros have just an underpowered, centimetre-wide strip on the inside front section only. Until you build up a sufficient sweat to restick them down, they can easily ride too far into hotpant territory.
It's a real shame, because they're otherwise excellent shorts. The Elastic Interface chamois is unchanged – possibly it's Giro's own design since it has the Giro logo as well as Elastic Interface's – and it's simple but super-comfortable. More slimline than some, it avoids the nappy look and feel, and I found it perfectly positioned under the sit bones. It doesn't move, either.
Giro's Gradient Stretch Woven fabric, used on the front of the legs, has an unusual papery feel but a more supportive stretch than traditional Lycra-type fabrics. Giro says it provides high durability, improved compression, fast drying, impressive breathability a UPF 50+ rating. Although it's hard to verify the compression claim, I would go along with the others one hundred per cent.
There's also what Giro calls a lumbar support panel for relief on long rides, made from another fabric. Having suffered lower back issues in the past, I'm not convinced a fabric panel can help much but, like the tight leg fabric, it definitely feels more supportive than regular Lycra.
The bib section is really nicely done. The wide, flat straps have loads of stretch lengthways and none sideways, and don't fold in on themselves even after washing. Meanwhile the mesh is stretchy in all directions, as it should be, and even includes a radio pocket in case you turn pro.
This is a high-quality, Italian-made pair of shorts and as such they're pretty expensive – more expensive than both the Le Col Pro (£150) and Santini Tono Puro shorts (£140) I reviewed recently – but there are more expensive bib shorts around, such as the Assos Equipe RS at £200 and Rapha's Classic Bib Shorts II at £165.
If the legs were longer I would say the Giros were worth it, because they're exceptionally comfortable and very well made. If they fit you (measure your inseam) they're a fantastic pair of shorts.
Good quality, super-comfortable, premium-priced shorts – but measure your inseam first
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Chrono Pro bib shorts
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for
From Giro's website:
"Your go-to piece when performance means everything, keeping you focused on what matters most: the ride.
"The men's Pro Bib Short provides the foundation needed to go farther and faster on the bike.
The Gradient Stretch Woven material offers high durability, improved compression, dries fast, and has impressive breathability and a UPF 50+ rating. The custom-designed bib straps and leg grippers move effortlessly when you do while staying comfortably in place, and a lumbar support panel provides essential support to your lower back for relief on long rides. Plus the Chrono Pro Chamois is anatomically shaped for ideal fit and stability in the saddle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gradient Stretch Woven Material: made in Italy with Italian materials
Leg: 78% NYLON / 22% ELASTANE (LASER-CUT OPENINGS): Inseam: 9.5IN / 24CM
Side panels: 76% NYLON / 24% ELASTANE
Lumbar support panel: 61% NYLON / 39% ELASTANE
Custom comfort bib strap mesh: 94% NYLON / 6% ELASTANE
Quite a complicated design with a lot of panels and different fabrics, but it works.
Very impressive indeed, although I can't verify the lumbar support or compressive properties.
Very good durability so far, a month in. Plenty of turbo use, which can be tough on shorts.
The legs are on the short side, but everything else is perfect.
They size up exactly right.
Expensive, but extremely comfy – you get what you pay for.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The label says cold wash, but I've been washing them with everything else at 30°C and they're as good as new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed. The well-judged chamois is perfectly positioned and doesn't move, plus they're light, breathable, supportive and have comfortable bib straps. They're close to the perfect pair of bib shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Everything (bar the short legs)!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The short legs.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are at the upper end of the bib shorts price range. There are more expensive bib shorts around, such as the Assos Equipe RS at £200 and Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II at £165, but the Santini Tono Puro (£140) and Le Col Pro (£150) are both great options and cheaper.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they had shorter femurs than me.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I found the Giro Chrono Pro shorts so comfortable they could have been tailor made for me... except for the short legs, which is what makes it so heartbreaking – and hard to score. Personally, I would look elsewhere, but for those with shorter femurs, I’d say they’re ‘Very Good’ – the same mark Stu gave them in 2018.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem