Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Hydra Tech Pro Strada21 Bib Shorts



High-quality bib shorts ideal for warm weather rides, long or short
Floating pad is comfy
Very grippy silicone grippers
Bib straps lie flat
Great in hot weather
Very high front panel makes comfort breaks hard
Not cheap
No reflective accents

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Hydra Tech Pro Strada21 Bib Shorts are designed for warm weather riding – 'from spring to the height of summer' – and feature a floating pad similar to those found in other manufacturers' top-of-the-line bibs. They're well thought out, with great attention to detail such as the stitching, minimal labels and flat bib straps, and they're very comfortable for short, aggressive rides or longer outings.

At 184g, the Strada21 bib shorts are lightweight, ideal for their intended purpose for hot weather riding. I've been using them on rides out on the road of up to six hours and on the turbo for up to two hours, and overall have been impressed with their performance and comfort.

> Buy these online here

HTP seems to have taken a no-nonsense approach with these shorts, with minimal branding and logos but high quality fabrics, impressive stitching and a conforming fit that provides a little compression without restricting movement.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

Pulling on the shorts, the first thing you notice is that they're relatively long in the leg and the grippers are extremely grippy! The bottom inch or so of the legs is covered in silicone grippers which prevent the legs from riding up or moving while cycling.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

A different fabric has been used on the side panels which feels more stretchy. It's impressively breathable, so great for hot days, but is a little more see-through than the panels used front and rear.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

The bib straps themselves are extremely comfortable. They're wide and lie flat even under an aero jersey, with a channel of holes down the middle to aid breathability. They're also very supportive, and thanks to the lack of seams left no marks on my shoulders even after six-hour rides.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg
2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - straps front.jpg

The shorts themselves are quite high at the front which has both pros and cons. It's supportive, with no tummy gap even when paired with a short jersey, but does make comfort breaks a little trickier when out on the road.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - legs front.jpg

More and more bib shorts are being designed with a 'floating pad', to aid comfort and reduce the risk of chafing. HTP's Free Code pad appears to be attached in even fewer places than most, with the front and rear of the pad completely loose from the shorts themselves.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - chamois 2.jpg

The idea is that the upper layer of the pad – the layer against your skin – isn't dragged around by the shorts/saddle and instead 'floats' freely, remaining in contact with the body and hence minimising movement. It translates to a comfortable ride, and my initial fears that durability would be affected by having fewer stitches were put to bed with some firm tugs.

2021 hydra tech pro Strada21 Bib Shorts - chamois 1.jpg

A further feature of the Strada21s is that they can be washed at 50°C, to kill off any bacteria. That's a much higher temperature than most manufacturers recommend for washing sports kit. Although not necessary every wash, I tested the 50-degree wash after particularly sweaty sessions and the shorts have come out good as new.


At £184, the Strada21 bib shorts are at the premium end of the market, but have the comfort and quality to stack up against the more established brands' offerings. For example, I found them equally as comfortable as the £175 Rapha Pro Team Crit shorts that I tested last year, though the HTPs are significantly more subtle in their styling.

At a similar price (£180), the Le Col Hors Categorie bib shorts Iwein tested share similar bib straps, leg length and grippers, but after around 1,200km the HTPs haven't shown the same premature wearing, which bodes well for durability.

> Buyer’s Guide: 38 of the best cycling bib shorts

You can get good quality bib shorts for less, though: the Stolen Goat Bodyline One bib shorts, which Iwein really liked, are £98. The added expense of the HTPs does get you a very impressive chamois, though, and I much prefer the bib straps.


Overall, the Strada21s are high-quality bib shorts that can compete with the more established brands. There's a lot to like – great breathability, the floating pad, minimal labels and quality stitching and materials. The complete black with no visible logos won't be to everyone's taste, and I'm not convinced the front panel needs to be quite so high, but these are a strong offering and perfect for hot weather riding.


High-quality bib shorts ideal for warm weather rides, long or short test report

Make and model: Hydra Tech Pro Strada21 Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Hydra Tech Pro says: "These high Performance Bib Shorts are manufactured in Manchester UK, with a 20 point quality control check on each garment. We have worked with the finest fabric manufacturers to determine the absolute best fabrics required to achieve ultimate performance."

They certainly perform well and come into their own in elevated temperatures. The pad is very comfortable and the quality seems very high.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

HTP continues:

'These shorts are inspired by the "Strade Bianche" road race and the roads of the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy, where they were developed and tested.

Comfort at extremes of temperature, from Spring to the height of summer.

The ultimate ergonomic fit for muscle support and ease of movement.

An "all-day" high endurance pad that scuplts to your body and minimises chaffing and the risk of pressure sores.

Durability. These shorts are built to last.

50c wash condition to kill bacteria and prevent saddle sores.

Introducing the Free Code Pad

The lower layer, is a breathable fabric, which is sewn into the shorts. A small area of the upper layer is bonded to the lower layer, allowing the rest of the upper to float freely. This allows for the soft upper layer to sit against the skin while the fabric of the shorts moves independently. No movement = no chafing!

Free floating upper pad moves independently from the shorts.

Highly breathable fabrics reduce heat spots and moisture build-up.

Soft-touch fabrics for greater comfort.

The pad has been designed by the most authoritative individual in this field, Demis Furfaro of DWM Innovation. Demis creates pads for the world tour team riders and we are so fortunate to have one of these pads in our Strada21 Bib Shorts. If its good enough for the pros, its good enough for you!'

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:

No issues; stitching seems really solid and high quality, material can resist tugging and they still look as good as new after 1,200km.

Rate the product for fit:

Compressive but not restrictive. Long in the leg and body, so consider sizing down if you're between sizes and shorter than average.

Rate the product for sizing:

About right. I'm slap bang in the middle of a medium using the HTP size guide and this medium pair fitted as I'd like them to; the legs are quite long.

Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:

Very comfortable. The silicone leg grippers prevent any movement, the stitching is flat and doesn't cause pressure points, and, most importantly, the pad is comfortable even on long rides.

Rate the product for value:

Not bad value, but you do get diminishing gains with premium products like this; we've tested some excellent £100 bibs, but these hold their own against bibs of equal price.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Responded well. You can even wash them at 50°C.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well: great on hot and long rides, but the pad also allows you to get into an aggressive position, too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Bib straps lie really well even under and aero jersey.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The front comes up a bit high for my liking.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They are at the premium end of the market but have the quality to justify it. We've tested plenty of shorts that are both more expensive and also cheaper.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Very good shorts with great attention to detail, as you would expect at this price. I got on well with the floating pad design, and the shorts were comfortable even on six-hour rides, though the side panels are slightly see-through (depending on the size of your legs), and the high front makes comfort breaks trickier.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

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, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

Add new comment


Freddy56 | 2 years ago

They look very opaque, were you out with anyone riding behind you?

Complaints or compliments?

Jamie Williams replied to Freddy56 | 2 years ago

Hi Freddy56,

They do look more see-through on the manakin than in real life! I think they also pulled up a bit higher on me (sat just above the bum) below the horizontal seam on the rear is thicker material and according to riding buddies kept my remaining dignity intact. 


Latest Comments