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The Katusha Icon Bib Shorts are very impressive, with material that wicks really well and keeps you cool into the high 20s. The pad takes a bit of wearing in, but after a few rides I'd say it's up there with the best.
Although Katusha offers a lightweight Nano model specifically for hotter conditions, I would be more than happy to wear the Icons in the heat, as I found the material moderated my body temperature well.
Katusha uses 37.5 thermoregulation technology in the mesh fabric at the lower front and centre of the back, which helps. The idea behind this technology is that it will keep your body at its core temperature of 37.5 degrees, warming you up if you're cold, or cooling you down if you're warm. (You can read more about it here.)
Although I didn't use the shorts in genuinely cold conditions – the lowest was around 12°C – I did use them up to around 28 degrees and found that they performed well, quickly moving moisture away from the skin, keeping my temperature well regulated and my legs nice and cool.
According to Katusha the shorts use a '3D Body Fit suspender design' – essentially, panels that have been cut to reduce bunching at the top of the hip. It works, too – I didn't notice any kind of irritating bunching or folding, and it's something I do find happens quite often when deep into a long ride, particularly if it's hot and your shorts get sweaty.
Helping with the fit is a slightly longer leg than typical, combined with a 5cm strip of silicone gripper, which keeps everything in place regardless of how hot and sweaty you are.
Katusha has used an Evo 3D Pad in the shorts, which has a '3D construction' at the front and multi-density pads towards the back. It took me a few hours in the saddle to 'break it in', but since then I've found it very comfortable. It isn't quite at the top-end Assos levels, for me, but isn't far off.
It also has a micro-fleece covering, which puts a soft surface where it's appreciated, and as this also helps to wick moisture it's useful for moving sweat away from here too. This was clearly an area of focus for Katusha as the word 'genitalia' appears more often than I've ever seen in relation to the tech in a pair of bib shorts.
Another good thing about the pad is that it's fairly eco-friendly, with recycled material used in the mid layer, and quicker decomposition at the end of its life.
The straps start fairly low on the shorts, which helps with breathability and keeping you cool – as well as making loo breaks easier. The straps are each a single piece of mesh that runs from the top of the leg at the front to the top of the leg at the back. They provide a decent amount of stretch, allowing for a variety of upper body sizes.
Connecting the straps at the back is that 37.5 tech mesh, allowing for good airflow and heat regulation.
With an RRP of €200, which currently equates to around £180, they're squarely in the high-performance band. They're still cheaper than some – Rapha's Pro Team bibs come in at £195; the pad in those is size specific, and David's review suggests it offers a little more give from the off. Pearl Izumi's Pro Bib Shorts, which Adam looked at a couple of months ago, also come in slightly more expensive at £189.99.
Overall I was really impressed with these bib shorts. They are very good quality, with a well-thought-out design and construction, and the material choice keeps you cool and comfortable. The pad takes a few rides to break in, but that's a small price to pay for what you get in return.
High-quality bib shorts with very good heat regulation, effective wicking, and a great fit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Katusha Icon Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
They are high-performance bib shorts designed for warm and hot weather riding.
Katusha says, 'The ICON Redefined. Featuring new ergonomic line technology working in synergy with TM Evo 3D Pad, stronger yet lighter fabric construction, and 3D Body Fit suspender design, the ICON Bib Shorts set a new benchmark in all-day comfort.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Katusha says this on its website:
Ergonomic Line Technology in our bib shorts has been developed to achieve two goals: increase the volume of the cup at the front and minimise the folding effect on the sides of the hips during the activity. Through the strategic cutting of the fabric we were able to develop an optimum shape of the short which substantially enhances comfort for male genitalia and virtually eliminates folding of the fabric around the hips.
To complement the shaping of the ICON Bib Shorts we have developed the EVO 3D Pad. Front section of the pad features 3D construction which allows for increased volume and improved comfort while updated and extremely soft fabric next to the skin enhances the overall feel. The Evo 3D Pad has been created using TMirror project which creates a smooth surface next to your skin to eliminate chafing while updated middle layer of the pad features recycled material construction and ensures faster decomposition times at the end of the product life cycle.
Updated Linear Structured Knit fabric and slightly longer leg construction with wide elasticated band of the ICON Bib Short allowed us to increase durability, improve the premium feel and ensure the correct long-term fit.
3D Body Fit Bib design follows the natural lines of rider's physique and conforms to a variety of upper body shapes and sizes to eliminate pressure points, create uniform feel and ensure optimum comfort during long days in the saddle, while elasticated mesh strap construction combined with 37.5 Degrees Superlight Fabric on the lower front and centre back of the bib optimises breathability.
Extremely technical and incredibly comfortable, the ICON Bib Shorts are perfect for riding in any conditions, all seasons, and by any type of rider. Developed and tested in the Pro Peloton, designed for You.
Ergonomic Line Technology.
37.5® superlight mesh on the lower front and upper center back.
Elasticated mesh straps.
3D body fit bib construction.
Durable linear structured knit fabric on the legs.
TM EVO 3D pad.
Recycled Material in the pad's mid layer.
Wide elasticated band on the legs.
Stretch round stitching.
Very well made with tight stitching throughout and good quality fabric.
Performed very well throughout the review offering good heat management, a comfortable pad once broken in, and an effective fit.
All good so far. The stitching is tight, the material is a decent thickness, and the straps are thick and unlikely to lose their stretch.
Excellent fit – the different panel design is really effective in keeping everything in place.
The medium I tried fitted as I would expect a medium to fit.
The pad takes a little wearing in; after that they are a very comfortable pair of shorts, ideal for long distance.
They certainly aren't cheap, but compared to others in the same price band they're relatively good value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy, just stick them in at 30 and line dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They performed very well. They're very comfortable on long rides, with good wicking and effective temperature regulation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The way everything stayed in place; it's not something that you really notice on other bib shorts, but the absence of even slight folds was impressive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Rapha's Pro Team bibs come in at £195, while Pearl Izumi's Pro Bib Shorts are £189.99.
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
A very impressive pair of high-performance bib shorts, offering very good heat regulation, effective wicking, and an excellent fit.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.