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review

La Passione Club Bib Shorts

4
£105.00

VERDICT:

4
10
Very comfortable summer bib shorts with a great fit, but potentially weak stitching is their (literal) undoing
Very comfortable
Excellent fit
Well-judged pad
Light fabric can darken with sweat
Pad shows pretty clearly
Cuff seam on our pair failed completely
Weight: 
195g

At road.cc 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.

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The La Passione Club Bib Shorts are very comfortable even on long rides thanks to a well-judged pad, great shaping and an ideal fit. The longish legs sit securely on wide silicone grippers, the mesh straps are airy with a finely judged tension, and construction is super-neat. This 'Iron' grey can show sweat if you're working really hard, but there are dark blue and black versions that shouldn't suffer the same issue.

These shorts originally scored 9/10, but not many riding hours after the test ended, one seam suffered a complete failure. Because of this, we're revising various elements of the review – not least, obviously, the durability side. See further below for more info.

La Passione says the Club shorts are a redesign of its previous Palmares shorts, and they certainly have the feel of a well-refined product. At the risk of sounding glib, you choose your size, put them on and ride away – that's all there is to it. They fit well everywhere, stay put whatever the tempo and keep you very comfortable.

> Buy these online here

The polyamide/elastane shorts section is well judged with a slightly compressive feel that helps with security. Broad, elasticated cuffs and silicone grippers fully 5.5cm wide do the rest in keeping the fairly long legs just where you put them.

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - gripper.jpg

That compressive feel also stops fabric bunching at the front as you ride, without ever feeling tight or restrictive.

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

For the straps the Club shorts turn to a very light polyester/elastane mesh that breathes well, while the elastic is plenty firm enough for support without ever dragging on your shoulders. Almost for this alone I love them – it doesn't actually take much to keep bib shorts up, and many feel over-elasticated (I have a relatively long torso, though, so maybe that's just me...).

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - back.jpg

The Elastic Interface pad works really well, with two very distinct thicknesses and a soft feel that resists compressing and firming up over time. After the first few rides and washes it developed quite a warp along the central front-to-back line, wanting to sit like a half-closed book, and I worried that would affect comfort. Put them on, though, and the warp doesn't change how it sits or performs.

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

The pad is pretty noticeable from behind, which may bother you – it's possible this light 'Iron' grey makes that worse and the darker colours (blue, black) do a better job of hiding it, but I can't say for sure. It seems very likely they wouldn't show the dark sweat patches that these do across the hips on hot rides, though. The marks do at least dry relatively quickly if you stand up.

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - back detail.jpg

The stitching throughout looks super-neat, while even the very light mesh sections feel perfectly robust. La Passione recommends a 'delicates' wash in a bag, or hand washing, but I've been throwing these in with everything else at 30 degrees and had no problems. Unless that's why the pad's warped, in which case – oops.

Stitching issues

It can't be why the stitching on one elasticated cuff has failed, as that has simply come undone (and no, my 30 degree sports washes don't include any Velcro).

2020-la-passione-club-bib-shorts-stitching.jpg

As you can see from the image above, there's no damage – the stitching has simply unravelled. This is a real shame, as these remain(ed) my favourite shorts as they're so comfortable. Though I'm updating this around nine months after the original review, these obviously stayed in the cupboard for the winter – they haven't actually had many more hours of use since the test ended.

We contacted the La Passione PR for comment, but as of now have had no reply. This could be a one off or a known issue, and it may well be covered under warranty, but whatever the case it's disappointing. I'll update that, too, should we hear back.

2020 La Passione Club Bib Shorts - strap detail.jpg

The fabric across the saddle still shows no sign of bobbling or wear, despite me wearing these for every single ride over a month. They do squeak against my saddle (a Fizik Antares R1) on occasion, but only when getting in or out of it, or sliding to one end from the other. They don't squeak under normal pedalling.

Beyond a few reflective tabs and logos, plus a subtle Italian flag (they are actually made in Italy), there's nothing more to say. And that's a good thing. They just work, and really well. Or at least they did.

> Buyer’s Guide: 42 of the best cycling bib shorts

At £105 the Clubs are firmly mid-market, and arguably where you get the best ratio of performance versus cost. They match the also-excellent Endura Pro SL Bib Shorts but beat them on price by £15, and beat the £10-cheaper Primal Trimotif Men's Evo 2.0 Bib by virtue of a far better pad. They also match the £115 Sportful Bodyfit Pro 2.0 LTD Bibshort in everything but the far less obtrusive looks of its pad.

Unfortunately, given the durability issue hanging over them, I can no longer say they're great value against any of these.

The La Passione Clubs combine great shorts with well-judged and lightweight straps and a well-judged pad to create – wait for it – a very well-judged piece of kit. They're comfortable, secure, perfectly good looking (until you stand up to sprint away) and really neatly built... but the stitching, at least on our pair, is weak.

I'm genuinely disappointed as these remain the most comfortable shorts (regarding both the pad and the overall fit) I've ever used, and just before this happened I was actually considering spending my own money on another pair (in black, though).

Despite all the positives, however, if they're not going to last a single complete summer, I just can't recommend them at all.

Verdict

Very comfortable summer bib shorts with a great fit, but potentially weak stitching is their (literal) undoing

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road.cc test report

Make and model: La Passione Club Bib Shorts

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

La Passione says: "We started redesigning and refining from our best-seller Palmares Bib Shorts and here's our ultimate pro-piece. Close fit through the leg and waist, with a soft and seriously support pad, you won't fear anymore the long rides."

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

La Passione lists:

Made in Italy.

Tailored Fit for an ideal position on the saddle.

Highly compressive main body fabric.

Elastic Interface® Pad.

7cm high Lycra laser raw-cut elastic fabric with inner silicone gripper.

White logo on the right leg.

Rear reflective stripe.

Weight 190g / 6,70oz.

Conditions: 7 - 28°C / 44,6 - 82,4°F.

Main Body: 78% Polyamide / 22% Elastane.

Braces: 94% Polyester / 6% Elastane.

Hydrophilic treatment.

Antibacterial and wicking treatment.

SPF UV 50+ sun protection factor.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
4/10

Effective silicone gripper, good fabrics and neat seams – unfortunately, those seams can fail.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Very comfortable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
2/10

Still look practically new – but the total failure of one cuff seam that's effectively written these off.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Spot on everywhere.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

Just right.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

You can get lighter bib shorts, but usually not by more than 20-30g. These feel light in use.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Comfortable pad, secure legs of a good length and comfortable, breathable straps.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

The price is mid-range, but there's no compromise on comfort – if they stayed together the value would be strong. These ones didn't.

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

No issue bar the pad starting to warp, though it doesn't affect them in use.

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

Extremely well (until they failed).

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfortable pad, excellent fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Failed stitching has left them useless.

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

At £105 they're in a sparsely populated bracket: the majority of shorts we test are significantly more or less expensive. They compare very well against the likes of Endura's £120 Pro SL Bib Shorts, Primal's £95 Trimotif Men's Evo 2.0 bibs or Sportful's £115 Bodyfit Pro 2.0 LTD, though.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Not unless I could be reassured about the stitching quality.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not as-is, no

Use this box to explain your overall score

The cut, sizing, construction, comfort and looks are all excellent, and they feel like they'll last... except it turned out that this pair, at least, did not. Originally I said they were everything you need, and a nine, but given their potentially suspect stitching and doubtful longevity, I can only now say they're below average and a four.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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