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The NVPA BIB/Short Navy is a high-quality piece of clothing aimed at performance riders, with compressive material and a close cut. It's based around a top-notch chamois from Elastane Interface, one of the most knowledgeable pad manufacturers in the marketplace, and they're hardly stupid money either.
In need the components for a high-quality pair of bibshorts, NVPA (Neon Velo Performance Apparel) has gone right to outside companies proven to know their onions.
First up, the fabric. NVPA specced an Italian-made, pre-dyed fabric from MITI Spa, a manufacturer well known in the industry – I've tested many pieces of kit using a whole range of their materials. Note the BIB/Shorts Navy also come in black or grey – you'll never guess what those ones are called...
The fabric used here has a compressive nature, which I find helps fit and reduces muscle fatigue on longer rides. It feels great against the skin, and the compression isn't so high it causes the flat-locked seams to dig into your legs over time. That's a good thing, as the BIB/Shorts don't lack for seams.
The multi-panel construction creates a fit that matches and moves with your body when on the bike, rather than just relying on the stretch of the material. I found no bunching of the fabric throughout the pedalling motion, for instance.
At the hem a large elasticated band stops the legs riding up, and the bib straps use a lightweight fabric with plenty of stretch for the front section. The rear is mesh, to aid breathability, and there's a radio pocket on the rear.
The straps have a good width to them, which spreads the load over your shoulders and creates much less pressure than you find on shorts with thinner ones.
The fit is classed as 'Italian Race' which means they'll suit those of you with very low body fat numbers. For the rest of us, you'll probably need to go up at least one size compared to many other UK brands on the market. I found NVPA's sizing guide to be about right though, so that should be your first point of reference.
Elastic Interface provides pads to many manufacturers, and this Road Performance Force option shows why that is. It's simpler-looking than most, doing away with many of the channels and sections found in other pads – many rely on basic firmness, so need them for relief.
Here the padding thickness tapers from the centre to the outside, and there is a central channel to reduce numbness.
Overall, I found these very comfortable and supportive, making them ideal for short blasts and longer rides alike. I never found bunching to be an issue, nor did I suffer with any hot spots against the saddle.
Priced at £145, the NVPAs aren't as hair-whiteningly expensive as some, considering how good their performance is. The Castelli Premio Black Bib Shorts were highly praised by George for all of the qualities the NVPAs offer, for instance, but those are £220.
It's the same with the MAAP Team Bib Evo shorts. I loved the fabric, the fit is great and they too feature a propriety pad created by Elastic Interface. They cost £190.
So, do the NVPAs offer good value? I say yes. Not only do they perform well against more expensive shorts, but they don't scrimp on quality either. They're very well made throughout, with neat stitching and absolutely no signs of wear or tear after around eight weeks of testing.
These bibs offer excellent quality, a great fit and arguably better value for money than the competition. There's not much more you can ask for.
Competitively priced for their excellent build quality, comfort and performance across every aspect
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road.cc test report
Make and model: NVPA BIB/Short Navy
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
NVPA says, "A lightweight pre-dyed bib short with stylish NVPA rubber print graphics. Developed using compressive fabric and lightweight mesh braces for added comfort. Includes our proven high-density Elastic Interface pads developed for male anatomy with a central channel improving blood flow and reducing pressure and numbness."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Italian pre-dyed MITI fabric
NVPA signature stamped Elastic Interface pad
Lightweight mesh bib braces for added comfort
NVPA rubber print graphics
Made in Italy
Sizing is true to NVPA's guide, but the race cut means you may need to size up compared to your usual brand.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues after plenty of washes throughout the test period.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very comfortable pair of shorts for both long and short rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There is nothing really to dislike, just keep an eye on the sizing.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're well under some top quality shorts, such as the MAAPs and Castellis I have mentioned in the reveiew. They are also cheaper, and arguably better performing, than something like Rapha's Classic bibshorts at £170.
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
NPVA's bibshorts match the performance and comfort of many of my favourite bibs out there, but at a much more competitive price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!