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Pactimo's Flyte Bib Shorts are its most premiumly priced. They feel lovely next to the skin, they have a supportive feel, and the Elastic Interface pad works well for me. However, after testing two pairs, the stitching is not quite up to the job, making it hard to justify the price tag.
Check out our guide to the best cycling bib shorts for more options.
I've reviewed, and liked, Pactimo bib shorts with an Elastic Interface pad before, and rated them highly. When I first got my hands on these, I had high expectations. Pactimo says it's designed these to 'seem to disappear during your ride'. In a 'so comfortable' way rather than an 'Emperor's new clothes' way, you'll be pleased to read.
I'll start with the good stuff...
The recycled fabric that Pactimo has used for these shorts comes from a small mill near Milan and is specified on the label as 65% recycled nylon and 35% spandex for the main fabric, and 84% recycled polyester, 11% spandex and 5% polyester (by which it means non-recycled, presumably) for the upper part.
The fabric has a really nice, soft feel to it. It has just about enough stretch to take them on and off, though it's not quite as easy as other shorts with more stretchy fabric. But for me this is offset by how supportive these shorts feel; they have a compressive quality to them that I rate.
The upper is made from a mesh fabric – apart from the straps, which are made from what looks like the same fabric as the shorts part, with raw edges. These work well in hot weather without compromising on shoulder area comfort – no digging in or chafing to report.
The legs have a raw edge finish, with a two-inch strip of printed silicone grippers, and this combined with the shorts' tight fit means there's no danger of any movement whatsoever.
The chamois is made by Elastic Interface, and for these shorts Pactimo has specified its Road Performance Force line.
I get on well with Elastic Interface pads in general, and this is no exception. Combined with the tight fit and the compressive feel of the fabric, these bib shorts are supremely comfortable for hours on end.
Pactimo reports that 'it' has 'proven to be incredibly aerodynamic during extensive wind-tunnel tests'. Whether 'it' is the fabric or the shorts is left unspecified on Pactimo's website.
Either way, I don't have access to a wind-tunnel or any other way to measure aerodynamicity. Aero gains aren't that high up my list of priorities for shorts; I don't even shave my legs. However, it's always nice to know that they won't hold me back, aero-wise.
I'm normally a medium in non-Italian brands, and the medium waist measurements Pactimo publishes on its size guide are bang on what my tape measure says. For hip measurement, I'm a large, though Pactimo doesn't really specify where I should take the hip measurement.
Medium is what we have on test, and the shorts fit perfectly, by which I mean: nice and tight, don't move around, feel supportive.
You get a couple of pockets on your lower back, but unless you have the use of a race radio, I can't see what they might be useful for – jersey pockets are much easier to access.
As well as the charcoal version on test, the shorts are also available in black and olive.
While the fabric is not showing any signs of bobbling, which is good, the stitching is not faring so well unfortunately.
The outer stitching on the front of the left leg of the first shorts we had on test developed an inch-and-a-half section of unravelling. This wasn't a functional issue, as the inner stitching was still intact. Still, we contacted Pactimo, who promptly sent out a replacement pair, reassuring us that you would receive the exact same service, care of Pactimo's lifetime warranty, if you'd bought these shorts.
Unfortunately, the second pair began unravelling in the same kind of way, where the upper mesh joins the main shorts, in two places. One could argue I should have followed the care instructions to the letter, or that I should be super careful when putting them on and taking them off. However, I've been lucky enough to test quite a few pairs of bib shorts in this price bracket, of similarly tight construction, and have never had an issue before.
And at £205, these are not cheap; indeed, they are the most expensive in Pactimo's range.
That said, it's not outrageous for premium bib shorts, which is what these are – putting aside the stitching issue for a moment. MAAP's Training Bib 3.0s are only a tenner less at £195, and Gore Wear's Men's Distance Bib Shorts 2.0, as tested by Alex in July, are just a fiver less at £199.99.
On the flip side, you don't have to pay that much for decent bib shorts: Band of Climbers' Empire Bib Shorts cost significantly less at £115 and dhb's Aeron Bib Shorts 2.0, which Tom tested in May and thought were very good, are even cheaper at £80.
These shorts feel lovely next to the skin, the pad performs well, and the fabric's compressive/supportive qualities are just right. All of which makes for a pair of bib shorts that remain unnoticeable for hour after hour. It's such a shame that Pactimo seems to have issues with the stitching quality; it makes it very hard to recommend these at a price point over a couple of hundred quid, even if Pactimo will replace any shorts with issues such as these, care of its lifetime warranty.
Superb premium bib shorts that feel lovely next to the skin – shame about the stitching quality issues
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Men's Flyte Bibs
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pactimo says: "The featherweight Flyte Bib Short is has been designed to be so comfortable they'll seem to disappear during your ride. We like to think they are minimalistic perfection. Recycled fabric from a small mill outside Milan has beautiful, deep color and a lovingly soft hand feel. It has also proven to be incredibly aerodynamic during extensive wind-tunnel tests. Uppers have been constructed with lightweight, recycled mesh in the waist for maximum ventilation and supple, raw-edge straps for non-binding, long-distance comfort. We've also included raw-edge legs for a clean, elegant appearance. The Road Performance Force Chamois from the geniuses at Elastic Interface® is not only low-profile to reduce saddle interference during demanding race conditions but has been designed with muti-density support to ensure you'll stay comfortable over long distances. Two accessory pockets located on either side of the spine offer secure storage for race radios or other ride necessities."
The review has the details on how sections of outer stitching have come loose on both pairs of these I've tried.
Price-wise they're on a par with other premium bib shorts, but the stitching needs to be better quality to justify the money.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The care label says "Machine wash cold with mild detergent on delicate cycle. Do not bleach. Line dry only. Do not wring, iron or dry clean. Do not use fabric conditioner. Close zipper before washing. Wash with like colours only."
As I do with all the bib shorts I review, they went in the wash with everything else at 40 degrees. Apart from the stitching coming loose (which I don't think is due to washing), no ill effects to the fabric or the colour have ensued.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The bib shorts are comfortable, have just the right amount of compression and the pad works well too. Just a shame the stitching is not up to scratch.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad and the supportive feel of the fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The stitching coming loose.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're on a par with other premium bib shorts. We've reviewed plenty of bib shorts around this price point, as well as more expensive ones – see the main body of the review for details. On the other hand, dhb's Aeron Bib Shorts get a good review and they're a fair bit cheaper at £80.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, not after the stitching on the replacement shorts is showing signs of coming loose too.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your overall score
In many respects, these are excellent bib shorts. The fabric feel is right, the support is right, the cut is right and the pad is right. The fabric itself looks to be durable enough, and if it wasn't for the stitching quality issues, these would get an excellent score for me. It's such a shame that Pactimo seems to have issues with the stitching quality, although in Pactimo's defence the problem isn't terminal, it's just the outer stitching – and there is also the lifetime warranty, which should see you receive a replacement pair or a refund if you experience the same issues. But still, it makes it very hard to recommend these.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift