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The Velocio Concept bib shorts offer a sublimely comfortable ride, the fit is excellent, and then there's that £228 price tag...
Yes, it's a lot to spend, there's no getting around that. However, if I was told I had unlimited money to spend on improving the comfort of riding, bib shorts would be the first place I'd look. Bib shorts can make a massive difference to not only how a ride feels but also how you perform, and these are the most comfortable I've ever worn.
The Concepts are some of the most expensive we've tested, but designs around this price are becoming more common. Only last month Stu tested the 7mesh RK1 bib shorts that cost £200, and for £180 and £190 respectively, Katusha's Icon and Pearl Izumi's Pro bib shorts received excellent reviews.
Can they ever be worth it? I'd argue that yes, they can, but you probably have to be putting in a lot of miles and they have to be exceptionally good. The Concepts are, I'm happy to say, exceptionally good.
Pulling them on for the first time and it's immediately noticeable how few seams there are, as there's very little to grab to pull them up. Once they're on it's an extremely nice place to be – the material feels high quality, the legs are compressive without feeling restrictive, and the bib straps are so comfortable it's easy to forget they're even there.
As the Concept bibs are compressive they are going to be quite tight; I'm a medium in nearly all brands of shorts and these mediums fit me well, but if you have less of a 'climber' build then they could well feel too tight on the legs. If you're borderline on sizes I'd recommend going up rather than down.
Arguably the most important component of a pair of bib shorts is the pad, and it's clear to see that a lot of thought has gone into the one in the Concept shorts. Velocio says that it has used an entirely new construction combining high-density foam, anti-vibration inserts and a shaped, anatomically moulded contour with exceptional breathability.
What's more, it's designed to 'float' in the bibs so that it doesn't get dragged around by your shorts or saddle as you're pedalling. Although I wouldn't go as far as to say the pad is revolutionary, it is one of the most comfortable I've used and really comes into its own on endurance rides. This float is possible as the pad is only stitched to the shorts at the front and rear – the easiest way to describe it is to imagine a hammock. Assos has a similar system with its 'goldenGate' technology as used in its T.FF_1Shorts_S7 and T.Works teamshorts.
For me the pad is neither too small nor too big. It's thick enough for long rides but at the same time is well suited to an aggressive position. I find that some pads – even on expensive shorts – seem to be excessive and come down the legs a little, leading to the 'diaper' effect. I realise that everyone's body is different, but for me at least the pad design really works.
The bib straps are also extremely comfortable. They're lightweight and provide enough support without any discomfort on the shoulder. Once again seams have been kept to a minimum with laser cut raw edges, which really helps to eliminate pressure points.
The holes you can see in the bib back panel are also laser cut and help with the breathability of the shorts. I did some hot, high intensity climbs with no complaints – not about the bib shorts anyway.
The microfibre bands at the bottom of each leg feel tacky and help to avoid any unwanted movement, although as I mentioned earlier the compressive legs are tight enough that they weren't going far anyway.
Overall, I can't fault the comfort or quality of the Concept bib shorts – in fact, they're probably the most comfortable I've ever used. However, that price tag is hard to swallow. Maybe if I'd had more trouble with cheaper shorts then I'd be more inclined to make the investment, but they're nearly £100 more than the dhb Aeron Lab Raceline bibs which, for me, do the job of 200-mile weeks perfectly well.
As with nearly everything, improvements get incrementally smaller the more you spend. If you want the pinnacle in quality and comfort, the Concept bibs are the best I've used, and if money's no object then I'd highly recommend them. I'll have to wait for a win on the lottery.
High quality and supremely comfortable... exceptional shorts but they’ll cost you
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Velocio Men's Concept Bib Short
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for
Velocio says, 'The CONCEPT Bib Short is the evolution of our now much-beloved bib shorts, a race-ready design aimed at the highest levels of performance. This is what a pro rider would wear if they could buy their own bibs. With a new chamois developed exclusively for the CONCEPT bib shorts using several techniques, this pad is designed to 'float' as its totally integrated into the patterning of the short, meaning fewer seams and chafe points, and a more fluid pedaling motion.
'This new design means the chamois stays in place while you pedal, conforming to your body and matching your every move. From the outside, it's the cleanest and most streamlined bib short available on the market today and sets a new standard for what's possible for high performance cycling apparel.
'In addition to the proprietary pad, new straps, leg grippers and an aero construction mixing fabrics with complimentary compression for the ultimate performing bib short.
'The result is more than a pinnacle product, it's a concept: there is a better way.'
The Concept shorts have excelled on both long and short rides and are some of the comfiest bibs I've ever worn, these are for people who put in serious mileage and are prepared to pay for the very best.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Two fabrics carefully positioned to maximize breathability and balance compression.
Minimal seams and laser cut ventilation
Microfiber leg gripper and aerated bib straps
Proprietary invisible chamois design provides unmatched performance and friction-free comfort
New race-fit patterning provides our most articulated fit
Large team-inspired reflective logos
The laser-cut bibs and perforations are perfect; the stitching is excellent as are the materials.
They're breathable and sublimely comfortable.
Stitching feels robust and there's no marking of the bibs after about 1,000km.
The pad fits me perfectly, it's neither too big nor too small, the bib straps also fit perfectly, and the shorts are a nice length for summer riding.
The compressive legs are tight; they fit me well but someone with less weedy legs might find they come up a little small.
The comfiest I've worn.
Even among the expensive shorts we've tested these are pretty pricey, and some £100 cheaper shorts are only marginally not as good... it's up to you whether those marginal gains are worth it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I've had no issues at the recommended 30-degree wash – or accidental 40-degree wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly; for me these really are the pinnacle of performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort on long rides, "floating" pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I didn't dislike anything, but if I was to buy them it'd be the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are some of the most expensive shorts we've tested. Stu really liked the 7mesh RK1 Bib Shorts which appear to be quite similar and cost £200, and for £180 and £190 respectively, Katusha's Icon and Pearl Izumi's Pro bib shorts received excellent reviews.
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
These are a brilliant pair of shorts that I can't fault for comfort or quality. If money's no object there's really nothing not to like here, and you could consider them a 10 – but when you can get shorts that are almost as good for a hundred quid less, it's hard to justify full marks. They're exceptional, but they are expensive.
About the tester
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,