The Velocio Women's Foundation bib shorts are marketed as a premium product at a more affordable price; they are supremely comfortable but are let down slightly by the endurance of the new lightweight recycled fabric they are made from.
These entry-level bib shorts are designed to offer a lot of the features of the more spendy of the company's products without the financial outlay.
The fabric is a lightweight recycled blend, with a pleasingly opaque finish (no transparency here). The straps are broad and well shaped and give a good level of comfort without digging in, and the leg grippers are effective and, again, broad so as to not pinch the flesh of the legs – both are the same as found on Velocio's more expensive Signature bib shorts.
The chamois pad is a good shape and contours comfortably around the body. These shorts are intended for rides of shorter duration or intensity, and the chamois was more than adequate for that purpose. I found the shorts to be comfortable and unobtrusive on fairly hilly rides of a couple of hours as well as slightly longer, flatter rides.
Many female riders find bib shorts to be the most comfortable option, with no waistband to dig in, and no chance of migration while riding. And yet this is balanced by the issue of comfort breaks. Having to strip off your upper layers and bare your behind to the world in order to have a pee puts many women off.
These bibs seek to address that issue with what Velocio terms its 'FlyFree' system. This involves a super-stretchy back panel which is designed to be pulled down and forward, without needing to take off the upper bib portion, to bare just the, well, bare minimum. The design has been tested for endurance and the fabric designed accordingly.
I was a little nervous about the notion of just hauling down the back of the shorts to start with, but they did behave as they should, although in order to get the position entirely right, with no risk of landing on your back or side curled up tightly like a pretzel, it does take some practice and faith.
When riding, the recycled fabric of the shorts is supportive, comfortable and wicks moisture well. The mesh panel at the front allows for a good blend of modesty with ventilation. However, for hygiene reasons I'm always inclined to wash cycling shorts in a biological wash (at 30 degrees) unless explicitly stated otherwise, and that's exactly what I did with these (Velocio doesn't stipulate not use biological detergent) and the mesh panel at the front started to suffer straight away, after just the first wash.
The shorts continue to be perfectly usable and structurally OK, but the damage to the elastic fibres is visible and I fear for the future of the mesh fabric panel in the long run. We're sending the shorts back to Velocio, to see if the company can get to the bottom of it, and will update the review if necessary. (Our contact at Veloccio has told us this hasn't happened with any other test pairs that use the same materials, nor have any customers brought it to the company's attention as an issue.)
Although these are less expensive than Velocio's other bib shorts, and many others on the market – such as the £176 Ashmei Women's Cycle Bib Short and the Liv Signature Bib Shorts at £125 – it does feel like there have been some compromises with fabric quality which could impact on the product's value for money.
Overall, I'd have to say that despite these being very comfortable, there are better value shorts at this price point for the more budget-conscious cyclist, such as the Altura Women's Firestorm Bib Shorts at £79.99.
Comfortable and well-designed bib shorts but with some durability issues
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Velocio Women's Foundation bib short
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
The aim is to deliver good features at the more budget conscious end of the market, and for shorter duration rides.
Velocio says, 'We took the same great fit and comfort and sought where we could make the bib short more affordable without generally compromising quality. A new lightweight, recycled fabric gives balanced compression and an opaque finish. With the same bib straps, leg gripper and trims found on the Signature and a high-density chamois, these shorts provide excellent support in a slightly thinner form - perfect for shorter distances or the mid-week lunch ride. Also incorporated is the latest iteration of our pee-break functionality, the FlyFree. With all that packed in, the Foundation is a premium bib short at a not-so-premium price.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Velocio lists these features:
78% Recycled nylon fabric with Extra Life Lycra: balanced compression & breathability, comfort and longevity
High Gauge for excellent recovery and second skin fit
5-Panel design: anatomically cut, compressive and supportive to enhance performance
Foundation chamois, developed with Elastic Interface for excellent mid-distance comfort & support
FlyFree: the latest generation of our pee-break functionality without removing jersey, helmet or glasses. No more zipper, no compromises.
The main body recycled fabric was excellent, supportive and comfortable, but the mesh panel at the front suffered badly in washing very quickly.
Seams were badly finished in some places inside.
Comfortable and effective during a variety of rides.
The mesh panel suffered after the very first wash in biological detergent (no mention on label of not using this for hygiene) at the temperature stated.
Well shaped and with good features such as broad stretchy straps at the bib and wide leg grippers make for a good fit.
Fit was spot on for the size stated and very accommodating of a variety of body shapes.
Not intended to be super-lightweight but far from hefty.
Very comfortable indeed. Good chamois for shorter and mid-length rides.
Not badly priced, but bearing in mind the possible durability issues it feels like you can get better value for your money elsewhere.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Responded badly to biological wash, at 30 degrees, even though not stated that this was not recommended. Mesh panel at front of shorts suffered after only first wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well. Comfortable and unobtrusive shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Matt opaque fabric, bib straps and mesh panel, comfortable chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Durability of mesh panel fabric, slightly tricky "Flyfree" system for pee breaks.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Altura's Women's Firestorm Bib Shorts offer better value, but the price compares well with the likes of Ashmei's Women's Cycle Bib Short and the Liv Signature Bib Shorts – and Velocio's own other shorts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly, but tell them not to use biological washing liquid.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Not as expensive as some, and good performance, but durability is a concern, making them feel like less good value for money overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.