Bib-shorts, for the creative kit designer, don’t really give too much to go at.
The cycling fraternity demands largely plain black shorts, perhaps with the odd stripe or simple design feature, and nothing more.
Colours are prevalent in the pro peloton, where the red of Katusha and the brown of AG2R La Mondiale are accepted, if not loved, exactly. But wear red or brown out on your local roads and you’d better be quick.
Quick enough that anyone criticising you is immediately undermined by your physical superiority. Or, ideally, so quick that you are nothing more than a blur of indeterminate colour, rendering mockery impossible.
So, when reviewing a pair of bib-shorts like this offering from Aussie kit makers Find Your Freedom, it’s mainly about how comfortable they are on the bike. Beyond that, extra marks are available for how stylish they’ve managed to go within the strict confines available.
Let’s start with those additional style points.
They’ve gone for the smooth Lycra with mesh-like side panel approach, giving a slightly two-tone look and feel. It’s one of the tools in the bib-short designer’s arsenal, and it’s done well.
Then, there is the light blue single-stripe-single-leg trick.
Again, nicely done.
Here’s the smart thing about that; the Tequila Sunrise jersey that I tested has discreet light blue patches beneath the arms. These are a quiet counterpoint to the sheer orange-y/redness of the jersey – but then they match the blue of the shorts.
Worn together you have a look which is all about the bright sunrise colours, but it’s the light blue that threads the two items together and seals the deal style-wise.
A pair of bib shorts with a single orange-y red tequila sunrise stripe would have been less subtle and less stylish. They would have matched, but there is a difference between matching and looking good.
The other style point to make regards leg length.
I tested the size Medium and although the bibs fit me well – the straps, torso, etc. are snug and comfortable – I found the legs to be on the short side for my taste.
I like legs which grip fairly close to the knee, where these ride slightly higher up; what I think of as ‘Italian-style.’
Nothing wrong with that; each their own, and they are made in Italy, after all.
In terms of general comfort – the crux of any decent pair of shorts – I will caveat this, as I do every time I review shorts, by saying that it’s a very personal thing.
But here’s what I thought.
I pulled them on, jumped on the bike, and found that there was no hutching–up or rearranging required to get the shorts and the padding sitting in the right place.
With cheaper, less well designed shorts, they can feel as if they were made with someone else’s body in mind, but there was none of that. ‘Anatomically tailored’, is how FYF describe them.
Whilst out riding I found the padding comfortable, and with no rubbing or chafing; and lets be honest, rubbing and/or chafing is no-ones idea of a good time.
The other thing with bib-shorts, though, is that any assessment of comfort is always relative to the price tag.
I have owned and worn shorts which retail up towards the £200 mark and which offer levels of comfort and quality of padding which is frankly implausible – I’ve owned armchairs that are less comfortable than my best pair of bib-shorts.
That kind of money doesn’t guarantee armchair-comfort but, spent wisely, it can.
These shorts are not in that bracket, but neither do they cost £200. They come in at around £99 and at that price they are hard to fault. The all-round fit lifts them above the cheaper options out there, and the padding and wear-ability are good.
Time will tell how well they bed in over the months and years, but on the face of it the ‘Bibestiques’ are a solid and stylish piece of kit.
Disclaimer: The pictures are not me. My upper body doesn’t look like that. To quite an alarming degree.