When it comes to bib shorts, our experience tells us that you tend to pay for what you get. The greater the cost, the higher the quality you tend to see, and given that bib shorts are a key component of comfortable riding, it’s one of the first places we’d spend our hard-earned cash.
That said, there are great value deals to be had, and Kalf’s Flux Chevron bib shorts certainly fit the bill, performing well above the £84.99 price tag.
Central to the shorts is the chamois – an ‘Elastic Interface Flux’ pad – which is both relatively wide and well-cushioned for comfort. It makes use of a high-density foam without adding too much thickness to the construction, which means that it’s able to distribute pressure well.
It has two sections: a lightly-padded border attached to a denser central portion, which is a simple design in itself, but no less effective for it. While I tend to like pads that have multiple gradings of foam density, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by how effective this simple construction was. Through anything from short coffee runs to century rides, it’s well up to the task of keeping you protected.
That said, it’s not the coolest chamois around. On our warmest days this summer, when of course I’ve made a beeline for the bike, I’ve used the Flux Chevron bibs and found them to be a little toasty.
Not uncomfortably so, but if you tend to run hot or sweat a lot in the nether regions, it’s worth bearing this in mind. Certainly, the silicone-infused Dolomiti pad we’ve seen with the Le Col Pro bibs also on test at the moment is a standard-setter in this regard.
Still, the cut of the bibs is well-considered for summer riding, with a medium-to-short length leg and flat-stitched panels that provide a comfortable level of compression around the thigh. The textured grippers at the hems, which mirror the chevron style of the Flux Chevron jersey, are comfortable, and are reinforced with slightly more compression than you find further up the leg.
At the same time, the lycra itself is cool when riding in warm weather and more than capable of wicking moisture away, while I found that it’s very quick to dry if you’re caught in showers.
Once the shorts are removed, you’re left with a few marks on your legs from the seams where they’ve compressed into the skin, but on the flipside there’s no chafing to speak of, and – this could be totally subjective – I felt it helped keep my legs slightly fresher than they otherwise might have been after lengthy rides.
At this point it’s worth mentioning overall quality, because while the fabrics are excellent and have returned well in the wash on the whole, I’ve found the adhesive that sticks the leg gripper panel to the inside of the thigh fabric has, unfortunately, started to come loose and peel away. In practice, it’s not the end of the world because the fabric remains periodically anchored at the seams, but it’s a small indicator of an area that could use a little improvement on the part of Kalf.
Kalf logos and branding are present and add some reflectivity while remaining subtle. The bib section, meanwhile, features a nice continuation of the design of the jersey, complete with coral centrepiece on the rear. For the record, it distributes tension as effectively as any across the shoulders.
Aside from a few details – the arguably slightly warm nature of the chamois, and a little question mark over build quality in the leg gripper construction – Kalf’s Flux Chevron bib shorts are a great value garment that perform to a higher level than that price tag would suggest.
Simple but well-padded chamois
Effective fabric compression
Pad lacks a little breathability
Some adhesive has started to come loose after many uses
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