Sportful Giara bib shorts - review - Road Cycling UK

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Legwear

Sportful Giara bib shorts – review

Reliable and comfortable shorts for long stints in the saddle

We first tried Sportful’s gravel-specific Giara kit on the white gravel roads of Strade Bianche – with all the implications for comfort that entails, before getting them in for a full review on home roads.

And though we can’t replicate the long, gravel sections of Tuscany on our local training route, anything less than supreme comfort from the chamois and bib as a whole would be a disappointment. Thankfully, Sportful impress once again.

– Sportful Giara jersey review –

The centrepiece of the Giara bib shorts is the redesigned BodyFit Pro pad, which has been perforated in the top section of padding for added breathability and stay-dry comfort. It also benefits from a graded design that manages to keep the bulk of the overall chamois down, while still providing cushioning at the key areas.

The Sportful Giara bib shorts are excellent all-round shorts

That’s important for long rides when svelte all-day performance is needed, but be under no illusions: while not the thickest I’ve ever ridden in, it’s certainly well-proportioned in the right areas for maximum comfort.

  • Specification

  • Price: £75.00
  • Sizes: XS-XXXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Black/green; black/blue
  • Website: Sportful

There’s no spare fabric rubbing or chafing around the crotch area, while the pad stays cool even under heavy duress.

That included a long ride in the recent warm spell we’ve had in the UK, as well as a series of short commutes and an intense, hour-long turbo session. You might think the turbo session isn’t relevant, but seeing as there’s no escape from pedaling and spending the vast majority of your time in the saddle, along with the sweatiness it naturally leads to, it’s a valid test of chamois performance. No worries, though – it passed my test with flying colours.

Elsewhere, there are other comfortable features, such as a textured gripper around the thigh that mirrors that used in the Giara jersey waistband, as well as a supportive (if not compressive) fabric on the legs.

On top of this, flat internal stitching keeps chafing in this area to an absolute minimum too, regardless of how you use the shorts. I’d be happy to don them for a chilled all-day gravel excursion, or indeed during a hard-ridden sportive and everything in between.

The cut is a touch longer than your race-cut bib shorts, as you might expect, but that’s no bad thing. In fact, in the changeable UK weather, the little extra coverage feels like a real bonus (much like Rapha’s Pro Team winter bib shorts offer).

Throw in the fact that the outer surface has received a little DWR treatment that helps bead water away – interestingly, without ruining the breathability factor – and you’re onto a winner.

The bib section rises a little higher than the lightest bib shorts, covering your belly button, yet they’re not too hot to use, even in the stress pit of a turbo session. It leads me to confidently think that I’d be happy to use them all summer, in addition to the springtime test period.

Despite using a medium size during testing – a normal size for me – I did find the straps themselves to be a touch tighter than normal over the shoulders. Nevertheless, they remain comfortable and distribute the tension across the shoulders effectively; I’m aware they’re there, but not uncomfortably so. The mesh section also offers a little layer of coverage to the upper back too. Some may like it, others may prefer a full cut out for hot weather, but I had no issues.

The bib straps are made from a mesh fabric

Through the wash, they return just as well as the matching jersey – which is to say, very well with no shrinkage or loss in quality of finish – and match up nicely with the jersey too in terms of style. I’m a fan of asymmetric designs in my cycling kit, and the little flouro green band in my test pair around the left leg really sets them off when worn with said jersey.

Conclusion

Like the Sportful Giara jersey we’ve also reviewed, the accompanying Giara bib shorts are strong all-rounders that you can use pretty much how you like. Given the frankly excellent value for such competent kit (they’re available for just £75), it makes buying the complete jersey and shorts set a really valid option.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Comfortable grippers
  • Top quality BodyFit chamois
  • Perfect complement to Sportful Giara jersey

Cons

  • A little tighter over the shoulders than normal

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