By Colin Dennis
Sizes: XS S M L XL XXL
Size tested: M
If you’re in the market this summer for a pair of lightweight and race-worthy bib shorts that don't compromise on either performance or comfort, then the excellent Gran Fondo Bib Shorts from Craft are just the ticket.
Even if you’ve never heard of Craft, as a road cyclist I’m pretty sure you will have heard of the Aussie based pro-peloton racing team ‘Orica GreenEDGE’ who among others, boast Adam and Simon Yates in their squad.
So, you can guess where I’m coming from here? If Craft kit is good enough for Team Orica GreenEDGE, then it’s going to be good enough for us mere mortals … if you’ve got the cash to spare, that is. £105 isn’t cheap, but can you put a price on comfort during a gruelling six hour ride?
First-up, Craft’s Gran Fondo Bib Shorts are incredibly lightweight and are constructed from three main elements: multi-panelled Lycra bottoms, top of the range C2 padded insert, and teabag-thin mesh uppers that provide the snug fitting upper torso and shoulder straps.
The many panels that make up the bottoms, or 'shorts' of the Gran Fondo Bibs certainly help to maintain the snug fit and provide the high comfort levels involved. The more panels, the better the fit and shape retention. This is obviously more time consuming to produce and therefore more expensive to make. Hence the high price tag, but you don't get this level of kit for nothing.
You do get a strong sense of less is more (LIM) with the Gran Fondo Bib Shorts: less material, less weight, more comfort, more expensive sort of thing. They maybe gossamer-like in the weight department, but are strong as a spiders web (relatively speaking) when it comes to long-term durability and toughness.
The Gran Fondo Bib Shorts have gone through about forty machine washes since we've beed testing them, and thankfully they still look and perform like new.
The upper mesh is also very lightweight, fits comfortably over the shoulders, and swiftly transports sweat away from the body out to your cycle jersey and out into the fresh air.
The weave of the fabric that makes up the upper mesh is teabag-thin, but this just adds to the high values of comfort and continues to remain so as when we first pulled the Gran Fondo Bibs out of the packet.
The Infinity C2 chamois insert is one of the best inserts we've had the pleasure of sitting on. The multi-density foam is thicker where you need it most, in the centre, and then thins out towards the outer edges.
No doubt, the Gran Fondo Bib Shorts are what Tean Orica GreenEDGE are wearing to great success and rightly so, they continue to remain comfortable, snug and performance driven regardless how many washes thy've been though - always a good sign of great cycling apparel!
In summary: top of the line cycling apparel from Craft, the Gran Fondo Bib Shorts are one of the lightest and most comfortable performance bib shorts that I’ve used in a very long time.
Lightweight, but the tough and durable construction is backed up by the softest and ‘kindest to the nether-regions’ inserts to date – blissful cycling!