Tehcnical bib shorts: Kitwatch's best selects

This content was produced by Hamish Kirkpatrick from Kitwatch, a Melbourne rider and aficionado with his finger firmly on the pulse of the finest in cycling kit. Kitwatch articles will feature kit reviews, trend spotting, tech updates and style advice featuring brands from all around the globe, with a focus on new, distinctive and innovative design.

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Every year, we see a range of new technological advancements in cycling wear and fabric development. I always love researching and then trying out these new products and advancements, and below is a list of a few that have really stood out this past year. Some I have chosen for their cutting-edge technology, others for innovation that thinks outside the box, while some are in the mix because they strike a balance with clever tech and just looking damn cool.

 

Pedla G+ Superfit bib shortsInvisible leg gripper

These bib shorts really caught my eye when they were first released, simply because they looked so damn sleek and clean. The leg grippers are laser cut and seamless (but still with invisible, sticky silicone grip), creating the look of one continuous piece of fabric with minimal joining lines. Lines this smooth are a massive tick for me, as they create a nice clean, streamlined look.

These look great as black or navy shorts, but also work super well as an all-over print (see the ever-popular WildCamo version). The material isn’t affected by the print and doesn’t look weird by having two patterns sewn together awkwardly.

Luckily these shorts also hold up in the fit department, with good compression, a nice cut and quality material.

Style tip: One of my favourite looks from this Pedla collection is their WildCamo knicks paired with a contrasting orange top as seen in the header image above.

Q36.5 – Dyneema

My most recent feature was all about Q36.5, their amazing kit and my recent visit to their headquarters in Bolzano, northern Italy. A real point of interest for me was seeing Q36.5’s use of Dyneema, an incredible fabric from the future, used in everything from super lightweight hiking gear, to motorcycle denim and Kevlar vest replacements. I first noticed Dyneema a few years back when Giant-Alpecin used it in their bib shorts to help protect from crashes and road-rash.

At the time I was skeptical; how could something that protective be breathable or comfortable? But it was really interesting to hear Luigi Bergamo, from Q36.5 hail Dyneema not only for its protective qualities but also for its conductivity and thermo-regulation properties. He spoke about how extremely lightweight the fabric is (these bib shorts weigh less than 150 grams!) and its superior grip. As well as having padding on the hips, Q36.5 also places Dyneema under the pad area to help maintain good saddle position. It does add some expense, but man, is this fabric amazing.

A more affordable Q36.5 option: Still want a great bib short on the not-so-pricey side? The fabrics might not be as futuristic, but the Q36.5 Salopette L1 Essential uses the same high-end ‘fusion technology’ chamois and has super comfortable bib-straps.

 MAAP Team Bib Short 2.0 – Anatomical fit

What I love about MAAP’s approach to its Team Bib Short 2.0 is the focus on new and popular designs in saddle construction, plus their matching of chamois to that new saddle shape. It’s a simple but brilliant idea that was brought to life by one of the best bike fitters in the game, Ken Ballhaus from Adaptive HP. Bringing someone like Ken on to help create an anatomically correct and supportive cycling pad was a very smart move. This is a guy who endlessly studies body movement and position, and saddle effectiveness, so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff.

A strong look from MAAP: Match MAAP’s navy or black bibs with one of their dark (forest) green jerseys. Dark green would have to be my favourite kit colour of 2018.

 Bonus feature – Endless Fast bib shorts – +4-inch length

These might not be as technically distinct as some of the other bib shorts I’ve listed here, but they are well thought out, compressive, have silicon bib straps and importantly, are 4 inches longer than most standard-fit bib shorts. Two things are at work here: for all those lanky long-legged people who fit into small sizes (shout-out to my people!), these will help you steer clear of an unwanted hot pants look. For everyone else, they’re a good option for that long leg length look.

The important thing to note with all of these shorts is that beyond the innovative tech, they are functional and comfortable. Plus, they look good. There’s nothing worse than design with unnecessary tech just thrown in. Thankfully, with these options, the tech is both considered and functional.