There might be no item in the cyclist’s kit bag that’s more important to get right than bib-shorts. On a long ride, the quality of that point of contact between your rear end and saddle can be the difference between four or five hours of cycling heaven, or simple masochism.
It’s not just a case of buying shorts with the thickest padding possible – if that’s your plan you may as well just bring along a nice cushion and plonk that down on your bike saddle. Good padding needs to have a certain firmness to withstand the rigours of the road, and it needs to pad in the right areas.
It’s also very important that no other part of the shorts rubs or chafes.
Oh, and it’s always nice if they look good too.
It’s fair to say a decent pair of bib-shorts has a lot of boxes to tick. So, how does this offering from fresh new Irish brand Tadaias measure up?
Among many cyclists if you venture an opinion on shorts which are anything other than solid black you’d better tread carefully. It’s widely accepted that white shorts are unforgivable and beyond that, you wear shorts of any other colour at your peril. These Tadaias bibs fall into that category of black, but with a bit of a flourish – in the form of the double red and white stripe on one leg.
It’s two-thirds of a French flag, and I reckon it looks great.
Stripes on cycling kit often look slightly retro – nothing wrong with that – but here they look modern and just the right side of flashy. Not needy and attention seeking, but a quiet statement of style. Rapha have the single stripe, which works, and Tadaias have the double stripe, which looks even better. The other leg features the ‘Tadaias’ branding which personally, I could live without, but it’s not enough to spoil things.
The legs are long-ish, with a wide gripper strip which doesn’t feel particularly sticky but seems to hold the legs suitably in place – we can’t have our tan lines spoilt by moveable short length now, can we?
The general cut of the shorts is fairly tight and I imagine pretty unforgiving if you’re carrying any excess timber. I’m a pretty standard large in most cycling kit – not quite skinny – and found the fit perfect in a racy and sleek kind of way.
The over shoulder straps are a really nice, wide, flat design, which prevents them digging in over the shoulders. Once on the bike and pedalling these shorts definitely stay put in the correct position.
I’ve twice spent well over four hours in the saddle in these shorts, and once I’d ‘settled in’ to them (so to speak) I found them generally very comfortable. On a ride that long it’s not unusual to feel some discomfort from the seating area – the padding in these Tadaias bibs works well, without quite suggesting they are the holy grail of comfortable shorts.
In comparison with other products at this price they definitely hold their own.
Ultimately, bib-shorts are a very personal item and what’s right for one might not be right for another. But in this price bracket I’ve previously been impressed with French brand Café du Cycliste and their ‘Jospehine’ bibs, and this offering from Tadaias is comparable; they are comfortable, well designed, and good quality.
They also look fantastic, and should turn a few heads out on the road.
Definitely worth a look, for my money.