by Elite Coach Lee Zohlman, Founder- BodyZen
Summer. 1996. I was a young whipper snapper cyclist/triathlete. I was putting in what I thought were big weekly miles. My weekly log of a measly 100 miles was leaving my neo, butt-less body wrecked but even worse my undercarriage was irritated and sore. I quickly attributed it to the cheap forty dollar shorts I bought from the bin of some discount cycling shop. It was time to man up and get a real pair of cycling shorts or I wasn’t going to be much of a man for long. I went and invested in a brand new pair of Giordana bib shorts. Bib shorts? I had only seen these on those Euro pros’ in the magazines. So these go over my shoulders huh?
Life changed and there was peace on earth after I started wearing those bibs. I had them for years and retired them after they served their final tour. I was very excited when Giordana asked me to review their newest FR-C bib short. This is a company steeped in cycling history, rooted in all levels of velo greatness. Their new FR-C line was bound to surpass any of those top end bib shorts right? I was about to find out and chomping at the bit to get some miles in them.
After I unveiled them from the package I could see the high quality. Before we get to the working end of the shorts let’s discuss the suspenders. Again, as you know, I am picky about everything related to cycling clothing. The FR-C LoPro suspenders were awesome looking. They use a mix of fabrics with a type of 190 E mesh material for the majority of the straps and after inspecting the stitching I could tell these were going to stay together for many miles. This is an important part of the bibs since the straps are going to be held against your body for hours and hours. The shorts themselves use contrast stitching which really adds to the overall beauty of these bib shorts. Giordana added a compression band at the bottom of the shorts which I love. And finally a bib short with silicone gripping which doesn’t irritate the heck out of me. Thank the Giordana gods! This band made my leg muscles feel loved and didn’t sausage them like other brands do. It must be hard for companies to get the compression band just right but Giordana did it. The multi panel short was the perfect weight. If I had to say anything about my old bibs from the 90’s I would say they were on the heavy side. The new FR-C bibs were light as a carbon chainring. The panels were also oddly soft and laid like a second skin on my body. Hold on now I’m getting to the chamois pad. Just hold on to your shifters. When I wore the shorts on my first ride my sensations were that they were light and didn’t hold my legs back from moving as I wanted them to. The low back area felt really flexible and comfy. Most of this is due to their own power lycra I’ve come to find out.
Now for the pad. Girodana nailed it with this pad. Not too much and not too little. I have a pair of bibs from another high end company which are very nice and rival the FR-C line but my one complaint is the pad is huge and feels like a large diaper. The Giordana FR-C bibs have the pad just right. It extends laterally enough to cover the important areas and also extends to the front and back without leaving extra material. Some of Giordana’s other bibs actually have a small extension in the front to ensure your private part won’t chafe. Smart move Giordana, smart.
After over 200 miles in the FR-C bib shorts my take is they are at the top of their game. Most important they offer great comfort for the undercarriage without too much padding. Next, the material feels just tight enough against the body like another layer of skin. Finally, the weight. They are light but sturdy enough to have for many miles and years. The design and style is very cool and modern and did I mention the reflective accents for safety? This was an easy review and other companies should take note from the new FR-C bibs. Actually, no they shouldn’t!
If you want to get a pair you can find a store near you here.