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After trying Castelli and Craft's top offerings, the Giordana Forma Reds are my favorite bibs to date. I picked up a pair of the top-end Carbon version on sale here on RC, and to be honest, I prefer the standard version.
Both bibs are equivalent in sizing and comfort (same chamois, same fit, etc. Just a different material), but my long torso causes the less elastic FRC straps to dig into my shoulders a bit more than I'd like. Otherwise, both shorts feel like a custom fit using a size larger than I normally wear.
Overall, these shorts sport a great length, nice compression, and superb comfort. Still, I'd suggest going with the cheaper Forma Reds to save some scrill.
Great stuff for those of us who like a grippy, but firm, bartape. FYI, you will have to wrap these tight as hell to keep it from bunching up on tight bends (e.g. ergo or compact bars).
While the squeeze tube does keep the mess down, it seems that I need to apply DZ more liberally than the Assos equivalent, resulting in a premature emptying of deez nuts.
Your results may vary.
We regularly keep the Cran-Razz flavor in the house for our outings. They taste like candy and are a great substitute for gels, which usually make me retch a bit.
The consistency is something like a very, very thick cactus candy, and you will have to take a few fairly large swigs from the water to help it go down. Additionally, I'd advise against buying in bulk unless you go through them like crazy, as we've had them start to harden after a month or two on the shelves.
While the B.S. dimpled fabric will reduce drag as much as swapping your bolts with titanium hardware will make you faster (IE: not much), these are still great bibs.
The chamois is excellent for the price (very similar to the Giordana Forma Red bibs), and the construction has held up extremely well, as these were my primary bibs for over a year and saw regular weekly machine washings with no damage to speak of. The fit is great, with no bunching/riding up, and the dimpled fabric feels kind of awesome. My only gripe is that the silicon grippers, while comfortable enough, are a bit on the tight side.
While I have moved on to the Forma Reds as my primary bibs (the fit is slightly better for my body type, but they are costly), I've recently purchased another pair of the Pro Race bibs, and both are still in regular rotation. The Giordanas are a hair more comfortable, but the Crafts are definitely the better value.
Because these were relatively inexpensive (approx $70 when I purchased them a few years ago), I used to own a couple of pairs for commuting and spin class. While adequate for commutes below 30 minutes, trust me when I say that your taint will thank you if you upgrade to a pair of shorts with a better chamois for lengthy or fast paced rides (including spin - a mediocre chamois mixed with crappy spin bike saddles will result in a fair amount of chafing).
For those who are nervous about Fizik's carbon rails:
So last year, I pulled into a parking garage, completely forgetting that my bike was on the roof rack (trunk racks FTW by the way). I hear a bang as the car lurches down, then it makes a horrible sound like it bottomed out. Horrified, I get out to see what happened, and inspect the damage. The saddle, which was tilted down about 30 degrees due to the fork mount, hit a concrete beam at about 4-6" from the back end of the saddle, and slid along the top until it cleared the structural member. The impact moved the roof rack back about 6", bent the rack a bit, knocked my one bolt seatpost out of wack, slid the saddle rails back a bit in the clamp, and scratched the hell out of the microtex upper. The rails, however, were still intact; surprising, considering it absorbed the entire impact. Rather than sulk and turn home, we decided to ride anyway, and then replace the saddle before the next ride, just to be safe. I never did get around to buying a new Arione, and it is still just as solid underneath my 175 lb arse as it was the day I bought it.
Impressive structural rigidity aside, I have to say that I prefer the Arione CX with Kium rails on my other bike. At least compared to my 2007 version of this saddle, the CX Kium is $100 cheaper, has a lower profile, more dense padding, and an ICS mount for saddle bags.
I haven't yet found the world's perfect saddle, but the Arione CX is the closest I've found so far. The flat design allows for a more aggressive position (as opposed to the Aliante and it's nose that digs directly into your taint if you're in the drops), and the length of the saddle offers a lot of positioning options if you need to shift around mid ride.
+ Comfy enough
+ Great when in the drops
+ Nice low profile padding
+ ICS saddle bag mount is excellent.
- The saddle can occasionally creak when pressure is put where the nose meets the saddle rails
I think I had last year's version of these bibs. They were mighty comfortable and had a nice, long inseam, but the stitching on the chamois is coming completely undone after moderate use (they were my backup pair). I am sticking with Craft Pro Race and Giordana Forma Red bibs from now on.