Giordana FormaRed Bib Shorts
White shorts. White Giordana FormaRed Bib shorts. More than just white shorts. White shorts with gold flat-lock stitching. These are shorts worthy of The Cricket, Killer, even The Lion King on aesthetics alone.
These shorts are part of Giordana's premium Body Clone line. They have the highest-end materials, the finest chamois, the most anatomically-correct bib design, and the softest grippers that Giordana knows how to make. They're designed to tussle with the other hors categorie shorts on the market and win.
This is an update of the standard Forma bib short Giordana debuted three years ago. We tested a pair of the Forma shorts then. We were impressed and have kept them in our wardrobe ever since. They are comfortable on the longest rides and in all temperatures. The cut and fit of the new FormaRed are similar, though the Lycra is softer. We'd even call the short material luscious. It's soft and rich. Between the Lycra and the flat-lock, four-needle stitching, the fit is better, snugger, even when standing. More of a gentle squeeze. Some believe this kind of compression helps reduce lactic acid buildup and increases ability of the body to resist fatigue. We've never experienced this, but not thinking about what we're wearing while wearing it is one less stress, and that can make a difference in reducing mental fatigue. The bib is largely the same, though the empty space where mesh used to reside is intriguing. It hasn't been hot enough yet this year to say that the design is cooler, but the missing material certainly doesn't change the way the bibs support the short.
The dual-layer Moxie cuffs is a big departure from the Forma's Liquid Elastic. LE is a band of clear silicone that was inside the leg cuff. It gripped without digging into the legs. The new cuffs are softer and have no gripper material at all. They rely on compression to hold the legs in place. They are almost unnoticeable when riding with naked legs. It's a good feeling wearing shorts that don't seem to have an end. Where the Moxie grippers are less than ideal is when wearing knee or leg warmers underneath the gripper. The Moxie doesn't compress enough on our legs to keep the short legs in place. The legs seem to work their way up until the cuffs' edges are abutting the top grippers on the warmers. While a bit of a disappointment, the good thing is that the shorts and chamois remained comfortable even on long rides while this was occurring.
As we were feeling up and stretching the gel OF chamois before our first wearing, we realized that we had never logged significant miles on any gel pad before. The idea of gel never really appealed to us, and our brief experiment with a gel-inserted saddle did not yield a positive experience. We've always been concerned, and our brief experiment back then backed up our contention, that gel allowed too much movement between the body and saddle. This movement would not only rob energy from the pedals but also cause discomfort because of sliding on the two surfaces.
Happily, the minimal gel in the chamois didn't cause unwanted sliding. It yielded a more luxurious ride than the original Forma chamois that we've been exceedingly happy. While we don't know if everyone will love a gel chamois, we hope that the bike industry has stopped producing non-stretching chamois.
The mini-pocket in the back is a fine thing. We applaud the concept; they're great for all sorts of little things. The problem is that no one can get to the pocket without either unzipping or taking of the jersey that sits over the pocket edge. If you're using a music player, you're not going to be able to touch a button until after you've partially disrobed.
All of the above is fairly rote to us. We knew what to expect with the design and fit and the overall experience largely met our expectations. The big question to us, and what we were most interested in, was the color. White shorts are a bold choice. They stand out on wearers, they go with everything and yet nothing, they call for extra care. We're sure there are some strict bicycle fashionistas who say that white shorts are like white handlebar tape; only between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But we're happy to push that envelope.
We're also comfortable standing out and are fairly good about caring for our cycling clothing. We didn't know what to expect in terms of keeping them looking clean and new. Figuring that they must be fairly easy to care for, we decided to ride with them in the rain and see how well we could get out the grit, oil, and the like.
We were taking a chance riding first and asking questions later. We did our ride, came home filthy and washed in cold with Woolite. It did a decent job, but not everything came out. We then tried Assos Active Wear Cleanser. A bit more came out. We air-dried both times because there's a tale that drying on warm will bake in the dirt.
Not perfect. We started calling clothing companies. No one had any special wisdom to impart. All said that they wouldn't recommend riding in white shorts in the rain. One person suggested trying unscented Arm and Hammer detergent. While this lack of insight isn't totally incomprehensible, we were nevertheless surprised. We feel that they should have been getting white shorts dirty and going through the supermarket aisles trying every cleaning product to see what worked and what didn't.
We have a product called OxiClean in our laundry closet. We called them. They advised that since the short label stated “do not bleach,” they couldn't recommend their product. OxiClean is a non-chlorine bleach. We didn't try.
One person pointed out that white shorts get a bit pornographic when wet (aka see-through). One of the more interesting responses was someone who thought that some dirt possibly gets trapped in the springy fibers and that by stretching them when washing, like washing them while wearing in the shower, might work out some more dirt.
We tried that. Didn't seem to make much difference. We had assumed that dirt that got on the bottom of the chamois and then between the saddle and chamois probably wouldn't come out. It didn't. But we removed most, if not all, of the dirt that got dumped on the butt. What surprised us was that dirt got on the inside thigh of both legs and stayed. We don't know how or why. Did it get rubbed in by the saddle? Was it a mix of road oil and dirt? We can't tell.
The shorts are pretty clean. We've ridden in them many more times, but never again in the rain. The color and hue of the shorts is still new-looking. The chamois area shows some color transfer off a dark-colored saddle, but to the average observer who isn't getting an extreme close-up of the shorts can't tell they've been through the rain.
The experience makes us wonder what The Cricket, Killer, and The Lion King did when they raced their whites in the rain. Did the team wash them and the riders wore them again or did the single race in the rain cause the team to trash the shorts?
We're friendly with a guy on a team that styles white shorts. We asked him how he kept them looking new. “Wash them with everything else on warm and dry warm. They look pretty good for a long time.” What about the rain? “That's why we have black shorts. One race in the rain and the white shorts are trashed.” We wouldn't go as far, but we don't recommend starting in white shorts when you know there's rain on the ride. Then again, if you never ride in the rain, you'll have no worries. White shorts are great, like white linen suits, when worn in season.