So, as you may know, the fine folks @ Serfas asked me to review products for them...and I quickly agreed. JT sent me a pair of their new bibshorts and a full set of brake pads for my cross rig.
The pads are a multi-compound affair. They look very nice, both in the package and on the bike. The packaging itself is superior to other brands out there. A product that is the same price, yet in a more attractive package will always sell better! Anyway, I installed the pads according to the directions, which instructs to do so with NO toe-in! Evidently, the multi-compound setup prevents the horrible howling that is often heard from poorly aligned cantilever pads.
After a few rides on them, I can say that they are all they are cracked up to be. Stopping power is superior to Kool-Stop pads and, as advertised, there is absolutely zero noise from the pads under braking. Even in wet, sloppy conditions, they slowed my big ass down with great haste. Big thumbs up for the pads...no negatives!
Now on to the bibs...
Again, Serfas seems to have actually given thought to the design and fit of a product, unlike many clothing companies. Straight out of the package, the first thing I noticed was the quality of construction. The lycra is both a bit heavier and better quality fabric than a lot of other bibs. They also feature flat-lock, double stitching, which is both more comfortable and makes the bibs last a bit longer. This is important when you are washing your bike stuff a couple of times a week.
I've never ridden a gel chamois pad before, so I was a bit leery, but so far so good. The pad is well shaped and fits very comfortably...no pinching or binding of the nether regions. Even though it's gel, it's pretty minimal and doesn't ride up into the crotch or feel like wearing a full diaper (not that I actually know what that feels like!). The silicone leg grippers do a good job of keeping the shorts where they need to be, even with knee warmers under them.
The straps are just about the perfect width, length and shape. They come up perfectly on the abdomen. Some shorts come up too far (Hincapie) and some, not far enough (Castelli). Much like the porridge in that famous story, these are 'just right'! Makes stopping for the 'break naturel' a bit easier, and since I seem to have the bladder capacity of a toddler, this is a bonus.
The inseam of the shorts is a bit shorter than some others, which is fine by me, but may be a point of contention with some folks. I never understood long inseam shorts anyway. If you want to wear knickers, buy knickers! They aren't tri-shorts by any stretch either! Granted, I have really long femurs, so they will probably fit the vast majority of folks who have normal proportions.
Overall, they are VERY true to size. I wear large bibs from most manufacturers and even XLs from a few (euro companies...skinny, musculature of a veal calf Euros....). These fit perfectly.
The only downside, and this is merely a personal observation, is the fact that they are very plain. They are straight-up, old school, black bibs. They do have two, small, reflective logos on the fronts of the thighs, but that's it. I'm sure that a lot of people LIKE simple and plain. I do too! Maybe the addition of an option to choose colored stitching (white/grey/red/etc.) or even simply sublimating the Serfas logo down the thigh panels wouldn't be a bad thing here. Offer them both ways...with logos or without...
My inner fashionista notwithstanding, these are great shorts, regardless of the cost...and they are far, far less than some brands (cough...Assos...Rapha...Pearl...cough). $90 for a pair of really good bibs is a bargain, and that's a word that usually doesn't enter into the conversation when talking about cycling clothing. Oh, and if it matters to you, they are made in the good old US of A!!! Follow the link over there >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> to get to Serfas' site. They make a bunch of stuff!
I've got some other stuff I'm trying out right now...more reviews to follow!