We check out the new, more value orientated version of the popular Giro Women's Chrono bib shorts
Giro’s halter bib shorts have been an absolute game changer in the women’s cycling clothing market – and the Chrono Sport Halter bib shorts seem to be no exception.
The halterneck design (created so you can pull the back down for a comfort break) is simple, comfortable – and seems to me like a very simple answer to the age old question of ‘how do we make bib shorts for women work?’
Last year, the Giro Halter bib shorts were available only at ‘Chrono Expert’ level (£124.99) – but for 2017 the Californian brand brought the design to the masses with the ‘Chrono Sport’ version (£79.99).
Giro Women’s Chrono Sport Halter Bib Shorts: Halterneck and body
Giro’s halter design ticks the boxes for me because it provides the rider with a full base layer front that wicks away sweat without any additional clothing. This takes one extra step out of getting dressed for a summer’s ride on most days in the UK.
When riding abroad, in very hot conditions where you might consider forgoing a base layer, it comes into its own – allowing you to unzip your jersey on a climb without coming over all strip-o-gram.
Not only that, comfort breaks really are incredibly easy. The back of the bibs simply pulls down – it’s loose enough that you’re not risking any mortifying accidents, but tight enough that you’re well held in the rest of the time.
I’ve always maintained that you spend more time on the bike than you do taking comfort breaks (one would hope) – so it’s only worth making a solution available if it doesn’t impede comfort on the bike: and this doesn’t.
At Sport level, Giro has used a slightly closer-knit mesh on the upper body – which is perhaps a tad less breathable than the version on the Expert shorts. However, I found it perfectly satisfactory – and being a little sturdier I quite like the additional compression on offer.
Giro has also made some improvements following feedback from reviewer comments regarding the 2016 bibs. For the 2017 version – the neck strap, once a little too loose, has now become shorter and felt just right to me.
There’s no radio pocket on the Sport version, whilst there is on the Expert – but this is probably not likely to bother your average punter.
Giro Women’s Chrono Sport Halter Bib Shorts: Legs and chamois
The legs are constructed from a Nylon and spandex mix, with a little less elasticity than the Expert version, however; again they sat well – sharing a similar multi-panel design.
The fabric feels soft against the skin and reflective logos add a little nod to safety. After a year of wear and washing, the logo still remains un-peeled on the Expert version, and you’d expect the same at Sport level.
The Sport bibs feature a Chrono Sport Cytech Chamois – it’s a smooth construction that provided plenty of comfort both on long rides and shorter, more aggressive sessions.
The leg grippers on the Giro Sport halter bibs are narrow – a major difference to the Expert level, where you get a wide and compressive band.
A narrower leg gripper, when poorly fitting, can result in a nasty groove around the lower leg where it digs into excess body-squish. In fact – when I first clocked that Giro had chosen this option I was all ready to chide them. However, once on, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no sign of any unsightly marks – perhaps owning to the slightly more relaxed fit on offer.
Higher end bib shorts often feature a nice, wide leg gripper, and this does provide a better fit – bringing with it greater comfort and confidence. Not having this is probably the only thing that lets these bibs down.
Giro Women’s Chrono Sport Halter Bib Shorts: Value
Giro has taken the key elements of an already very good pair of bib shorts, and made a few cost cutting savings here and there to make them available at a more welcoming price point.
I was concerned that the leg gripper change would have a negative effect on comfort, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case. All in, these bibs represent excellent value for money – offering all the best elements of the top end version.
It’s worth noting that the Giro Chrono Pro option, with all its ‘fancy lumbar’ support, is still only available for women in a waist short at £124.99. The last word from Giro was that to make the Pro option a bib, it would exceed the amount they’d expect the majority of women to pay – but it still seems like a rather odd decision.
The halter bib design is, in my opinion, the best on the market when it comes to women’s bib shorts. This new version makes comfort and function accessible with a slightly more entry level price tag. There are a couple of brands offering shorts with higher end features: wide leg grippers and flashes of colour at a lower price, but if you want longevity and basic good performance, these are a great shout.