High quality details with a wallet friendly price tag, but is it a case of 'too good to be true?'
The Kalf Club women’s bib shorts are part of the brand’s debut capsule range which aims to provide the attention to detail you’d expect from a high end garment at an entry level price point.
With an RRP at £64.99 the price is indeed enticing – and hung up in store the shorts certainly look to include some tasty features: pearlescent reflective logos, wide silicone dotted grippers and a tasteful pattern printed on the bib straps.
Could it all be too good to be true? We put them to the test.
Kalf Club Women’s bib shorts: Construction
Kalf claims to have used the ‘newest warp knitting technology’ to create a tightly woven 4-way stretch lycra that’s compressive, durable and offers moisture wicking with minimal weight.
Two different body fabrics have been used – both comprising of Nylon and Elastane in varying percentages, with a more mesh-like feel at the lower back and hips to aid breathability. The bib straps are made solely from Polyester.
All of these details are printed on the inside, to avoid the introduction of any scratchy labels. However, I did notice after the first wash (at 30 degrees as advised), the letters had begun to peel slightly.
A basic Y-shape has been used for the body of the bibs – meaning there’s no clever function designed to make comfort breaks quicker for women. However, at this price point this isn’t uncommon. There’s a subtle and attractive design used on the straps, which though unseen by your riding buddies, adds a touch of luxury.
The chamois is a female specific Elastic Interface Club Women’s pad and Kalf says it’s been designed through ‘extensive anthropocentric testing’. The perforated foam varies in density, yet looks completely smooth on the surface.
The leg grippers, plain black on the outside and printed with silicone dots in a chevron design on the inside, are another touch of luxury you might not expect on shorts at this price point.
There are several ‘Kalf’ logos which, though reflective under car headlamps, are subtle in the daylight, with an appealing pearlescent purple tinge.
Kalf Club Women’s bib shorts: Riding
Pulling the bib shorts on, the material is stretchy and offers a certain amount of compression. Though perhaps lacking the premium softness you might get from a high-end pair, it feels durable and of a good quality.
The legs on the Kalf Club Women’s bib shorts were fairly Euro in styling, meaning they offer quite a bit of coverage, and the grippers sat well and kept everything in place.
I initially started out in a Medium pair of these bibs, but found far too much excess material meant a shifting chamois and a very unhappy rider. This had nothing to do with the quality of the chamois and was purely down to an incorrect choice is size.
In a size Small, all chamois issues were eliminated, but the leg grippers had of course narrowed along with the rest of the body. Though the grippers didn’t appear to cut in at all, they did feel fairly tight against the thigh and I was quite aware of them. The awareness faded as soon as I got stuck into pedalling, and the pinching was very minor, and not something that would prevent me selecting these bibs on a regular basis.
When riding, I felt supported by the fabric. In the warmer climates we’d experienced of late, I did feel the body – stomach area and upper back material – offered less breathability than some premium options. This said, it’s not fair to directly compare a £65 pair of bib shorts to a pair double the price. I did get a bit of a sweat on, but the material dried quickly and washed well.
Though I’m generally a fan of bib short designs with a full body, which offers a nice alternative to a base layer underneath in the summer, the simple straps sat well and I wasn’t conscious of them digging in or moving about.
Kalf Club Women’s bib shorts: Value
At this price point, more often than not you’re expecting a bog standard pair of bib shorts. Though there are others on the market which do provide a solution to comfort breaks (that doesn’t involve removing your jersey) for under £70, it’s rare that you’d find nicely finished leg cuffs, quality fabric of this level or nice internally printed designs.
I was really impressed with the overall construction and attention to detail, as well as the fairly premium lycra used considering the price tag. The leg grippers didn’t give the illusion of digging in, but they did create the sensation – though this comes down more to personal fit and Kalf can’t be expected to suit the dimensions of every rider to perfection.