- Comfortable chamois
- Great leg grippers
- No comfort break solution
Price as reviewed:
Every cyclist needs a comfortable pair of plain black bib shorts in their wardrobe. A trusty garment that will go with every jersey under the sun whilst promising not to chafe or disappoint in any given circumstances.
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Alé’s Strada women’s shorts tick the vast majority of ‘would like’ boxes on the list of requirements for such a pair of shorts, with some added luxuries to boot.
Featuring the brand’s rather unmissable bright yellow ‘W4H’ chamois, they’re even easy to find in a bulging kit draw.
The chamois is constructed from an elastic microfibre and shaped for women to avoid stress on ‘nerve endings’. Always good. The chamois wings are shaped to allow for movement when pedalling – and I found it comfortable both during on-the-rivet track sessions and slow ambles on the road.
The side panels feature a mixture of a polyester fabric and elastane, creating a fit that is compressive without being restrictive. Though untested so far, the built in ‘MatrixZaffiro’ abrasion resistance is reassuring.
The elastane percentage is increased to 36 per cent at the waist panel, which boasts ‘Eyelet carbon fabric’ which aims to maintain a stable temperature whilst also providing comfort when bent over in the riding position.
At the upper body, Alé has opted for a conventional ‘Y’ shape bib strap, which doesn’t leave any room for easy comfort breaks but does keep things uncomplicated. Opinions on this approach are divided, but personally I see a lot of brands offering solutions that don’t impact on the ride, so failing to do so places Alé a bit behind the times.
The material used is soft and inviting, however, with high-stretch straps using 46 per cent elastane and mesh at the upper back to ensure breathability is on point.
Finishing it all off, the leg grippers are wide, again using almost 50 per cent elastane to ensure that pressure is spread and thus comfort maintained. I found these held the shorts in place without digging in, which is always a winner.
The grippers feature the biggest nod to branding on the kit, with the Alé logo and some barcode-esque lines. In the black/white option, these are pretty understated and would go with any jersey – though you can opt for colour if you like.
At £100, Alé has pitched these shorts at the price band where you can expect comfort, reliability and resilience. It’s provided all of this, with some additional tech, making these shorts far from the cheapest, but still good value.
A comfortable 'do it all' pair of shorts which will make a great addition to any cyclist's everyday and race day collection. No provision made for comfort breaks, but at a price tag which isn't too jaw dropping – with a few nods to luxury.