A well fitting pair of basic black shorts that will go with everything, with some classy details and a quality chamois which you'd expect to find on much more expensive pairs.
Simple, to-the-job shorts
Fabric isn't the softest
The Kalf Club Print women's bib shorts were part of the original line up that arrived on the scene last summer, and they've been continued into the 2018 range with a change to the colourway to represent the new season.
Aside from that, the bib shorts feel extremely similar to the previous version we tried last year - which is no bad thing since they picked up a solid score at the time, too.
At £64.99, the price has stayed static - pitching these at the entry level end of the market. However, as Kalf always intended on launch, careful attention to detail means these pack a punch well above their price range.
Kalf's party trick with these bibs is the use of a 'warp knitting technique' which creates a tight weave able to offer both compression and flexibility. The fabric doesn't carry the soft, luxurious feel you might get from some of the really top end suppliers - but it sits well against the skin and the wicking properties are spot on.
A mesh fabric features at the sides and lower back, joining with the bib straps which use a 'y' shape. The straps sat comfortably on me and were an ideal length, without excess fabric or pulling.
This configuration doesn't allow for easy toilet breaks, which you can get elsewhere for less money (we're looking at dhb's halterneck style, here). However, some riders do prefer the simplicity of the traditional style. A high v-shaped stomach panel offers a nice level of support, too.
The chamois pad is the key to a good pair of cycling shorts - and Kalf has absolutely not cheaped out here - using an Italian made Elastic Interface, women's specific pad.
The surface of the pad is smooth, but it hides a multi-density foam construction that worked well when testing and revealed no discomfort, on long or short and intense rides.
The legs use a fairly Eurocentric length, finishing quite close to the knee, and providing ample coverage. Wide grippers with a silicone inner prevent any chance of the accidental hot pants look, too. The grippers felt quite noticeably tight off the bike, but they didn't leave any visual signs of over compression and any knowledge of them being there melted away when riding.
All labels are heat transferred to the inside of the shorts, doing away with scratchy labels and there's a headlight catching pearlescent 'K' logo at the lower back with 'Kalf' subtly displayed on the outer leg.
Aside from the pearly 'K' logo, and the plum coloured upper that will be covered by your jersey, there's no other colour on these shorts. Whilst some might disregard this as a boring choice, it does mean that they fit well in the classy capsule range on offer from Kalf. These shorts will go with everything and clash with nothing - from the vividly colourful 'Flux Print' women's jersey to the more understated 'Club' options.
Kalf Club Women’s bib shorts: Value
The range, available exclusively at Evans Cycles, includes the £64.99 'Club Print' bib shorts for women, whilst men have more choice with the 'Club' (£64.99) and higher end 'Flux Print' (£84.99) models. There's waist shorts for both men and women too.
The Flux Print bibs are said to be the result of "hundreds of hours of development", using a unique bonding bridge at the straps designed to reduce pressure from the neck.
It's a shame that there isn't yet a women's version of the Flux bibs, since it would be nice to experience this clever bonding bridge in all its glory. However, at £64.99 the Club bib shorts represent absolutely excellent value and we're not sure there's really much need to look outside of them - they already tick all the boxes in terms of comfort and practicality.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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