With several design changes since we last saw the Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts it’s impressive to discover that these, in the main, enhance the fit and form of the shorts. The re-work of the bib element does make manufacturing sense but doesn’t hinder the performance of the shorts. Doing away with the bespoke lazer cut upper for a generic Y-design mesh version feels like a slight downgrade, though. Over all I still really rate them, and they remain in my pick of top kit, especially for the price.
Women's specific aero/race fit
Raw cut legs
Tricky to colour match (unless purchasing corresponding Sportful Bodyfit Pro W jersey)
Slight downgrade on bib element.
It’s been a couple of years since I last saw the Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts, when I rated them as one of the best products I had ever had the pleasure of testing. A few design changes means I was keen to pull on a new pair to see if they still tick my ultimate bib short tick boxes.
>>>Buy Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts now direct from Wiggle (opens in new tab)
Keeping their singular performance focus, the Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts still use the Polyamide / Elastane Aero Flow Compress fabric for the outer leg and lower back panels on the shorts. Sportful claim this honeycombed like Lycra not only offers muscle compression and support, but the dimpled surface structure also aids slippery aerodynamics. The rest of the shorts also retains the standard black Polyamide/ Elastane fabric.
Video: Buyer's guide to bib shorts
The raw cut edges of the leg gripper remain, but Sportful have swopped the mesh finish for a 6cm silicone backed Polyester/Elastane band. This does do away with an element of breathability in favour of a more compressing finish.
The bib element of the Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts has also had a re-work, with the original raw cut seamless upper making way for a more standard Polyamide/ Elastane mesh, with a central back Y-shaped design.
>>> Best Women's cycling shorts 2017: waist and bib shorts
The foam Infinity chamois also receives a make over, with what Sportful call a bioceramic top cloth, which it says makes it softer than previous versions, while the variable densities of the padding promise to offer just the right amount of thickness for long distance.
Pulling on the shorts I was relieved to see that the fit was just as spot on as previous versions. The redesigned leg cuff is certainly more compressing than before, without constricting leg movement or pinching in the thigh.
The bib does loose an element of finesse, and is slightly more noticeable on the back, no more so than any other shorts, but I was a personal fan of the old lazer cut version, and while I understand that it makes sense to keep the bib uppers in line with the rest of the Sportful bib short range, it’s feels like a slight downgrade.
That said, out on the bike, it all pales in to background noise as the shorts deliver highly both in terms of overall comfort, race fit and chamois performance keeping these in the top kit draw selection.
With a magnitude of women’s bib shorts on the market it’s can be hard to see the wood for the trees, especially at the £80 price bracket. With an excellent chamois, body hugging aero fit and comfort for all day riding it’s hard to see how the Sportful Bodyfit Pro W bib shorts could be bettered, and overall, I don’t think you can buy anything better fit or comfort wise.
My only slight grumble is that the colour coding does make these shorts really hard to team with anything other than the corresponding Sportful Bodyfit Pro W jersey, which does mean splashing out more cash.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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