- Lightweight fabric doesn't go see-through
- Surprisingly compressive
- Sizes for every body
- One of the few Velocio garments not made from recycled or natural textiles
Price as reviewed:
The Velocio Ultralight bib shorts are a pared-down version of its Signature bib, made with lighter-weight fabrics to contend with high summer riding conditions.
The brand has its roots in women’s-specific clothing but has evolved over the years and now has a full range of men’s kit. Velocio says the Ultralight bibs are designed to “provide an antidote to the heated seats of summer riding.”
The New England-based outfit has redesigned the Ultralight bibs for 2020 with a new 140g/m2 stretch woven fabric. In plain English, this means it is thin and lightweight, but this is one of the few garments in Velocio’s range that is not made from recycled materials.
When it comes to shorts made from very light fabric, opacity is always an issue. While a material may be fully opaque at rest, when stretched it may offer a full view of what’s underneath. That person in lightweight bibs or a threadbare pair that are past their use-by date, providing anyone sitting on their wheel with an unwelcome eyeful – no one wants to be them.
My riding buddies are happy to report that the Velocio Ultralight bibs maintain their non-transparency on the bike. This is thanks to the fabric’s structure, which is woven rather than knitted, like most Lycra. It creates a marginally rougher texture, but once you’ve pulled them on it’s not something you notice.
The tight weave of the fabric also facilitates a surprising amount of compression for its weight. It’s not quite to the level of the brand’s Lux or Concept bibs, but plenty to keep your muscles happy after many hours in the saddle.
Inside, you’ll find an Elastic Interface chamois designed specifically for Velocio. Here they’ve used an ultra-soft face fabric and dual-density perforated foam. The men’s and women’s versions get different pads to best accommodate the unique architecture of either sex’s sitting area.
The bib straps are made from a seamless piece of 4.5mm wide elastic microfibre that crosses over your back. Many brands opt for overly complicated mesh straps that see multiple materials and panels of this or that, but the simplicity of Velocio’s design just works. It’s also what facilitates the FlyFree design found on the women’s bibs, so that female riders can take comfort breaks without having to completely disrobe in the process. Due to dudes having external plumbing, this feature isn’t extended to the men’s version.
At the hem on each leg, the Ultralight bibs see another loop of this same fabric, the interior coated with small silicone dots to form a leg gripper. They make for plenty of purchase, especially when beginning to sweat, but don’t pull or pinch.
Velocio Ultralight bib shorts: the ride
The Ultralight bibs landed in my mailbox just as things in Australia began to heat up. For those that have never experienced summer in southeast Queensland, it feels a bit like Moab or Phoenix in July if you were to add 90 per cent humidity.
With this kind of heat and humidity, any leg up you can get in the cooling department is worth exploring. I’ve used my fair share of lightweight, bibs with either mesh panels or perforations down the legs, they are a bit cooler, but it’s a nuanced difference over a standard set of bibs. The Ultralight bibs fall into this category; they are definitely a bit draughtier than something like the Signature bib, but don’t expect to feel like you’re wearing an air conditioner either.
One area in which they do excel, however, is wicking sweat. Post-ride, the Ultralight bibs seem to be drier than most of the other shorts I currently have in rotation, and I have noticed a bit more salt build-up on the fabric. Conducting a bit of bro-science here, we can take this to mean that they are making quick work of perspiration.
They’ve also fared pretty well through indoor sessions, where heat and moisture management is an uphill battle.
The chamois doesn’t have all kinds of high-tech gel or massaging fibre that’s claimed to increase airflow, but it does stay comfortable over hours in the saddle, and I’ll regularly reach for the Ultralight bibs ahead of a long day out.
Priced at £178/$229, the Ultralight bibs are without a doubt a premium item. These shorts are supremely comfortable and after your first ride in the heat, you won’t have any buyer’s remorse.
The Ultralight bibs don't have some of the outward-facing features that other lightweight bibs see, like mesh panels or perforations, but they do well to innoculate against oppressive heat and humidity.