The Ultralight Bib Shorts earn their title with weightless fabrics that are perfect for warm weather riding or indoor sessions. While they aren’t limited to warm conditions, the fabric’s breathability certainly handles it well. With a comfy pad and good levels of compression, they are an ideal choice for long or short days in the saddle, as well as indoor sweatfests. Correct sizing is key to ensuring fabric's opacity, as our tester discovered.
Potential transparency at seams
Warm weather isn’t a luxury we all have, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be armed and ready with a pair of lightweight shorts for it when it arrives though… and if it doesn’t, at least with the Ultralights from Velocio, you have something suited to an indoor cycling session.
We tested these bib shorts as part of a women's bib short grouptest, alongside Endura's FS260-Pro Bibshort DS, the Cafe du Cycliste Adeline Fade Women's Bib Shorts, and Assos Women's UMA GTV Bib Shorts C2.
The shorts are made in Italy using an ‘ultra-high gauge stretch woven’ fabric weighing only 140gsm. Velocio claims the Ultralights are roughly 30% lighter than their Signature Bib Short (opens in new tab) while still offering the same level of compression, all without compromising on opacity. The medium pair I have been testing tip the scales at 150g, that's pretty light in comparison to most.
There’s a noticeable roughness to the fabric. Velocio is known for their use of recycled fabrics, unfortunately the Ultralights don’t boast any eco-credentials whatsoever. Velocio says in its sustainability pledge (opens in new tab) that it is looking to bring the material of its shorts in line with that of the jerseys, and in the mean time, it's working on using factories that utilise renewable energy and cutting down on supply chain wastage.
The 5-panel design is anatomically cut and minimises seams. The leg grippers are a 4cm deep, microfibre band and the leg length is about average.
Velocio's microfibre bib straps are completely seamless and contribute to the FlyFree bio-break system.
The Ultralights are finished off with a proprietary signature chamois that’s been developed in partnership with Cytech- supplier of chamois’ to the likes of Assos and Cafe du Cycliste.
Velocio’s size chart takes into account your height and weight to place you in a particular size bracket. With significant overlaps in the chart there’s an element of judgement regarding your body shape. I’ve been testing a medium- I fell squarely into that bracket. The shorts fit well, offering a good level of compression, no squeezing at the leg end and no pulling at the shoulders. However, there's definitely some transparency at one seam... better at the side than the rear, I guess!
The first pair I received were actually much worse than this. Velocio kindly replaced, claiming a 'production error'. If I shuffle and pull the fabrics around, it's not so apparent, but it’s not ideal. Should I have sized-up? I wouldn’t class myself as having big hips but maybe the transparency issue would have been resolved (potentially with some loss of compression). However, this may have adversely affected fit elsewhere, ultimately compromising chamois comfort.
For sure, I’d say select your size with caution, opting to size-up if in doubt. Given Velocio’s claims about opacity, I wouldn’t expect to be seeing this, indeed the rest of the shorts offer a deep black that there’s absolutely no seeing through. It's worth knowing that Velocio have what they call a 'Signature Guarantee': 'Try any of our products for 30 days to ensure it meets your needs. Wear it. Ride in it. Wash it. We believe it will provide a better riding experience. And if you are not happy with it, return it for a full refund.'
The styling is understated but appealing; the fabric’s matt finish with discrete logos on each leg make it easy to pair with almost any jersey. While I have significant reservations about the longevity of the fabrics at the seams, the overall construction is flawless.
On the bike, there's nothing to complain about, indeed it's all positive. Despite the rough-feeling fabric, the Ultralights are exceptionally comfortable. I’ve used them for all kinds of riding- endurance road and off-road, short intense rides and indoor sweatfests. The leg grippers are impressive at anchoring the shorts, with or without leg warmers. The fabric offers decent compression without pinching and the straps are simply not noticeable, falling to the side and being wide enough not to dig in at the shoulders.
Breathability is excellent and any moisture evaporates very quickly, salt lines can confirm this in very warm weather. They have a well-judged cut at the front to minimise coverage - low enough promote air flow to the abdomen but not so low that a jersey sits above it. My legs felt more exposed to the elements in cooler weather than with other shorts; the Ultralight's certainly didn't protect me from the early spring chill. This will be an individual preference though - I personally really feel the cold.
I found the pad sufficient for rides in excess of 4 hours. It doesn’t feel bulky and the 3D waffle seems to help with breathability. I'd say it isn't quite as supportive as Assos' UMA GTV C2 (opens in new tab) chamois, but I never experienced any kind of discomfort and it's certainly as breathable as any other.
FlyFree (opens in new tab) hasn’t undergone any revisions for a while now, and it’s easy to see why. Without magnets, zips or hooks, Velocio have managed to create a bio-break system that works pretty well and doesn’t compromise comfort. I find it helpful to unzip at the front, then pull the straps up and back to provide extra length at the rear - this makes pulling the shorts down much easy and certainly puts less strain through the fabrics. I’d say size choice might influence how well FlyFree works for you; if you have larger hips sizing-up may make it easier to use.
While this system is an effective one, in my opinion it’s not best suited to shorts that are designed to offer compression; the fabrics and fit work against the action of the FlyFree system. I don’t believe there’s a perfect bio-break solution out there yet. However, there are more and more options coming to the fore so the chances of finding one to your liking are improving.
Value and verdict
At £196 / $259 these are premium, and a significant hike (£32) on last year’s price. If you want breathability, compression and an easy-pee set-up, Assos’ £210 / $270 UMA GTV’s (opens in new tab) could be worth considering, or Rapha's Souplesse Detachable Race Bibshorts (opens in new tab) for £215 / £290. With none of these boasting eco-credentials, considering Pearl Izumi’s Attack Bib Shorts (opens in new tab) with an RRP of £99 might be an option, though I can’t comment on quality, fit or performance here.
For me, the Ultralights actually have a limited window of use; I tend to avoid indoor riding and I live in the UK, so hot days are few and far between. However, the breathability is second to none and comfort is not compromised, so if you do plenty of warm weather riding, or enjoy indoor sweatfests on a regular basis, these come recommended. Just be sure to select your size with caution.
- Sizes: XXS-3XL
- Colour: Black
- Composition: 78% Polyamide / 22% Elastane
- Contact: https://eu.velocio.cc/ (opens in new tab)
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