If you asked us the last time that we'd seen a pair of bib shorts which featured six separate fabrics in their construction, you'd be looking at our blank stares. However, the Giordana FormaRed Carbon Bib Shorts are made with just that amount. But, don't think that Giordana is simply adding fabric for fabric's sake. Instead, the materials are specifically placed in order to continue the FormaRed Carbon's dominance as one of the best feeling, and certainly best fitting, bib shorts ever created.
Starting with the bulk of the shorts' construction, Giordana went with its compressive HC-44 fabric. With a nylon/Lycra composition weight of 180g/m2, the FormaRed Carbon (FRC) bib shorts take on a nearly medical compression level (240g/m2). And while dissecting the fabric title, we find that 'HC' designates 'high-compression,' while '44' stands for the material's threads per centimeter (TPC). As Giordana puts it, the highest prior thread count hovered around 36 TPC. This means that, compared to most competition, the HC-44 is softer, more conforming, and has a higher level of wicking capability. And remarkably, HC-44 achieves this at a lighter weight than most Lycra blends. Why is this important? Well, if you've worn compressive fabrics, you'll have noticed that they're heavy in comparison to traditional Lycra. HC-44 encompasses their key traits, like inhibiting muscle oscillation and promoting a positive circulation, without the detriment of a weighty, poorly-breathing composition.
Moving to the inner legs and seat panel, Giordana placed an even stronger fabric called Zaffiro. This material is a certified Power Lycra with a composition weight of 200g/m2. But, unlike HC-44, Zaffiro features a purposefully denser weave with Giordana's SUPER 40 construction technology. This guarantees a continuation of HC-44's aforementioned characteristics, only with a higher level of durability and friction-reduction at the highest points of saddle abrasion. Around the area of the core, the FRC utilizes Kite mesh panels in order to effectively regulate your core temperature. Additionally, Giordana placed its new Ametista fabric around the waist as part of its Core Contour System. Again, we see a return of 200g/m2 Lycra, only now, Ametista is characterized by its woven-in carbon threads -- thus, the 'Carbon' in 'FormaRed Carbon.' With the carbon filament, material stretch is controlled, but not just in the supportive sense. Basically, the carbon reinforces the honeycomb-knit Lycra, making it lighter, yet stronger, and allowing it universally stretch in all directions, not just four-way. Additionally, the carbon fiber blocks out static and rogue atmospheric electrical interference for an increased anaerobic output and a delayed onset of fatigue.
As for the fit, the FRC benefits from Giordana's innovative contoured cut. Essentially, the bib shorts are created on a curve in order to clone your body in the cycling position. By doing this, abrasion is minimized, and fabric bunching and pinching is eliminated. To secure this position, Giordana incorporated its MicroQuad bib straps and AeroLite leg cuffs. MicroQuad features a differentiated stretch that anatomically regulates flexibility and movement. Additionally, this microfiber is highly-breathable and an efficient transporter of moisture. At the cuffs, the new AeroLite design uses a low-profile, seamless cuff that holds strong while maintaining an aerodynamic presence. And for further comfort, the entirety of the bib shorts have been constructed with four-needle flatlock stitched seams.
The bib shorts' chamois is one that Giordana touts as being the most advanced in the industry -- the Cirro O.F.. We don't deal in absolutes, but we can say that it's the first chamois we've heard of with Aloe Vera particles directly infused into the threads of the microfiber. Aloe is not only a natural bacteria fighter, but its implementation in the fiber provides a cooling effect that protects and heals during activity. Below the skin layer, the Cirro has a 4mm-thick pad of waffled-texture expanding memory foam. The texture aids in ventilation by moving moisture to the perimeter of the chamois where accelerated evaporation can occur. The final layer of the chamois is a thick section of hand-sewn open cell padding with recessed channels for pressure relief. These technologies amount to a chamois that won't get wet and nasty 100 miles into a ride, let alone 20.
The Giordana FormaRed Carbon Bib Shorts are available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the colors Black/red and Black/black.
|Giordana FormaRed Carbon Shorts||$189.95|
|Giordana FormaRed Carbon Bib Tights||$249.95|
|Giordana FormaRed Carbon Jersey||$199.95|
Ive been wearing the FRC bibs for the last couple of years and they are my favorite. The compression of the shorts instantly gives your body a great feel and they do really help with muscle fatigue. My favorite part about these is the chamois. Not too bulky and infused with aloe so no need for chamois creme.They are also Italian made so the construction is what you would expect from a high end garment. Highly recommended.
I purchased a FRC Giordana Bib a couple of years ago and love the garment. Have worn it multiple times and it's still in great shape and giving good service. Unfortunately Giordana changed the garment this year. I ordered the new version in June and it's a dramatic step down from the previous version. The first of the new bibs I received had a twisted shoulder strap that was rotated 180 degrees before being stitched to the front. The strap would not lay flat and I returned for a replacement. The new version has a simpler construction than the previous version and the quality of construction is not as high. I've worn the new bib less than a dozen times and there are places where the chamois stitching is beginning to separate. Not so for the old FRC bib. The problem reported by two previous reviewers for the lower leg compression strap is one I have also encountered. The bottom stretches out so easily that after just a few wearings it flairs out and doesn't grip the leg. This after only cold water wash and air dry. Giordana clearly changed the fabric for this portion of the short to a cheaper and less durable fabric and eliminated the wedge insert to cheapen construction costs (see photo, old version on left, new on right). I have bibs costing less than half the price of the new FRC bib that are better built and give superior performance. Loved the old version, but the new version discourages me from trying other Giordana products.
I have several 2011 and 2012 versions of this bib short and absolutely love them. But the 2013 version is a definite downgrade while staying at the same high price point. They are still made in Italy, and the overall shell and chamois are the same quality construction and material, but the changes that were made drop it down a whole quality level and eliminated the very things that made it exceptional.
Gone is the wonderful red interliner of a bonded foam-like perforated material that provided exceptional stability while allowing venting... this is most noticeable in the straps that are now simply perforated themselves. I'm sure they convinced themselves this was an improvement for the sake of weight and ventilation, but it is not. The straps have lost much of their substance and now undermine that wonderful feel that no matter how long the ride, your bib short is not going to slip even a fraction of an inch.
The biggest disappointment is the new thigh band material. While still wide and available in red, the bands now feel thin and flimsy, and just like the straps, now lack the moxy to really stabilize the bib short. The weakened straps and weakened thigh bands work together to completely undermine the once great feel and performance of this bib short.
I have pair of these from 2012. Great Bib Shorts, very comfortable, 5 stars!!! They fit small, so I bought a large for a 32 waist and they fit perfect.
I bought another pair (2013) but the large is too big, in fact the red band around the leg was so baggy I returned them for a medium. Even the red band on the medium isn't tight on my leg. Quality control issue??