FUNKIER RIDE FLO MEN'S THREE-QUARTER LENGTH SUMMER BIB TIGHTS
248g XL £54.99
The Funkier Ride Flow Gents 3/4 Length Summer Bib Tights are, according to the blurb. "What you need to stay comfortably active in the saddle, whether you are commuting, or out for a local club ride." Sentiments I'd agree with, these past few weeks and 400miles. However, I would try a pair for size and fit, before committing cash.
Pros: Lightweight, comfortable and sturdy.
Cons: Sizing and cut favour in-store purchases.
These are a 16panel design using 220g Lycra, which promises unrestricted movement and is seasonally appropriate, while being rugged enough, in the everyday sense.
Tactile elastics and flat seams run throughout. The mesh bibs promise to regulate temperature efficiently and I was surprised by a pocket at the back. A curious placement, access-wise (we've seen some store brands incorporating a pocket into the leg panel). We're told its designed to accept energy bars/gels, although I’ve used it to store spare AA/A batteries for blinkies.
Legs are held in place by large and similarly tactile silicone grippers.
The B14 pad is again, what we'd expect from this price point. It comprises of an anti-bacterial top layer, designed to wick away moisture and manage odour, while support comes courtesy of high-density foam. Hardly exotic, but what we'd expect from this end of the market.
Standing 1m81 and weighing 70 kilos, I am, according to the funkier site, XL. On paper, that's a good match and has proven so, with the Funkier Force Pro Bib Shorts. However, the taper was less snug around my calves, ditto the silicone grippers, so ours tended to gather, stopping just below my knees.
To be fair, I am unusually long in the leg, relative to my height and these kept the joints temperate. Things also settled down with mileage and washing. Nonetheless, it’s worth trying a size up/down first-especially if you fall between sizes, or are proportionately longer/shorter in the body/leg.
The sixteen-panel design certainly delivers complete, and unrestricted freedom of moment. While being supportive, and secure the bib sections are suitably stretchy too, facilitating effortless transition from tops, hoods and drops. This also ensures quick, dignified roadside "comfort stops". Flat seams and stitching also do their bit handsomely. No redness, or branding when I've tossed them in the wash, and myself in the shower.
Test period temperatures have ranged between 10 and 21 degrees and distances between 20 and 60miles. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they performed at both ends of the spectrum. Arguably, 16 degrees plus and you'd be in shorts. However, I've often headed out at dawn when it’s been dewy, damp and 'Septemberish.'
Aside from the minor gathering, I've been able to cruise along at 20 odd mph, unaware of them, in the most positive sense. Even at the higher temperatures, the fabric shifted rider generated moisture expediently. Suffice to say the inner climate never exceeded a warm glow.
The pad and its relatively flat profile also delivered plenty of smiles per mile. Passing my funk test (50 miles per day, consecutive days sans washing), things were, on the brink of socially acceptable.
However, testament to its odour management. No hint of soreness/chafing either, regardless whether I've been hammering along at TT pace, on my Holdsworth, or at the other extreme, enjoying mixed terrain all-nighters, on my Univega.
Refinement, especially in this latter context, did not rival that of the Primal Dawn Men's Bib Knickers. However, there's a £20 price differential, so direct comparisons are unfair.
Mild to moderate autumnal rains took a while to penetrate the fabric. Given a moderate breeze, drying times were favourable too. Come November, I'd be reaching for something with a water repelling top layer, and fleece lining. That said, even when they had become soggy and the mercury slid between 9 and 12 degrees, I didn't feel chill, or otherwise uncomfortable.
Drying times varied but the legs were touch dry, given 40 minutes, with a moderate breeze. Machine washing - around 90 minutes, line drying at 15 degrees. A bit longer, in the airing cupboard.
So far there's no hint of fraying, or similar deterioration and while road biased, those thorns and other prickly foliage are yet to make any impression. Washing has been equally straightforward - in with the civvies at 30 degrees, with minimal detergent.
Save for a couple of cheaper store brands, there's little direct competition. While they might be similar prices, some with higher spec pads, most tend to lean towards winter/early season use. Heavier tog weights and fleece lining being typical. The Funkier offer something quite unique, yet still practical for the autumn and spring.
The Ride Flo meet their design brief very well and the price is pretty good, relative to the specification. For training, and general riding when it's a bit nippy for shorts, yet too temperate for tights, they are hard to fault. However, their cut/fit isn't for everyone, so I'd strongly recommend trying before buying.