FUNKIER FORCE PRO BIB SHORTS
XL (238g) £49.99
The Funkier Force Pro Bib Short are described as, "A supreme choice for the avid cyclist looking for the ultimate combination of comfort, fit and performance." A very big boast and one begging for contradiction. However, performance vastly exceeded my expectations, and raises the bar for this price point.
Pros: Generally great fit, pad, and performance.
Cons: Would be worth trying for size. first.
Even allowing for the fact specifications have become much higher, while prices have tumbled, there's a lot on offer for £50. 240g Lycra (Polyamide/Spandex, to be precise) is a decent, covers most bases, middleweight option.
One that should prove durable in the long term. 17 panel construction, flat seams and generous silicone grippers also promise optimal freedom of movement and ultimately, comfort.
Mesh bibs are something of a given these days, but nice to see and the solid panels promise welcome protection to the lower back and vital organs, especially when temperatures drop.
Stitching and general standards of construction seem high and uniformly precise throughout. External retro-reflective yarn offers some welcome presence around dusk, and into the night and graphics/logos, the right side of subtle.
Arguably inserts are the centre point and Funkier haven't skimped here, either. Their C7 is a four way stretch fabric, with high density foam padding designed for long distance road and mtb duties. It also features a "Full sublimation print, for breathability and a silky feel."
These come up a little smaller than some. Even allowing for a 33.5 inch inside leg, I was surprised (at 6ft and 165lbs) to require XL.That said; Funkier's sizing chart is very accurate, and goes right up to 5XL, catering for most people.
Talking of which, I've found the cut and fit nigh on perfect. I'd
expected things to be a little roomier around the torso, but this shouldn't be interpreted as baggy, either and accommodates for mid ride cafe' feasting etc.
Tapered bib straps were equally well configured, sliding atop my shoulder blades and offering a supportive hug, without feeling remotely constrictive, or leaving that uncomfortable hunched stance, off the bike.
I've also paired ours with messenger knickers, say when dropping stuff at a client’s house, meeting friends for dinner; situations where Lycra, and dare I say, "Le grande bulge" would be frowned upon.
One last word about cut/sizing. I noticed the legs were a more relaxed cut for me, hence those tactile silicone grippers didn't rest so flush with my thighs. Creep was minimal, and even then, only apparent at very high cadences (say when trying to keep pace with the fixed, on 1 in 4 descents).
Coupled with the retro-reflective stitching, this is captivating. adding presence, at night and when passing concealed driveways, unlit crossroads etc. However, this made for a less successful union with Lycra leg warmers, when temperatures tumbled below double figures.
Bringing everything together, the Force Pro have proven extremely capable all- rounders. Shorts that perform consistently well, in every respect and context. The Lycra is just the right texture, offering excellent tenure across all saddle coverings. From traditional leather, to leather covered and leatherette micro-fibre types.
Highly conducive to that intuitive micro-shuffling, without annoying slide, or more pronounced, and exaggerated movements. In my experience, pads can feel like the proverbial loaf of bread, before quickly conforming to your shape. Precisely what happened here. within a few miles, comfort was sublime.
Eyeballs out, clocking up 10 miles in 30 minutes, aboard my Holdsworth, cruising on my fixed gear winter/trainer for 30 miles, indulging in all-nighters and/or mixed terrain adventures on my rough stuff tourer. Machines with very different geometries, bar heights and saddle widths/padding densities. Regardless of the distance and/or pace, save for some very minor creep, comfort has been uniformly and consistently good.
Moisture management has been consistently good, even with the mercury climbing into the upper 20s. There's the usual dampness that creeps in given twenty minutes at a decent tempo. To date, this quickly dissipates, and never got beyond that faint, misty state. Even on day rides, and/or when worn beneath messenger knickers.
Much the same story around the lower back, although good quality merino base layers and full-length jersey zippers make a very tangible difference.
Similarly, the flat seams have been equally unobtrusive. I've been totally oblivious to them during the ride and better still, no branding, when I've stripped off and showered. Ditto the bibs.
Staying with this, a moment. A few seasons back, manufacturers were making quite a big deal about lower, more flexible "ablution friendly" cuts. No such mention here, but there's ample stretch, for dignified, discreet bladder drainage.
Regular wearing, washing and rides on the wilder side, these past few weeks and approximately 500 miles have made little impression on the stitching, or fabric. I've bunged ours in with the civilian wash at 40 degrees with no issues.
Line dry in 20-25 minutes, given a warm day/decent breeze. No hint of bobbling, or other degradation, despite the seemingly inevitable brushes with brambles, and my cat's claws.
This is a very competitive price point, with high spec store brands also vying for our hard earned. Minor matters of cut aside, the Funkier certainly hold their own against the Ribble Nuovo Men's Bib Shorts, and Tenn Global Eurosport GC Bib Shorts . Both of which, are a good value, but proportionally pricier.
However, at £44.99 B’Twin Road C900 Cycling Bib Shorts are another high bang for buck option that could give the Funkier a run for your hard earned.
Save for some minor reservation about the leg tapering/ silicone gripper's tenacity aside, the Funkier Force Pro Bib Shorts have proved extremely comfortable and represent excellent value for money.