That’s right, it’s time for another Aldi Cycling Special Buy – this time close enough to Christmas to start buying some presents for the cyclists closest to you. On the 21st of November (this Thursday) these bib pants along with a host of other items will be at your local Aldi and with limited stocks, so you’ll have to get in there early if you’re interested. This time I’m reviewing the Bib Pants, so let’s get cracking.
Quite strikingly, they come in a matte black box with a sort of drawer that pulls out; quite classy and definitely gives a favourable first impression. Even compared to the last items I received, this is a step up. From a clear bag with a bit of stapled cardboard holding everything in to this.
From taking the bib pants out of the box something becomes quite clear. More and more budget cycling gear is becoming available, and it’s improving. As these cheaper items are coming into contention with their big brothers who have been in this game for decades, a slightly higher expectation has to be set to review them. After all, they do say ‘cycling pro’ on the box.
If you read my post previously about the last run of the clothing, then you’ll probably remember that I was very critical of the cycling trousers. The chamois was terrible and the fitting just didn’t cut it. So how do these compare?
They are better; different. The problems have migrated. There are three glaring differences, today’s are bibs, have a different chamois and fit differently.
As they are bib pants, they have the dungaree-esque braces to hold them up. The fabric on the Aldi ones do use a cheaper feeling and lesser preforming fabric for this part that isn’t as stretchy or breathable as on their more expensive counterparts. In real terms, this is a marginal disadvantage and is only really noticeable if you really, really work up a sweat for extended periods of time.
Interestingly, the ‘bib’ part has a zip to do up which is a first as far as I’ve seen. I think that it’d be more useful for larger sizes and those looking for a very tight fit – maybe even for making peeing that bit easier, but it is very low profile and is easy to forget that it exists.
Now here is a part that these bib pants really do need to be commended for: they are super visible. On the back, they have a reflective pattern and most interestingly, on the front they have an eyelet structure with reflective material creating hundreds of reflective dots. Especially going through pitch black lanes where people enjoy rallying at night and in the morning, you can see them take notice immediately when an alien-like structure of reflective dots is hurling towards them at like, a whole 15mph. I like this a lot. They also have glow in the dark piping around the knee area for before the reflective bits can even kick in.
Now moving to the bottom of the pants – saving chamois area for last. As you’d find with all of the highly respected brand’s items, they have foot loops to stop them working their way up as you ride; it’s a standard but nice to see included. The material inside the legs, dare I say it, is gorgeously warm and extremely soft like a new fleece. It isn’t harsh on your legs, but due to the foot loops it doesn’t have much unwanted movement or bunching either. The legs are also largely stretchy, apart from…
The eyelets that I praised so heavily earlier are on ‘structured softshell fabric inserts at the front side’. This is wind resistant, water resistant and breathable, but crucially it isn’t stretchy. And because it isn’t stretchy, it isn’t skin tight, making the area fit much more like a pair of dungarees than they ever actually should. Maybe if I got the small instead of a medium it would fit more tightly, but the beauty of stretch means that it is the size that it needs to be, when you need it. It’s a shame, I love the idea, but it is rather poorly implemented; in my opinion anyway.
The chamois has been improved – it’s now antibacterial and the structure is superior. Unfortunately, it isn’t really there yet. The padding compresses far too easily and it doesn’t fit too well, but there is definite improvement. It doesn’t have the awkward sticky-outness to it this time, perhaps because of the harder softshell fabric that surrounds that area.
So would I recommend them? It’s a really difficult question for me, and I think it comes down to the price. If you can afford it, you will definitely see the difference buying the more expensive brands; cycling clothing is one of the areas were you do pay for quality. For just £30 they are surprisingly good, but most suited to the occasional short commuter or weekend cafe rider.
Have you tried Aldi cycling clothing before? What did you think?