Cost: MSRP $320
Source: retail stores, websites
Color: SBF Titanium (black, gray)
How obtained: sample from company
RBR advertiser: No
Time tested: 2 months
Top-of-the-Line Bibs Unlike Any I’ve Worn Before
It’s one of the truisms of road cycling: Once you go bibs, you never go back. Early on (usually) in your cycling life, you move from shorts to bibs, and you’re hooked. Then you move from brand to brand, but there is seldom a fundamental difference in the fit and feel once you’ve got your size, likes and dislikes figured out.
Or so I thought until opening the package when Nalini’s Apus Bib Shorts arrived. The Apus are Nalini’s top-of-the-line, pro-level bibs for 2012.
The first thing I noticed is the look and feel of the material in the main part of the shorts. It resembles nothing more closely than a very thin wetsuit. In fact, it’s a special Teflon-coated polyester and lycra blend that is waterproof. It’s designed to wick moisture away from your skin, and any sweat that falls on it simply beads up and rolls off. (The straps are breathable mesh.)
Unique, form-fitting feel
The unique feel extends to the “very anatomical” light-compression fit. I have other bibs that may run a little tighter than normal because They’re a big Medium (vs. my normal Large), or the cut is a bit different than normal. But these, in a Large, are snug through and through — which must be what they mean by “very anatomical.” You won’t, um, have any moving parts to concern yourself about.
If you don’t like a truly snug fit, these are not the bibs for you. My only real complaint about them is that it takes a few minutes of each ride for me to get used to the uber-snugness. Yet, once that period is past, the bibs just become part of your body.
The material, while offering the promised compression, stretches with your movements while remaining perfectly in place throughout a ride. Most higher end shorts have silicon inside the leg bands to add grip. These don’t have it, and they don’t need it. They fit exactly as they should without the extra help.
While I normally steer away from a natural chamois, the PTN natural pad that comes in these finishes off the bibs” top-shelf quality. Yes, it requires a bit of extra maintenance to apply creme between rides to keep it supple, but it pays off in a comfortable, worry-free ride.
Nalini trades off the knowledge the company gleans from working with the pros (Nalini outfits eight European teams in the pro peloton) in making the apparel they market to recreational riders and amateur racers. It shows through clearly in the Apus bibs. If you’re looking for snug-fitting, light compression, top quality bibs — and don’t mind paying a premium price for premium quality — the Apus may be for you.
John Marsh is the editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of “less than podium” talent, he sees himself as RBR’s Ringmaster, guiding the real talent (RBR’s great coaches, contributors and authors) in bringing our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That’s what we’re all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John’s full bio.