There’s nothing like cycling. It’s about freedom to ride. It’s about passion for hammering the miles away. It’s about blasting through the pain for a new personal best. It’s about the unrivaled joy of buying stuff.
OK, just kidding. But there’s always some cool new gadget you can throw on to make your ride just slightly more awesome. And if you’re a triathlete, well, good luck not wanting any new gear for any of your three favorite sports. Over the years, perhaps the toughest training I’ve ever completed is keeping my pocketbook closed, but sometimes the best cure for gear envy is to simply buy your favorite stuff in the first place. If you’ve got limited finances, it’s best not to waste time and money on something you’re not going to love. To try and help you out, I’m counting down my top 5 favorite products for cycling and triathlon.
Let’s Check Out Number 4 . . .
Voler’s Bibs with Chrono SLM Pad
There’s not much worse than heading out for a long ride and remembering about 30 miles from home that your cycling shorts totally suck. A good chamois makes certain that you don’t notice it, and Voler has hit on that perfect combination of short and chamois.
Price $90-$120: As bibs and shorts go, Voler strikes a great balance between quality and cost. Quite reasonably priced for a solid and comfortable cycling short that’s made in the USA.
I could spout out the technical features of the Voler line, but that seems rather pointless–and freely available on their website if that’s what you’re looking for–in reality what matters is how they feel when you put them on. Here are my favorite features:
- The Power Band is amazing. If you also don’t like sausage legs, Voler makes silicone-free leg grippers (similar to the gripperless sleeves present on their jerseys). While they do ride up slightly, it’s not really enough to make me want to go back to silicone grippers.
- The elastic-free wasteband on the shorts really works to ward off most of the tight, bunching feeling at your waste. Although I like to wear bibs if I can, these are probably the most comfortable cycling shorts I’ve ever tried.
- I’m not a huge fan of the High Compression fabrics. While they do work harder to keep your legs from fatigue, the fabric is almost abrasive when you’re walking in the bibs. I mean, you’re supposed to spend more time on the bike and not walking around, but I prefer the smoother fabric lines, which don’t fit quite as tightly.
While the Chrono SLM is Voler’s pad from last year–their newest iteration being the Comp HP–it’s one of those chamois (is that plural?) that you’ll wish was stock on all your bibs. After having owned lots of bibs over my 10+ years of cycling from dozens of different makers, I’m a huge fan of Voler. And the Chrono SLM is hands down the very best chamois I’ve ever tried. Even after 5-6 hours in the saddle, this thing keeps its cushion without leaving chaffing or soreness behind (oh, what a pun).
The Chrono uses different densities of foam to offer padding where it’s needed most, and it avoids that “diaper” feeling by using flex-fit sides and low density foam along the edges. Completely seamless, this pad completely avoids chafing points. The four-way stretch fabric moves with you, and breathes well.
The Slight Bummer
My one gripe with Voler, however, is that unless you’re ordering custom kits (which I get through my team) they don’t offer women’s bib shorts in their collections. Sure, you can get bibs in black, and if you’re a guy you can get them in any collection. But we gals are left to brave muffin top shorts if we aren’t ordering custom gear. Trust me, girls, if you haven’t tried bibs yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Yes, the elastic-free wastebands help, but bibs are just so sleek.
I am totally sold on Voler’s collections. Their new Black Label line not only looks sharp, but it’s loaded with all their coolest features. Although I haven’t tried the new Comp HP pad that comes with the Black Label, I hope that it will be every bit as comfortable as the Chrono.
If you’re in need of a new pair of cycling shorts/bibs, Voler is a great place to start looking. As a reader of my blog, you can also get $10 in free Voler Bucks just for shopping. Are Voler kits some of your favorites? Comment below!