Giving out a “most improved” report card just feels great. I’m feeling a bit like the fifth grade teacher who’s been surprised by the class under-performer suddenly almost beating the class star in a test, and wondering how they’ve cheated.
My previous experience of Tineli bib shorts a couple of years ago was not good, and it looks like I wasn’t the only one. The second result on a google search yielded a thread from vorb.org.nz that was less than flattering. Initially excellent, after a couple of months my bike club’s kit chamois would chafe on any ride over about 20km, even when using Assos chamois cream. These days they rarely see the light of day, only surfacing for short rides as the emergency backup when everything else is in the wash.
So when I placed an order for the BNA kit awhile back, and I was asked did I want a pair of the knicks as well, it was a firm “no thanks”. It was much harder to say that when they came to me and said, “Well, we’ll send you a set at no charge and you can tell us what you think.” So I reluctantly let them send me some bib knicks, but I was certainly going to give them a proper review in exchange.
They arrived shortly thereafter and if you saw my review of the MyTinySun 2700x lights, you’ll see I’ve been less than careful with them, using them in the rigours of 24 hour teams mountain bike racing. Since then I got very busy at work with long hours, leaving very little time for anything other than catching up on sleep, a few domestic duties, and riding on weekends. Riding to work has doubled as midweek training and much needed head-clearing time and I have quietly avoided sharing the ins and outs of these knicks with BNA.
The upside (apart from Christopher of BNA having to chase me for this review) has been that I’ve had the opportunity to put more than six months on this pair of knicks and I have ridden in them at least once, and often twice, a week. The advantage of delaying is that this becomes a “long term test” and any serious problems will usually reveal themselves.
So far these bibs have been excellent. The chamois is comfortable for long rides (4 hours and over) and has held together very well, surviving the throes of our front-loader washing machine and the ravages of the harsh mass-market enzyme-based washing detergents my wife tends to favour. The stitching around the edge is usually the weak point of a majority of bike shorts I’ve owned, but the flat-lock stitching, which is used in appropriate places to eliminate raised seams, has held up very well on the Tinelis.
I still like to use chamois cream for my longer weekend training rides with these bibs, but then I do this with all my shorts. For weekday commutes-come-training rides I occasionally forget, and to be honest it hasn’t made any difference. My butt has survived the 50+ kilometer round trip completely intact.
The fabric wicks perspiration well, and while being slightly warmer than regular non-bib shorts in the summer months due to the upper body suspender section, the more comfortable fit is well worth the trade-off. The support from the shoulders stops them from riding down, and ensures the chamois and surrounding fabric stays firmly in place, preventing the bunching up that I can never seem to get rid of with non-bib shorts. For the 4-hour Sunday morning rides I do when an event is coming up, this keeps chafing under control. A plus is that it helps keep my muffin-top contained as I work off the mid-winter love handles. The full-length zip on the matching jersey goes a long way to compensating for any airflow losses.
The BNA Bib Knicks were a custom order and among the options available, Christopher went with the wide BNA blue colour band around the leg hem and no silicon leg gripper. The legs never ride up, despite having no silicon band to extract my leg hairs. Having that trait in common with the Ground Effect Ringleaders, it proves to me that when the garment is constructed well, silicon leg grippers are not really necessary.
My only criticism would be that I should have requested a medium rather than the Large I was sent. Occasionally I find the inside leg catches on the saddle when negotiating technical rocky roll-downs when riding my new cross-country 29er, and a medium would have been just that bit tighter. At 6’1″ in the old scale (185cm) and a slim build, I could probably have gotten away with it. However, for road riding and my other off-roaders, the large size has been perfectly fine. As the gloss finish wears off the saddle it should be less of an issue.
Would I spend money to buy a pair of these? Now that I’ve had a chance to try them, definitely. The horrid old sandpaper chamois has long since been banished by Tineli to the land of learning experiences. These bibs with the new Luxury Blue chamois continue to perform as well as when they were new and my poor earlier impression has been thoroughly despatched. The value-for-money ratio is excellent, and having matching kit promoting BNA – a resource to the cycling community that makes a difference – feels good.
These BNA custom Bibknicks were available for $100 for the cycling community which was ‘at cost’ and depending on the order quantity, the cost per unit will vary. If these were off-the-shelf bib-knicks they would retail for $150 or more.
Product Performance Report card:
• Most improved.
• Comfortable seamless Luxury Blue chamois performs well even on long rides
• Wrinkle and bunch-free fit
• Excellent design
• Wicks perspiraton well
• Outstanding value for money
• None that were notable
Editor Note: Organising customer cycle wear is always a big job and Tineli were a great partner. BNA provided the design and had positive feedback from Tineli. The original quote matched the final price, delivery was on time and best of all, there were great reports from everyone who purchased. This is top notch gear and well worth the extras such as Flatloc-stitching and reflective piping for the jersey.
More information about Tineli Custom Bib Knicks on the website.