If you ask me, bib knicks for cycling are getting better every day. The cycling shorts I wore two decades ago without braces and a flimsy foam excuse for chamois bare no relation to modern bib knicks. And even in the last three years, chamois tech and overall quality is making leaps and bounds. For a brand like Scicon, with just one mens and one women’s cycling bib shorts in their program, their expertise flows into this single garment.
Most cyclists have heard of the Italian brand Scicon… even if we all manage to pronounce the name in a completely different way. They have great bike bags for travel and luggage as well as a growing range of accessories; from bike saddle bags which we have reviewed on BNA, to performance and leisure sunglasses, and a superb mens and women’s all-rounder short-nose bike saddle called ELAN. And they also have a few performance cycling garments.
For some context, Scicon is part of the ASG group which was founded in South Africa and is an interesting constellation involving brand ownership and distribution. So you may spot other brands such as Ellsworth Mountain Bikes, Ftech Italian Cyclewear and a[s]g Bike Science which are all connected with ASG.
Last year I recall reading on the Scicon website about the Power Ergo Design and the story of the R&D project by the a[s]g Bike Science team to develop these knicks and the ELAN saddle. I believe the promotion I saw has since been archived, but the pure Italian passion and the way they address design, fashion and performance still resonates.
It sounds like an over exaggeration… but unboxing is a continuation of this journey and is delightful. You (as the spectator in this opening experience) are presented with your immaculate X-Over bib knicks along with two ‘Limited Edition’ espresso cups, each printed with an artists graphic (Giulio Bortignon – The Lone Rider), and a robust mesh shoe bag as a bonus. If first impressions count, then Scicon are going for extra points.
Now the shoe bag is nice, something I can use to keep my cycling kicks neat and tidy while the espresso cups are fun. I think this is a clever marketing tool which triggers the customer connection to the brand. I appreciate that there is no superfluous packaging like plastic bags that just get thrown in the bin.
The X-Over knicks in detail
Under the banner of Power Ergo Design, the X-Over knicks were built to complement the ELAN saddle which I have previous reviewed on BNA and was able to retain for testing. The all-round saddle has been on the road bike and the mountain bike and was the primary test saddle while wearing these cycling knicks. I also tried out my default Prologo Nago Evo Pas saddle as well… but enjoyed the ELAN more and just accepted that the Scicon bike seat was a really good match.
The most important detail for any cycling shorts or knicks is the chamois. While hidden from view, it is so crucial to comfort and is nice to see these knicks sport an Elastic Interface brand chamois. Many of the big names in cyclewear have this brand of chamois and it impacts the price, but the chamois are well made and for me personally, they tend to provide the right fit and comfort so I look out for these when buying.
The one thing about the Elastic Interface is that it is hard to identify the chamois model. For Scicon they make custom chamois which goes under the broad term EIT Signature Pads so the pads in the Scicon X-Over knicks are exclusive. These particular chamois have a generous front section, foam of different densities and a sculpted form that nicely matches the short-nose ELAN saddle.
The knicks have a fairly classic cut (pattern) but are a solid and robust construction. The braces, for example, are broad and sturdy and they sport a few sewn-on patches that ensure that you know these knicks are ‘entirely made in Italy’. There are mesh sections for the back panel and the main fabric boasts 4-way stretch (Mititech Power) and the leg grippers (cuffs) are generously large. These wide cuffs have a lovely silver pattern on the inside and are not obnoxiously sticky so slide on fairly easily and stay put while riding.
The Fit and Look
The size L made for a familiar and comfortable fit. They are easy to get into and although the knicks have a solid construction, they don’t feel heavy.
One thing I noticed after long rides and off the bike is that the cuffs are not especially breathable. I think I noticed this because my hairy legs get a bit itchy when I finish on the bike and sit-down to check my Strava performance. As I considering myself a ‘real cyclist’, some of you may be asking… why doesn’t he shave his legs? Yes, I know the benefits and am no stranger to this either so will suggest, for the Scicon X-Over knicks, shaved or waved legs will be better.
While riding, breathability and comfort were not an issue (even with hairy legs).
For anyone sporting tummy that is a little bigger than you want it to be, you have a bit of space in the front section to tuck-in, though we all know, a little less beer and wine also helps to fix this as well.
The all-black colour means these can be matched to all of the other cycling gear you own. The obligatory 3M reflective tabs are a good edition for night riding.
Paired with the ELAN saddle, these are easily one of my favourite knicks. I would describe them as perfectly suited to the Gran Fondo and endurance racing. In my case, I felt that the padding is a little too generous for aggressive road-racing where you lean over and have a more forward contact position on the saddle.
The chamois was comfortable from the outset and right through to the last pedal stroke; short rides, long rides, these don’t nead to wear-in and don’t wear down as you tear up the kilometers.
Overall the knicks feel comfortable and allow good movement along with an assuring fit. I couldn’t fault these and enjoyed riding with them. Bike shorts however can be very individual and preferences will change from rider to rider but these are knicks I can still easily recommend.
In Europe the knicks retail at €249 while in Australian they have a regular Australian retail price of $399 from asgthestore. It is a grand price for cycling shorts and as good as I feel they are, this price will put them out of contention for many.
HOWEVER… THERE IS A FANTASTIC PRICE right now of $199.99. If you are after a great pair of knicks, the price is really attractive for this quality. I can’t say how long it will be until the regular price returns and in my ranking for ‘value for money’ I am taking the current sale price. With the regular purchase price of $399 price, the Scicon X-Overs have stiff competition from other great brand which also have a good chamois, fit and design.
Scicon products including the X-Over Bibshorts are available online in Australian from asgthestore.com.au