IRIS is a clothing brand set up and run by Dutch ex-pro racer Iris Slappendel, and the fact that the Signature Bib Shorts II from IRIS were designed by an ex-pro cyclist shows. I found them to be exceptionally comfortable and designed with an eye for performance and fit.
Constructed using a six-panel design, the bibs sit beautifully over the hips and high on the waist. The absence of a wast seam or band, and the smooth transition straight into the bib straps, mean there’s nothing to dig in while riding.
The IRIS Signature Bib Shorts II in black and red. Immediate Media Co
The Lycra used is described as ‘Sensitive Sculpt Light’, and combines a firm feel with good flex that’s supportive and figure-hugging without feeling flimsy or harsh.
I tested a size XL, which I’d say corresponds to a generous UK16 or US12, and if you’ve got a curvy figure, everything still feels wonderfully supported without being constricted.
That said, on the hottest rides, the Lycra doesn’t breath as well as some lighter Lycra material found in other shorts, but overall I’ll take that hit as a small price to pay for otherwise outstanding year-round comfort.
The women’s specific chamois is plenty comfortable and provides good support without feeling bulky.
The IRIS Signature Bib Shorts use a single rear strap design with a magnetic popper catch to make toilet breaks easier. Immediate Media Co
IRIS has opted for a Y-shaped strap design, with two straps at the front that meet at the nape of the neck to form one strap at the back. These are made from wide Lycra bands and distribute weight evenly without catching, pulling or rubbing.
The straps are long, which as an above-average 5ft8in / 1m 73cm I appreciated, and there’s enough give to suit a woman who’s taller still. However, if you’re more petite you might find the straps too long.
The strap does require a little arm stretching to get the two ends to meet. Immediate Media Co
A magnetic popper system on the rear strap is designed to allow you to drop the back of the shorts without having to strip of when taking toilet breaks.
The poppers are low profile and will snap into place when you get the two ends of the rear straps together. I did find reaching up my back to find the upper strap under my jersey required a bit of rummaging and contortion, but overall this design solution is my preference to the comfort break issue.
The clasp combines a popper system with magnetic elements that make snapping them together easy. Immediate Media Co
The clasp is low profile but secure. Immediate Media Co
The shorts have handled repeated washing with no loss of elasticity, no bobbling and no obvious wear, which is a good sign.
Overall, I’ve found these shorts supremely comfortable and they suit my curvy shape brilliantly. The IRIS Signature Bib Shorts II are the best all-round bibs I’ve tried and tested.
IRIS Signature Bib Shorts II pricing, sizing and availability
The bibs are available directly from IRIS’s website, but it’s worth noting that kit is often produced on a limited run, particularly the jerseys.
Price: €135 / approx. £120 / international shipping available
Colours: Black, Navy