The Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort takes a new angle on cold-weather legwear, combining a longer-cut bibshort with a specific panel to protect your knees while riding.
While the materials performed well, I wasn’t convinced the unique selling point of these shorts is a worthwhile addition.
Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort specifications and details
Construction focuses warmth on the front of the leg for wind protection, with heavier brushed-fleece front panels and lighter-weight back panels.
The front of the knee is covered with a water-repellant fabric, which tapers so that the back of the knee is free and uncovered.
The bib straps also feature ‘warm brushed perforated’ fabric in the centre of the back. Mesh pockets are included on the back of the bibs.
Sportful pitches these shorts at racing and training use, with a price comparable to three-quarter length mid-season offerings from other brands.
Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort performance
I tested these in a small, which proved a good fit and true to Sportful’s size guide. Available up to size XXL, these shorts should cater for a wider size range than some women’s kit providers, with the XXL roughly equivalent to a UK16 to 18 (EU44 to 46).
On first impression, the materials feel delightful. The straps are soft and stretchy, and the cut provides a firm fit around the waist – keeping the chamois securely in place.
However, it’s hard to avoid the unique feature of these shorts – the knee flap. In short, I felt this was designed to solve a problem I’ve never had, sitting between three-quarter length and standard shorts.
Sportful says it protects your knee without restricting movement, but I found it sat awkwardly away from my knee when riding, sticking out as I turned the pedals.
This also means a chunky seam sits just above your knee – the equivalent of a gripper on normal shorts, but lower on the leg due to the design. I found this seam uncomfortable because of where it sat, and how tight it was on the leg.
The looks will be polarising, while the fabric that sticks out didn’t always do the job of keeping my knees warm. I found myself wanting to tuck it away, effectively turning them into normal bib shorts, which is a shame when it’s the defining feature of the product.
I can’t say I particularly appreciated the breeze on the back of my knee either.
I think opting for a standard three-quarter length short would be a more effective option for many riders, or simply sticking to a standard-length bib short, to which you can easily add knee warmers.
The cut is low at the front compared to the other mid-season legwear, providing less insulation than I’d like in cooler conditions, while limiting the cycling jerseys I’d pair the shorts with.
On the plus side, I liked the inclusion of thicker fleece fabric in the front panels, which kept the covered portion of my legs warm even in cold winds.
The chamois was very comfortable, and the addition of pockets over the back of the bib was great for keeping items warm and dry on a wet ride.
Finally, I would have liked to see more reflective detailing on these shorts. Two small logos felt like a meagre offering compared to some of my existing autumn and winter kit, and would have helped to increase visibility in dim conditions.
Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort bottom line
I’m not convinced by the unique selling point of the Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort. I wouldn’t spend £130 on a pair of cycling bib shorts with a feature that doesn’t offer many tangible positives when I could spend the same money on shorts without the feature.
This is a shame because I like aspects of these bib shorts: the fabrics are high-quality and targeted insulation kept me comfortable during harder efforts.
But, ultimately, the Bodyfit Pro Thermal Bibshort felt unnecessarily designed and engineered in testing, and seems to answer a question very few people are asking.