Swedish clothing company Craft, best known for its expertise in winter performance clothing, but has expanded its range to include clothing for the less cold seasons too. BikeRadar tested the mid-range Performance Bike (PB) Tour clothing through an early Australian summer heatwave and found it to offer function that belies its mid-range price point.
For kit that isn’t top of the line, the PB Tour kit packs in plenty of features and high-end fabrics. Both the bib shorts and the jersey are form-fitting and snug without being restrictive when you're on the bike.
The bibs use a ‘body control’ fabric that claims to provide compression benefits without restricting your movement when riding. We were surprised by the quality of the material, given the bibs' price. It has a inoffensive compressive feel and is highly breathable. Despite having a paper-thin construction, the material is showing no obvious signs of wear after months of use.
The bib strap joining link makes plenty of difference to the fit
The bib straps are perfectly placed and stay comfortably in position. This mostly due to the joining link at the back, where the strap shape is held together quite high on the back. They're made from a thin Coolmax mesh, so offer generous ventilation for hot summer days.
Craft’s quality, colourful Performance chamois provided all-day comfort, with one major flaw – a lack of privacy. The front of the chamois just sits too low, making modesty an impossible task.
Our sample has a poorly stitched chamois that isn’t precisely in-line with the elastic outer material, and it was especially noticeable when we were pedalling out of the saddle. This led to a minor sensation of bunching, although it did rectify itself once seated.
The printed leg 'grippers' won't bother hairy riders
Unlike the tacky silicone at the base of the jersey, the grippers on the thighs have a dry, non-sticky feel. The shorts rely as much on the material's compression to prevent it from creeping up as the grippers themselves. It all works well together while offering a clean, seam-free look at the thigh.
While Craft makes some of the best super light summer jerseys out there, the PB Tour isn’t one of them. Mesh material spots are put in common hot areas, but it just isn’t enough to match the best super light jerseys available. The PB Tour jersey does offer good sun protection, and we were comfortable wearing it on warm days, but it isn’t on the same level as the bibs when it comes to shedding heat.
The jersey’s main issue is its full-length zipper. The zipper is backed by a soft material. This prevents it from snagging on base layers beneath but unfortunately it also makes the zipper stiffer than is ideal. The neckline of the jersey is quite tall too, which would been fine on its own, but combined with the stiff zipper it's a nuisance, and makes the neck cuff feel uncomfortably tall and constantly noticeable.
The security pocket isn't sized for a modern smart phone
In addition to three deep rear pockets, a zippered security pocket with a headphone port is provided. It’s too small for a modern smart phone, but is perfect for keys, a multi-tool or a small music player.
The new colourschemes blend a range of presently fashionable tones with an attractive pattern – it’s colourful without being loud. Even with the issues raised, it’s still a highly competitive option at the mid-range price point and shows plenty of influence from pro-level options.
Note: The PB Tour jersey and bibs shorts are sold as separate items. The Jersey retails for AU$119 / US$100 / £44 and the bib shorts are AU$149 / US$150 / £70.