The Giordana Women’s Trade FR-C kit stitches together multiple fabric technologies, as hinted at by the product name (FR-C stands for 'formared-carbon'). It does so with style, creating a light, well-fitting jersey-and-bibshorts combo that is one of the most comfortable we have ridden in.
The jersey and bibshorts feel paper thin, moving with the body without pressure points or hot spots. They are a pleasure to ride in. The honeycomb knit of the light Asteria 2.0 fabric used on the bulk of the jersey provides excellent ventilation and an even fit. Micro-mesh allows for extra airflow under the arms.
A fabric woven with carbon is used on the side panels and the back, which prevents the jersey from stretching out of shape. It wicks moisture and is claimed to aid muscle performance and body temperature control. This is paired up with wide Aerofix cuffs that hold the arms and waist securely in place.
We were glad to see that Giordana has moved away from the short-waisted designs that ruined the appeal of many of their women’s jerseys in the past. Bold graphics, fashionable colours and flattering lines mean this kit looks the part too.
Plenty of storage with deep pockets and a fourth, zippered security pocket
Three deep pockets and a fourth, zipped option provide ample storage at the rear, which is always nice to see in women’s kit. A soft collar and a section of fabric to prevents the full length zip rubbing at the waist showed that Giordana has thought carefully about the details.
The jersey (AU$199.99 / US$175 / £91.99) is cut to be racy. Our test top was a size larger than necessary, which provided a slightly more relaxed and flattering fit. It stayed perfectly in place while riding, even with the pockets loaded up. This is testament to the excellent cut and the support provided by the well thought-out use of materials.
The Trade FR-C Team bibshorts (AU$199.99 / US$180 / £99.99) feel just as high-quality as the jersey. Durable Zaffiro fabric is used around the chamois and inner thighs to prevent stretch and abrasion that would decrease the shorts' lifespan. This material did tend to squeak on non-leather saddles though.
Flattering and comfortable leg grippers that remained in place
The silicon infused AeroLite fabric at the leg grippers is one of the best responses to this area of bib design that we’ve seen in a while. It allows a flattering and comfortable fit without creating ugly leg bulges or digging in at the skin. It’s also grippy enough to hold energy gels in place when racing, something not all compression style knicks do very well unless you opt for a very small size.
The Cirro O.F. chamois was comfortable during all day rides. It contours the body nicely, providing support where you need it without adding unnecessary bulk.
Given the price of these garments, we were concerned about durability, because of the light, professional feel of the materials. They have maintained their shape exceptionally well during the test period. This is in part due to the careful choices of fabrics, stitching and cut, which prevent it stretching while riding. Reflective elements are sewn in separately so they don’t peel off after a few months of use.
AU$400 / US$355 / £192 is a lot to pay for a set of riding kit, but the comfort and quality of the Trade FR-C apparel make it a worthwhile investment. The bibs outperformed some more expensive competitors, while the jersey demonstrated the fit and performance benefits of spending a bit more up top.