Compression wear (banned from UCI sanctioned racing) claims to offer multiple performance benefits, including increased blood flow, reduced blood lactate concentration and improved recovery. With the Ballistic bib shorts ($149.99), Netti aim to offer these benefits at a more affordable price.
The Ballastic bib shorts feature noticeable material compression, quality construction and a comfortable chamois, but were unfortunately let down by a few quirks in the fit.
On first wear, we noticed that the fit around the legs was extremely snug. This felt unusual and constrictive compared to wearing standard bibs, but right in line with a good compression tight. It took a couple of rides before the material stretched and didn’t restrict our pedalling action. After this we quickly began to appreciate the additional support.
The compression material ends before reaching the bibs straps and our 'not race fit' test rider noted that the tight material created an unflattering pinched muffin-top look at the front if worn without a baselayer.
A poorly placed stitch was all that stopped the Ballistic bib shorts scoring higher
The Ballistics use reinforced stitching to cope with the stresses of the compression material. Sadly, the strong flat-lock stitching at the inner thigh had an abrasive feel and quickly became irritating with our test rider’s narrow pedalling position (known to wear out saddle noses).
The bib straps were appropriately sized, with no pressure or resistance when standing tall. However, once on the bike the front of the straps had a tendency to bunch up and place pressure on a single spot. Like the inner thigh stitching, this wasn't painful, but did irritate after a few hours. The straps weren’t an issue when worn with a baselayer though.
The 3D shaped chamois was well padded, comfortable and a good example of the overall high quality features for the price. Strangely, the washing instruction tags were stitched directly above the chamois pad – luckily the compression nature of the shorts stopped this from tickling us.
Reflective logos on the right side of the bibs were a nice difference from most overseas designed clothing that places the logo on the left. It’s worth keeping in mind that fit is personal and experiences may vary. For us, although they were so good in many areas, the Ballistic bibs just missed the mark for long days in the saddle.