Clothing to meet Mother Nature head on.

Capo Padrone Bibshorts

Posted: May 29 2013

It's finally arrived! The latest brand to join the Nordiclife family is Capo ......an American label made in Italy. Click  here and scroll down to check out our brief overview.
One of the reasons everyone at Nordiclife is exited about the brand is that it's as yet unknown in the UK. In some states in the US, it holds the honor of second or third best selling brand, but the leap across the pond is relatively recent. Yes, there are people who obviously carry it, and it has gotten some coverage from the odd magazine, but otherwise, it remains an undiscovered gem. This is what attracted me to the brand as I see a lot of people in Rapha, Assos and Castelli (all brands that Capo is competing against), and I always like to be a little different but still on the cutting edge.....and that's exactly what Capo are doing.
                 The materials they use are at the front line of of what's available. Take for example the coldblack® ,  its special finishing technology for textiles that reduces heat build-up on dark fabrics. This is only available on high end materials used and made by the likes of schoeller®. Along with these innovative materials and an uncompromising build quality, Capo puts itself right at the top.

So, having built Capo up, how does the kit really perform? The first bit of kit I got to try was the Capo Padrone bibshorts, from their top end GS range.
Capo Padrone bibshorts
The first thing I noticed was the lack of stretch in the shoulder straps. The Capo importer told me that this is to keep the shorts from moving around. In fact, everything about the shorts are made to stop them moving around, which is the aim of many high end shorts (I did not know that!). After riding 60 miles in them however, it made a lot of sense.
Trying them on, I realised they are not kidding when they say they are aimed more at the racer than weekend warrior (a class I fall into). I am a medium build, 6ft, fairly fit bloke.....and I struggled a little to get them on. Once on, I couldn't decide if I was too fat for the size LARGE. However, I remembered about the compressional aspect of the shorts, and decided to give them a try. Capo use an ultra-high gauge Lycra® offering superior muscle compression, abrasion resistance and moisture transfer. This means they feel a bit tighter than normal/lower priced shorts, but you do get used to it.
The second major innovation in the bibshorts is the top end Elastic Interface Anatomic 4G Chamois pad . To me, the pad is what really helps to make a pair of shorts stand out when it comes to comfort, and this pad is at the top of the pile.

As you can (kind of) see from this wonderful shot I took, there is a channel down the center with very little padding, with targeted zones of high density foam where it's needed......basically on the mapped pressure zones. There is simply no comparison with the "nappy" style pads on cheaper shorts, when it comes to comfort. It's also anatomically shaped, again to provide maximum comfort where it is needed, and no excess material where it is not (there is more info if you click the Elastic Interface link above).
One thing which is noticeable is the length. The leg is cut slightly longer by the looks of it, with the shorts ending just above the knee(for me). One of the racers we are working with mentioned that he thought they were a little long and might ruin his hard earned French tan. I pointed out to him that for anyone riding in the UK, the only tan they are likely to get is from a bottle!
Showing white legs and the somewhat longer leg length.


So, how did they do? Well, I rode 60 miles in them on Sunday morning with temperatures ranging from 9C-16C. I must admit that I never felt too hot or cold in them, which I guess is the coldblack® doing it's job. However, to really test them, I need some warmer weather, so I'll give an update on that. As mentioned at the beginning, I'm not used to such high-end shorts, and the compression and stiffness was evident at the very start of the ride as I was trying to figure out if this was going to be a problem. However, after a few miles, I forgot about it completely as we settled in to our pace. Forgetting about something you're wearing is the ultimate compliment I think, and it wasn't until we reached Brighton for a quick espresso, that I noticed them again. Needless to say, they felt very comfortable and secure on the ride down, especially the pad.
On the second half of the ride back, it got warmer, but again, I didn't notice any change in the shorts....the only change for me was trying to decide if I should take off my arm warmers. The pace was quick and as we got down to the last 10 miles, all three of us were flagging.  However, at this point, I felt very little soreness/lactic acid/fatigue in my legs somehow. It was weird because I know how I normally feel when my legs get tired, but strangely, this was different. Talking to the Capo importer after, he said it was the compression working it's magic, and helping with blood flow to the muscles. Now, I can't really comment after one ride, but I felt my muscles where in better shape and I didn't have the normal soreness/lactic acid/fatigue in my legs. Time will tell if this was a one-off or a phenomena of the shorts.......I'll update the post to let you know.
So, all in all, a very good first impression of the Capo Padrone bibshorts, and a great start to our relationship with the Capo brand.

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