After a recent case of saddle sores I thought it prudent to grab at least one more pair of padded shorts. In the past I have used shorts from Pearl Izumi, Specialized and Louis Garneau. They have done their jobs admirably but not to my full satisfaction. For this reason I have never before written a review of cycling shorts. They all seemed the same - adequate for the job but also lacking that little extra which would be deserving of praise.
Having said all of that I decided to try something new when I visited the Cycle Clothing Shop in my hometown of Englewood, Florida. I was pleasantly surprised by their prices which made me suspicious of the quality of the apparel. Aren't good shorts supposed to cost a lot of money? Isn't it expensive and difficult to create a high quality product? Or, is that what we are taught to believe?
I was introduced to a variety of SPEG shorts, from intro to pro, from a basic thin pad to the orange cushion in the Ferro design. That orange pad caught my attention not because of the color but rather the touch. Squeeze it with your fingers and you'll be in love. Thick, firmly cushioned with the feel of small inner stitched blocks of padding which avoid the stale spots that create sores or rubbing. I had to try a pair.
Keep in mind that clothes are usually not judged by the same standards as bikes or components. The latter require constant, repeated use over a long period of time in various conditions to find flaws. With clothes, even performance gear, you are either comfortable or uncomfortable right away. It might take a while for a disc brake to squeal but if your shorts don't fit or if they rub you wrong, you'll know immediately.
My first test was a big one. I wore the shorts for a non-stop 18 mile CX ride on my local trails. We're talking about bumpy, sandy paths on a bike with no suspension. This included hard stops, almost constant seat contact except in those moments when I would dismount and remount to jump obstacles in Cyclocross fashion. This was a hard, deeply satisfying ride that pushed me into the red zone more than once. I was dirty from the sand and cooking in the heat.
First impression: Wow! I have been riding/racing mountain bikes for 5 years and I have never once ridden without some saddle pain. There has always been just a little hurting on that most sensitive of contact spots. On this day, on the first ride in these shorts - No Pain! None, zero, nada, zilch! Can you tell how excited I am by this discovery? Can you see why I wanted to write a review? I had gotten so used to saddle pain that I assumed it was unavoidable. I have now learned otherwise.
Here is the list of product details directly from their website.
* Highly flexible and fast drying 200g Nylon/Lycra® blend.
*High quality sturdy construction with thicker elastic
waistband with added drawstring.
* Super soft-on-the-skin integrated one piece 3D 'CoolMax®'
SILVER antibacterial pad for both comfort and hygiene in the saddle.
Durable, non-migratory silver based bacteriostatic additive
suppresses generation of odors by inhibiting microbial growth on the fabric.
Effective for the lifetime of the garment, even after repeated laundering.
* Black flatlocked side panel stitching.
* Discreet raised black logos with great quality rubber feel.
* Pro grade Silicon leg grippers to prevent shorts riding up the legs.
* Suitable for all cycling activities.
I don't know if they possess anything special beyond the quality of the pad. I found the shorts to be comfortable and well fitted. The silicon leg grippers do not budge once they are put in place. The waist is both elastic and provides a drawstring. They also held up well in the wash. Subsequent rides have not shown any diminishing of the pad's effectiveness.
Having said all of this, I left the best surprise for last. As many of my readers know, I am a bargain hunter. Having said that, in the past I have spent up to $80. on big name shorts only to be a little disappointed by the performance. However, I purchased the SPEG Ferro shorts at retail for only $35. plus tax. You can get them on their website for even less - $29.95 with FREE shipping!
I'm not promising any miracles, merely relating my experience. People have different tastes and styles in their gear. These shorts suit my body and my budget. If you are in the market for a good pair of cycling shorts and you happen to live in southwest Florida, stop by the Cycle Clothing shop at the address below. They have a friendly staff, a wide selection of cycling clothes and they also design custom apparel.
The Cycle Clothing Shop
648 N Indiana Ave,Towers Plaza
(941) 474 5600