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Bontrager Ballista Bib Short



Simply, you get what you pay for: pro-level performance for us mere mortals

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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  • Appalling

The Bontrager Ballista bib shorts are expensive but they're an example of the old adage, you get what you pay for. With a comfortable pad and a performance orientated fit they are a top choice for the racer or rider who likes to put the power down.

The inForm synthetic chamois is a good 'un. It's narrow in section and has the padding positioned exactly where you need it. Increasing layers at the sit bones towards the rear of the chamois offer comfort when you're in a more upright position without causing any bunching once you slip into the drops.

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The frontal area follows the same ethos, with padding where you need it and none where you don't. Designed with the pro racer in mind it's no surprise that the Ballistas feel more comfortable when crouched in an aerodynamic tuck.

The Profila Power material is shiny to the touch and has a huge amount of stretch to it, which gives a compressive feel to your working muscles. This also means a great fit as once you've got them on they don't move at all, with the legs only needing minimal grippers to keep them in place and therefore no pressure points.

The rear parts of the bibs are made from mesh for breathability, though the actual straps are made from the same material as the rest of the shorts. Again the huge amount of stretch means the shorts easily move around with you as you go from seated to standing without pulling tight over your shoulders.

A neat little touch is the radio pocket on the rear of the bibs; okay, so not a lot of us need to speak to our following team car, but it's the perfect size for an mp3 player, cash or a key.

As far as fit goes it's much the same size as most Italian clothing. Basically, go up a size unless you want things super-tight or if you are tall, as you'll need the extra length in the bibs.

>> Check out our guide to finding the best bib shorts for your budget here

Thoughts on value are individual to each and every consumer; some will baulk at spending £140 on a pair of shorts, but if I had and then got off the bike feeling as fresh and comfortable as I did in the Ballistas, then it's money well spent.

They don't feel as fragile as a lot of top end shorts, either. The material is strong and you can really yank them on without tugging a seam or anything, so they should last well, too.

Overall, the Bontrager Ballista bibs are designed with the top level racer in mind and it's that quality of cut, fit, material and comfort that comes through when wearing them. You don't need to be a sponsored pro to wear them, but you'll get the same benefits.


Simply, you get what you pay for: pro-level performance for us mere mortals

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Make and model: Bontrager Ballista Bib Short

Size tested: Medium, Black/Mint

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Bontrager says: "A performance bibshort designed and developed for use by athletes at the highest levels of cycling."

I'd be inclined to agree. They feel lovely, the type of kit you could ride in for hours plus the compressive material adds to the performance effect.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

*Mesh bib straps

*Radio pocket

*Form fitted

*RXL inForm pad

*Compression fabric

*Made in Italy

*Sizes XS - XXL

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Look great and it's nice to find a lightweight, expensive pair of bib shorts that you aren't scared of pulling too tight to get on.

Rate the product for performance:

Stunning compression feel from the shorts while you are wearing them, and the pad can be ridden in all day, hard!

Rate the product for durability:

The material and stitching feel robust.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

They certainly feel lightweight when on.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Fitted and compressive, but the material is smooth and moves with you.

Rate the product for value:

£140 for a pair of bib shorts is expensive but the Ballista bibs are up there with some of the best shorts I've worn.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Absolutely brilliantly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The compression fabric; fitted without being restraining.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is quite exclusive.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Ballista bibs are truly brilliant shorts that offer basically everything I would look for in a pair. Performance, comfort and a great fit plus little extras like the radio pocket, an ideal cash or iPod stash. That price, though... don't get me wrong, compared with a lot of the similarly priced competition they'd still come out on top, but it comes down to whether you can justify £140 for one piece of kit.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,


As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!

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Dr. Ko | 8 years ago

If your purse is also more mortal, consider the Exteondo Feather bibs, yes, they do come with a bit of Belkin on it. But at 50 quid and under 150 g they are worth considering!

That left me with a lot of money for Ritter Sport nutrition bars  3

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