After my first ride in the Alé Corsa bib shorts, I was sure I was going to find the price to be double that of their £65 rrp, the fit and comfort was so impressive. With shaped panels, the Corsas can feel ungainly off the bike, but once in the saddle they are very good indeed.
- Pros: Excellent performance fit, barely noticeable pad
- Cons: Leg grippers can be a little restrictive if you have large thighs
A simple way of determining whether a pair of shorts are any good is whether you pay them any attention at all while riding; when you put on a new pair and don't notice them for the entire ride, especially the pad, that suggests they're doing their job well – and this is exactly what happened with the Corsas. I had to remind myself to concentrate on what I could feel so that I could at least get some feedback on the ride.
These shorts use Alé's 4HF chamois, a saddle-shaped pad of quite a firm density, with a much softer section in the middle to remove perineal pressure and therefore numbness. And that's it, really, no channels or various steps of padding anywhere.
I found the whole thing firm enough to take the bumps out of the ride without it ever feeling bulky as your legs move up and down when pedalling.
As the ride length increased, the comfort levels stayed the same.
Alé uses body mapping for its bib shorts, like a lot of companies do, which means that the various panels are cut in a shape that will reflect the rider when on the bike and in position.
It works very well here, with no areas of the shorts feeling tight or restrictive when you are riding. The mesh bib section has a snug fit to keep everything in position without being pulled tight over the shoulders, and there is no bunching of the material on the legs as you go through the pedalling motion.
My only niggle would be the 5cm thick leg grippers which are quite snug, and as the rides got over three hours the pressure was noticeable. Looking at the sizing chart, I'm spot on for these mediums across the board so I put this down to the fact that I have quite large thighs, 23.5in where the grippers sit (it's not me in the photos).
For a little bit of visibility you can get the Corsas with either fluoro yellow or white Alé logos, plus they have a reflective band around each leg.
Examine the shorts closely and you'll struggle to find a flaw in the stitching or finish, which is very good for a relatively affordable pair, by Alé standards. They compare well on price with others too: the Wearwell Revivals I tested recently, for example, come in at £128; I appreciate there is a difference in manufacturing scale between the two brands, but I'd say the Corsas have a better pad. And the Northwave Extreme bib shorts, which are also really good, come in at just under 90 quid.
In conclusion, I'd say the Corsas are great if you want a high-performing pair of shorts at a sensible price.
Great fit and a barely noticeable pad makes for a really good pair of shorts
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ale Corsa Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Alé says, "Made for riding comfort above all else, regardless of body type, the new Solid Cracle Bibshort has been made with a multi-panel Comfort Fit. Lycra Performer 210g/m2 fabric is used throughout with its excellent coverage and decent muscle support. The bib is made from an extremely elastic and breathable micro mesh fabric, while the 5cm die-cut Leg Stability System keeps the legs in place without restricting blood flow or freedom of movement."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Alé lists these features:
Body Mapping / Mesh stability System
– Super comfort Fit
– Leg hem with Security Reflex
– Straps made in micropierced elastic mesh fabric
SHAMMY 4H F
Shammy '4HF' made of elastic micro-fiber with padding strategically positioned in the contact points. In the perineal and ischiatic area, the 90 kg/cm2 density padding is calibrated and breathable on all covered points to ensure utmost protection against shocks and stresses of the road.
A really nice cut for fast road riding and Alé's sizing is similar to that of the UK brands.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
There have been no issues after quite a few washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really impressive race shorts for quite a small outlay.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Performance vs cost.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tight leg grippers.
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 overall score
The Corsas are simple shorts done well with a decent pad at their heart, and an excellent cut for performance riding. Great price too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is:
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!