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review

Iris Signature Bib Short III

8
£124.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Soft, stretchy, comfortable and very accommodating – the pad may not be best for epic distances, though
Soft, pliable and stretchy fabric
Excellent bib design with easy to use buckle
Well priced
Good range of sizes
Chamois won't please everyone on longer rides
Weight: 
169g
Contact: 

At road.cc 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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Soft, stretchy and comfortable, the Iris Signature Bib Short III has a brilliantly straightforward solution to the pee-stop issue. They are even available in colours other than black. The relatively low profile pad won't please everyone for very long rides, though.

One of that rare breed of bib shorts that's available in colours other than black (as well as black, obviously), this third iteration of the Iris Signature Bib Short also comes in Olive, Chocolate and Dark Indigo. Which is nice.

The shorts are constructed from four panels of Sensitive Sculpt Light, an Italian fabric. The leg openings feature laser-cut bands to keep them in place, and the chamois is a female-specific CyTech Endurance 2.5 HD. The broad stretch straps use a magnetic closure to attach to the rear of the shorts, to make pee stops easier.

> Buy these online here

The shorts look great and have a pleasant, opaque matt finish. The broad straps are softly stretchy and designed to sit like braces, so should suit all bust sizes with comfort. The softly grippy leg openings keep the shorts in place, but don't squeeze in unflattering ways.

2021 Iris Signature Bib Short III – Black - legs back.jpg

The soft, stretchy and pliable fabric – together with the almost seamless design and the soft straps – make these comfortable from the off, and suitable for a variety of shapes and sizes. The compression effect is gentle, rather than overt, but it's enough that thigh muscles feel supported still. The gently grippy section at the legs keeps them in place very effectively.

2021 Iris Signature Bib Short III – Black - legs front.jpg

Pee stops are a doddle thanks to the magnetic buckle. The straps never ping up high on the back to make retrieval tricky, as they're not under much tension – that also makes the fit more comfortable. The stretch in the shorts makes pulling everything aside easy, too.

2021 Iris Signature Bib Short III – Black - strap back detail.jpg

The CyTech women's chamois is well-shaped and beautifully comfortable, contouring nicely to the body. However, it does compress quite quickly, reducing the level of cushioning over longer rides. For me, it was definitely comfortable for mid-length rides (about 30-40 miles) with a lot of time pushing quite hard on the saddle on long steady climbs, but after that it just wasn't quite cushioned enough.

2021 Iris Signature Bib Short III – Black - chamois.jpg

That said, levels of cushioning are very personal, and the shape and structure of the chamois is excellent. I had the distinct feeling that it was an incompatibility with my relatively firm saddle – it could well be that a less firm saddle might work better here.

> 38 of the best cycling bib shorts – get comfy on longer rides

In hot weather, the main fabric wicks moisture effectively and dries very quickly, while the mesh panels helped keep things cool as well.

2021 Iris Signature Bib Short III – Black - straps back.jpg

Iris deserves a mention for inclusive sizing too, with a range from XS and XXL only aided by a general design that's very accommodating of a variety of body shapes. I tested the size L and it fitted my generous size 14, 5ft 5 frame very well.

Value

At £124 (at the time of writing – they're €145) these mid-market bib shorts compare favourably with other 'boutique' competitors. They are considerably cheaper than the Castelli Premio Black Women's Bib Shorts at £200, the MAAP Women's Team Bib Evo at £190 or the Alé R-EV1 Future Race Lady Bibshorts at £170, for instance, yet none of those feature any easy-pee design.

Overall

For a comfort-break friendly option at a comparable price to the Iris, you're really only looking at the Endura Women's Pro SL Bibshorts at £129.99 For comfort, range of sizes and colour options – as well as the easy-to-use pee-stop design – it's hard to fault these shorts, especially if you like your rides short and sharp.

Verdict

Soft, stretchy, comfortable and very accommodating – the pad may not be best for epic distances, though

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Iris Signature Bib Short III

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Iris says: "Meet the latest update of our hugely popular Signature Bib Short, designed to keep you comfortable while riding all day long. It's constructed using Sensitive Sculpt Light, an innovative technical fabric that gives gentle compression that'll keep the shorts perfectly in place without you feeling constrained."

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

Bib Key Features

Four-panel ergonomic construction

Italian Sensitive Sculpt Light fabric

Anatomical cut with strategically placed seams for comfort and fit in the riding position

CyTech Endurance 2.5 HD women's-specific chamois with Elastic Interface technology

Laser-cut leg bands with silicone print for no-slip, no-pinch comfort and aerodynamic profile

Mesh back panel for ventilation and breathability

Seamless microfiber bib straps for enhanced comfort and fit

Magnetic clip closure for more comfort and easy bathroom breaks

OEKO-TEX 100 and Bluesign certified fabrics

About the CyTech Endurance 2.5 HD Seat Pad

The Italian CyTech Endurance 2.5 HD women's-specific Elastic Interface® chamois is one of the most advanced seat pads on the market today, featuring a 100% antibacterial and hypoallergenic micropolyester construction and is designed specifically for women's anatomy, with a 12mm thickness.

The chamois is an update from a CyTech 2 that was used in the first version of the Iris Signature Bib Short and also uses the 'stitched' technology. The 2.5 offers a more anatomic fit and improved protection throughout the pelvic tract. Very high density foams are applied under the top layer to deliver maximum performance on long distance rides, while special channels help moisture to escape.

Machine washable at 30

Available in size XS-XXL

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Extremely well made and nicely finished, using high end materials.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Perform very well indeed over mid-length rides, but over longer ones I found the chamois compressed somewhat.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

High quality fabric and washes well, so should last.

Rate the product for fit:
 
10/10

Superbly comfortable, and available in a good variety of sizes. The stretch fabric and the broad straps aren't under too much tension.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

Spot on for the sizing table, and very accommodating of different shapes.

Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10

Very light.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Very comfortable indeed over mid-length rides. but I found the chamois compressed too muchfor really good long ride comfort. Possibly they would work better with a less firm saddle.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Very good value against similarly priced bibs with far fewer features.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washes really well in a 30 degree machine wash.

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

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Soft and pliable stretchy fabric, excellent bib design with easy to use buckle, not as expensive as many, good range of sizes.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Chamois pad won't please everyone on longer rides.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £124 (at the time of writing – they're €145) these mid-market bib shorts compare favourably with other 'boutique' competitors. They are considerably cheaper than the Castelli Premio Black Women's Bib Shorts at £200, the MAAP Women's Team Bib Evo at £190 or the Alé R-EV1 Future Race Lady Bibshorts at £170, for instance, yet none of those feature any easy-pee design.

For a comfort-break friendly option at a comparable price to the Iris, you're really only looking at the Endura Women's Pro SL Bibshorts at £129.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are great looking, well-designed and superbly comfortable bib shorts with a really easy-to-use solution to the comfort break problem. The chamois is excellent over mid-length rides but, for me at least, isn't quite cushioned enough for long rides.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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