I first heard of Giro’s New Road line when John Prolly leaked some photos on his website. Right away I was riveted. Casual looking clothing that was fit for road riding? OK, I could check that out. The pieces looked good, and functional. Sleek casual shorts, merino polos and crew neck t-shirt, hidden pockets and venting. Unfortunately the pieces are often sold out and it took till June for me to get my hands on some of the line. The pieces I tested were the 40M short (120.00), which is designed for rides up to 40 miles and meant to be worn with their undershort or under bib (which includes pockets and a fly) and the merino Ride Crew ($85.00). Here I’ve limited my review to the shorts.
The shorts, which come in a slim and regular fit (I managed to fit my sprinters fat thighs into the slim fit), have a small change pocket and a single zippered pocket with enough room to carry ID, cash and my HTC One X phone (one would have no problem fitting their iPhone.)* I took the shorts out on one longish road ride, using a pair of another brand’s undershort. Without the pocketed pieces I was had to use a an old water bottle with the top cut off, old school Pro style, to carry my wind jacket. The shorts don’t bind or ride up, which is often a problem when riding with casual style clothing. It manages to do this by adding small gussets of lyca to the main water resistant fabric. They blend in well and go almost unnoticed.
The 40M short (my only pair of shorts actually) have seen plenty of commuting use, as well as around town action. However where they really shined was Mountain Biking. I’m a roadie at heart and riding in full cycling kit is just a fact of my life. One that doesn’t really fit with Mountain Biking in the Northwest. The problem is that I hate riding in baggies, but these shorts gave me the feeling that I was riding in kit, without the superhero look, making it easier for my friends to be in my presence. The only thing that gave my roadie roots away were my terrible mountain biking skills.
In truth, the line works best when paired with all its parts and obtaining all the pieces can get a little expensive. But there is nothing to stop you from picking up a few random pieces and making them work for you. I also heard from our rep that prices may be coming down next season. Either way the Giro New Road system is worth checking out if you don’t want to show up at the cafe in your team kit, or are looking for a new set of mountain bike threads.
One other quick note on price. These pieces are constructed (sewn) in California, so keep in mind you’re providing a wage for workers here in the US and that’s worth something.
*I switched to an iPhone 5 after writing the draft and can report that it does indeed fit. — Bob