The Giordana Laser bib fits well on and off the saddle.
The most important aspect of a road bike short or bib is how well the chamois protects you while riding. The Giordana Laser Bib received the highest rating we awarded in this category (tied with the Craft Performance Short). Giordana's chamois, the Cirro O.F. is made for their most advanced cycling gear. Based on looks alone, it seems rather unremarkable. We were skeptical that it could hold up to Giordana's claims, especially since it was the only chamois in the group that wasn't seamless. However, it proved itself in the saddle with its comfort, breathability, and general protection.
Giordana's Cirro O.F. chamois in the Giordana Laser Bib.
The Cirro O.F. Is 14 mm at its thickest point, but varies in thickness throughout. It is constructed of many layers with the uppermost being permanently infused with Aloe Vera. The Aloe is meant to cool, protect, and heal the skin, in addition to discouraging bacteria from growing. Although we noticed how nice the chamois felt and how well it handled the long rides, it was hard to attribute this to the use of Aloe rather than just a solid chamois construction.
Under the microfiber 'Aloe' layer is a 4 mm memory foam pad with a waffled texture (for moisture transfer). The stitching of the chamois is recessed, so we never had any issues with seams against the skin. The Laser Bib also incorporates a 'prostate gap', which is a small bit of less-dense area in the middle of the chamois to avoid pressure in a sensitive area.
We were able to take the Laser Bib out for rides lasting 7 hours and still have our seats feeling relatively fresh by the end. A large reason for this is that the chamois is flexible enough to move with your body and adhere to the contour of your body while riding. We never experienced any hot spots or chafing areas with the Giordana Laser Bib.
The Giordana Laser Bib ranked at the top of this category with the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib. The in-saddle contoured construction, low-profile chamois, and omni-stretch fabric make this bib excel in efficiency and pedal friendliness. Constructing the bib to fit someone in an aggressive riding position limits the bunching and pulling of fabric on the rider's body. In addition to this, the Giordana Cirro O.F. chamois has a low profile and not a lot of extra fabric, which allowed us to focus on pedaling form and rotation without worrying about discomfort.
There is a direct relationship between having full range of motion and your efficiency. The industry started with 2-way stretch, which graduated to 4-way stretch as the standard. This worked well, but with omni-stretch — where the fabric can stretch in all directions and aren't limited to 2-way or 4-way — there is literally nothing inhibiting your movement. The limiting factor in efficiency is no longer your bib, but rather maintaining proper form while in the saddle.
The plastic and tags had barely settled on the floor before we had the Laser Bib on and were ready for a ride. The first thing we noticed was how wide the bib straps fit across the chest. Most other bibs, including the Equipe and P.R.O. In-R-Cool, have straps that extend along the front of the body in line with the pectorals, usually covering the nipples. The Laser Bib straps were set wider along the front of the body so that they rose to the outside of the pectorals and sat wider over the shoulders. We were a little skeptical of this cut at first, but once we tested them on the bike, we were sold. The stretch of the straps never bothered us or left our trapezius fatigued, and the outside fit never caused chafing or irritation.
The general fit of the Giordana Laser Bib is definitely meant for the riding position. Although it doesn't feel out of place wearing the bib while walking about, everything seems to align when you're in the saddle. The fabric and fit of the legs is very comfortable. You can tell that the Laser Bib is a compression fit, but it isn't as exaggerated as the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib or Craft Performance Short. The leg cuff is a 2" compression band with small leg grippers on the interior, and the combination did a good job holding the shorts down and the chamois in place.
Giordana went all out on the fabric-front with the Laser Bib. The majority of the panels are made from their Moovix and Zaffiro fabrics, which are omni-stretch. The material that makes up the waistband is Giordana's Ametista fabric, a carbon-infused material that offers maximum breathability in addition to support and stretch. All of these fabrics are very lightweight, help support muscles against fatigue from exertion and vibration, and help with airflow and heat regulation.
Generally bibs run a little warmer than shorts while on a ride due to the extra coverage of the upper and bib straps. The Giordana Laser Bib took breathability into consideration with cut, fabric, and the chamois. The front of the bib sits below the belly button, allowing for as much airflow as possible while maintaining the bibs functionality of holding the chamois in place and providing comfort. This is in contrast to the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib, which has a cut that comes well above the belly button and onto the upper back. The Laser bib ranked high in breathability, even compared to the Castelli Velocissimo Due Short and the Craft Performance Short, which don't have the extra coverage of uppers.
Giordana uses its MicroQuad bib straps for the Laser, which are very different in material from the bib straps on the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib, but comparable in breathability. A very lightweight mesh panel between the straps to the mid-back helps to keep the proper fit while maximizing airflow.
Bib shoulder strap detail on the Giordana Laser Bib. The mesh material allows for maximum breathability.
The chamois is a unique roadblock in breathability with bike shorts because it is such a large obstruction in letting the outside fabric breathe and perform its wicking duties. The Laser Bib uses Giordana's top-of-the-line chamois, the Cirro OF, which handles the breathability issue by using a waffled texture to direct excess moisture to the edge of the chamois where it can evaporate.
The Giordana Laser Bib ranked highest in this category for its overall aesthetic appeal. Bibs in general rank a little higher on style by keeping nice lines and a slim profile, but the Giordana Laser Bib did a better job than most at this. The bib materials are all black with a small 1" x .5" rubber medallion of the Giordana Sagittarius mark – the centaur with his bow – in white on the front of the right leg above the cuff and on the back of the left leg above the cuff. Another subtle detail on the left cuff is 'Giordana' screened in a black, grippy material. The only other bits of color on the bib are two small strips of reflective material sewn into the seams on the side of each leg and one very small tag on the back with the logo and the Italian colors – green, white, red – underneath.
The Giordana Laser Bib scored style points by using a subtle approach to material and branding.
Giordana pays special attention to the fabric of the Laser Bib for technical reasons, but this adds to the bibs overall style from a change of patterns in the different panels. The material in the compression panel stretching from the lower back down the outside of each leg is Giordana's Moovix fabric, an extra-breathable, lightweight material with a small checkerboard finish. This ties in nicely with both the rectangle pattern on the waist panel and the MicorQuad bib straps, which have very small rectangles, die cut from the material, to make a mesh.
Most of the other shorts and bibs in our review took style into consideration, the one exception is our Best Buy Award winner, the Pearl Izumi Quest Short, which focused on providing overall functionality with little in the way of style. However, the Giordana Laser Bib took it a step further. Every detail seemed to be considered with style in mind.
The Giordana Laser Bib is perfect for any road cyclist that appreciates quality and expertise in the field. Giordana has provided more than enough bib to cover everything an expert is looking for, while making it a good choice for a cyclist to grow into. If you are a beginner, it might take a while to appreciate the subtlety between the fabrics or the consideration of seam placement, but this is a bib that will treat you right from the beginning, and that we recommend it for all road biking.
The Giordana Laser Bib ranked at the top of our list and is well worth the price tag. It is the most expensive of our testing field, retailing at $190, but it is just $15 more expensive than the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool bib, which we felt did not perform well in comparison. It does come in $140 above the least expensive, the Pearl Izumi Quest Short, but the Laser bib is packed with a number of functional features that the Quest can't touch.
A high-end, high-performance pair of cycling shorts, the Giordana Laser Bibs blew its competitors away. If you want the best of the best for your rides, these are the ones.