A Second Skin that Delivers
It seems like you can’t go to any event or pick up a magazine that isn’t talking about compression. The compression craze dominates right now. While I have tried many products in triathlon and running that have compression, I had never tried a cycling short that was compression specific. Skins C400 Compression Bib Short is a very comfortable, high-quality compression bib short that any cyclist would love. If you are looking to add compression to your cycling experience look no further than Skins.
First and foremost, the C400 bib short is very comfortable. It literally fits like a second skin – and is that comfy. There was no odd pulling or pinching anywhere to be found. Even the straps felt good. The fabric is super soft, and the chamois is spot-on. Some bike shorts can feel like you’re wearing a diaper, and others feel like there is no support at all. I think that Skins nailed the chamois – which can be the most difficult, yet most important, element.
Skins’ sizing is based off of height and weight. Instead of your regular S, M, L, XL, there sizing has a range. Make sure you look at this chart. It recommended a medium for me, and it seemed like the right size.
Overall, I really enjoyed wearing compression shorts during cycling. I decided to test these shorts on a nice flat ride and on a monster climb up the local canyon. I loved the support and feel of these shorts throughout the experience. One of the biggest things that I noticed was that the compression seemed to limit the vibration, or at least the perceived vibration, in my quadricep muscles. I feel like this ultimately helped reduce fatigue and let more of my muscle energy be used for biking.
While this is by no means scientific, I felt like they made a difference and were comfortable. They also have a distinctly different feel from any of my other cycling shorts. They were much more supportive, and seemed to “hold” my muscles more, or massage them just a little. It’s hard to describe in words.
There were a few things I didn’t like about this short. First, I did not like the leg bands. Most high-quality shorts seem to be moving from narrow bands to a larger compression fabric band. These shorts use a narrow compression band. While it may be just aesthetics, it didn’t feel as substantial as some other shorts I’ve used. Also, I found on my climbing ride that I sweat a lot in these shorts, and the sweat really showed. Now granted I have the grey and white short (which I wouldn’t recommend), but I did wonder about the breath ability. I haven’t sweat that much in any other shorts I have used – even on steep climbs.
Finally, my only other complaint is that for the price of these shorts, they don’t have a cool, high-end, designer look. While they are comfortable, you don’t look anything like a pro, or even like a sleek cyclist for that matter. One last note – there website is incredibly slow, so be patient!
The Bottom Line ~
The Skin’s C400 Compression Bib Shorts are a comfortable, high-quality bib short that incorporates compression for the serious cyclist. While the shorts are a pricey $300, the quality is great and comes from a company that stands behind their products. I’m not crazy about the narrow compression bands on the legs of the short, the breathability, and the look of the design. However, I feel like these shorts kept my legs fresh during my ride, and that they definitely deliver on the compression promise.