Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kraftfit Compression Bike Pants - Review

Kraftfit came out with a new product right before Xterra Malaysia. I got excited to know this as I am looking to replace my 6 years old trishorts that has seen me with 36inch waist and now at 29inch waist. Most importantly, I need to start looking for an affordable padded shorts to assist me in the 180km cycling required in the Ironman triathlon come September 2014. The product from Kraftfit, being compression wear, added to the sweetness, as I could really use some help to support the hamstrings and quads that will see the run (hopefully, and not a walk or crawl) distanced at 42.2km after the long biking. 
Possibly all you could ask for, maybe more.
Straight From Packaging
In other words, the unpacking. The unit I got is sized M, which is a size bigger than my Kraftfit compression (non-padded) shorts. As this is meant for cycling and with padding, going one size up seems logical. Plus the good folks at Kraftfit cautioned me that the material is thicker and tougher to compensate for the additional padding, hence, to be more conservative with the sizing. 
As it is from the pack
The shorts looked like a cross of a full cycling shorts and a tri-shorts. Why I said that is that the top portion is high, meaning it will be worn higher on your waist (where else for a tri-short, it actually sits lower, at the hip bone). Then the leg portion is shorter than normal bike shorts and sits about 4-inches above your knee (where else a cycling shorts sits nearer to the knee).
As a matter of comparison, this photo below is of me during the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya wearing a zoot trishorts
Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya T1 : Race Report Here
You can see how high the shorts sits on my thigh. Now compare it to the Kraftfit padded shorts taken during the recently concluded Xterra World Championship race.
Photo from Cycling Evolution. Credit to them for the superb capture of me looking rather...scared of the water
Here are the photos of the shorts, up close.
Label and care instruction. I cut/removed this to lessen potential chaffing
Back view
A bit clearer without the reflective part shining due to camera flash
Turning it inside out, it revealed the padding (in blue) and chamois on the side. Be informed that the padding/cutting is gender specific.
Designed to let you sit on your sit bone
One nice touch is the anti-ride up rubber garter at the thigh. This prevent the shorts from riding up as you goes through the sports.
The padding was from Coolmax and this photo below shows the clearer construction including the side chamois padding that will help to prevent chaffing on the crotch area.
Back portion
The front padding stops where the male private starts. It basically become less obtrusive and allow a more comfortable wearing without potential chaffing of the scrotum or the penis (there, I've said it)
You be forgiven to think that each panel is for one side of the balls
What Sall I print My Name? 
One of my initial worry is that the construction is of a few panels. Meaning, there could be friction points. However, the flatlock stitching may prevent that from happening. From the photo below, you can see what I meant, the vertical piece and the horizontal piece is three different panels
3-panels, see it?
And inside out, you will see the flatlock stitching.
Flatlock holding upper and lower (with anti-ride up garter)
here, another view. The seams that joint the top and bottom leg portion
The only way to find out is to use it and Xterra was the chosen race.
One more feature that I love is the reflective strips that are on all the wordings and logo. This make perfect sense as it aid visibility to others when riding at night or early morning. Photos below were taken about 3 meters away with flash to emphasise the reflective materials.
Logo at the back
Usage Review
I used this for Xterra World Championship the first time and I believe I was the only one using it. I promised the team that I will give this a fair review as I am essentially testing this for the development team as well. Basically, it is a well thought off product and does what it claims to do. Furthermore, as a compression bike pants, it is filling up a market left by many other manufacturers.
My first fitting on this was good though it did feel funny to be wearing something more padded that my older Zoot shorts. The adjustment to get the padding and the shorts to sit correctly were fast. It did feel a bit more snug that the other bike shorts I have and the material did not stretch and become semi-transparent.
See how it shine? No, not my teeth. :D Thanks Doc!
On The Swim
Testing it as Tri-shorts, it did not feel heavy on the swim. Did not restrict movement and did not feel as if it will slide down my waist. The garter held the shorts at the thigh well and the waist garter performed as it should. What could be better is availability of a draw-string at the waist. My thigh is bigger than usual for M size and my waist is smaller for M size. A drawstring would been perfect. Having said that, no, there were no slippages from the waist. It stayed where it was from start to finish.
On The Bike
Wow! Padding. It felt plush and forgiving especially on the rougher terrains. However, about 15km in, i start to feel the part where the padding (blue) and the Chamois (smoother, black) starts to cause friction point on my butt. It is also where the bike seat and the shorts meet the movement of my legs. It could be bad adjustment, as I actually stopped for a while and readjusted the shorts. The friction point went off, but some damage (on the skin) has occurred. It wasn't bad, but if I did not stop and re-adjust, I may end up with a bad-ass chaffing. 
On The Run
With the shorts for the run, my worry were the same for a padded shorts. As I do the sports "commando" aka no undies (God forbid i crash and tear the shorts!), I took precaution and put some Vaseline between the crotch to lessen the possibility of chaffing. That went really well, as it was more "supple". I should had slapped on more for the bike at those friction point instead of just at the crotch (or balls). No chaffing whatsoever. I am impressed.
The padded shorts performed as it should. Not that it did better than the other shorts I had, but it certainly were comfortable and more specific for the sports I do. Without an overly long thigh section like a typical cycling padded shorts that runs right just above the knee, I have more freedom of movement. 
However, the padding were more substantial compared to a tri-shorts, and thus takes a bit of getting used to. Once your butt make friends with it, no issues.
The pricing is attractive, at RM259.90 (full price), it is a bargain compared to the other cycling shorts or tri-shorts selling easily at additional RM100 more. Bear in mind that this is a Compression-specific shorts, a big missing chain/market between cycling/tri padded shorts and compression specific non-padded shorts/thighs. I did not hesitate to buy it (though I should be getting one via the collaboration between 2ndSkin and Kraftfit). But hey, I would need them for my training and hopefully, my Ironman race in September. No regrets in getting this!
Nicely fitted. Thanks Cycling Evolution!
Next? send this shorts back to Kraftfit for them to print my name on it! Swag!

1 comment:

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