I kind of dismiss it when someone in marketing tells me that a pair of bib shorts are the best thing ever, but when I hear other people saying similar things about them it’s usually worth a look. So seems to be the case with a new pair of bibs from the Italians at De Marchi. It’s probably a little presumptuous to name a pair of bibs Perfecto, as De Marchi did last year, but I guess they weren’t entirely perfect since this year they get another update. This year’s Perfecto Lux bibs do build on the last version and keep most of the underlying tech that really is a different take on the way a premium pair of shorts can fit and function.
Step past the break for a run down of what make them perfect and what make them luxurious, plus have a look at the matching Perfecta jersey and a couple of special edition retro wool jerseys…
As is probably best seen in the pic at the top, the cut off the bibs is different enough from most shorts that it takes a second to sort out the front from the back (the rear is down.) Also quite apparent, is that there are at least 3 major fabric types that make up the construction of the shorts. These both come down to the fact that the cut is less about a simple fit with the fewest panels/seams and more designed to move with the active muscle groups in the upper leg, while compressing/supporting the muscles perpendicular to their movement and stretching to allow their flexion and extension. A good example of that is the slightly matte fabric in the middle of the leg that has almost no side-to-side stretch but is almost completely free to stretch in line with the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, and sartorius muscles which it covers. This lets the shorts offer a very tight compressive fit, while not sliding around when the rider is in motion. The shorts also get a separate paneled section over the glutes for a supportive fit in the butt and light supportive mesh back and flat bibs straps.
Another element that really sets the Perfecto Lux bibs apart is an exclusive Elastic Interface multi-part stretch chamois that is completely 3D-shaped to the shorts and a part of the actual panel designs. The chamois is actually 3 primary pieces, two main halves and a third front privacy panel, with a heat welded seam smoothly hidden in the construction of the short so as to prevent any chafing, but to maximize a contoured fit. As a result the very flexible pad and shorts hang in a very natural shape (moreso that most shorts with almost flat pads), and the fabric and pad move together exceptionally well. While even some high-end shorts suffer from fabric and pads that stretch independently, with these I couldn’t get the chamois to bunch as much as I bent and folded the shorts in my hand. The look and fit certainly seem interesting, and we might have to give them a proper test when we get a chance.
De Marchi give the Perfecto Lux bibs and Perfecta Lux jersey a healthy dose of smooth soft fabrics and reflective treatments to add visibility to an otherwise dark kit. Since the reflective panels are less breathable than the other body fabrics, they get laser perforations to let air vent more readily. The jersey gets a similarly tech-oriented cut and tight fit, with more breathable fabrics on the back and under the arms and the typical 3+1 reinforced pocket layout in the back. Pricing wasn’t yet available, but expect it to be a small premium over the current non-Lux 230€ bibs and 175€ jersey.
With the 70th anniversary of De Marchi, Faema, and Merckx himself’s 70th birthday, De Marchi has a limited edition retro team reproduction jersey with classic wool construction that even comes with a little Merckx Faema figurine. Also in line with a historical gran fondo style ride organized by De Marchi, they have another special edition jersey. The event, named after the company founder is the Ciclostorica Emilio De Marchi and is held at the end of May every year in the Altamarca region surrounding De Marchi’s Italian HQ. It’s another chance to get out the downtube shifters, put on some wool kit, and ride gravel roads through Italian vineyards.