ICE Sportswear was founded by Armin Rahm, a former member of the German National Team, with over 40 years of competitive cycling under his belt. Drawing on his experience, Armin has an understanding of what a cyclist needs. This inspired him to create ICE Sportswear – clothing for athletes, by an athlete.
The company offers custom kit, as well as off-the-shelf, ready to ride designs. One of the ready to ride pieces of kit, is their ICE Carbon Bib Shorts. Featuring 10-panel construction, flatlock stitched seams, compression leg bands, anatomically designed chamois with gel inserts and anti-bacterial treatment, initial impressions make us think this is a high quality piece of clothing…
But how do they ride and how do they fit? One of the Gravel Cyclist crew members put these shorts to the test across paved and gravel roads, over a period of several weeks.
The reviewer is 6’ tall, weighs 160 lbs., with a 32” waist. According to the ICE website and an email to the ICE staff, that calls for size small. That seemed surprising to the reviewer. Other bib shorts in the reviewer’s closet include brands Louis Garneau, Giordana, Castelli and Assos, all of which are either Medium or “5” in Euro sizing.
With the reviewer’s quads measuring approximately 22-23” around, and about 16” around at the bottom of the anti-slip band of the shorts, he definitely falls into the scrawny leg division. The inseam of the shorts measures a little over 10”, which places them as average length compared to other manufacturers. The shorts pull on pretty tight; the tight fit may be the designer’s take on compression. It should be noted that functionally, the tight fit is in the legs, not so much elsewhere.
Two to three hour rides wearing the shorts aboard a road bike in 70-degree temperatures with plenty of sunshine felt great. The initial “compression” seemed to decrease with riding and quickly became a non-issue. The short’s pad has some gel inserts, that couldn’t be felt on the bike, adding no extra bulk. The chamois was nicely sized, sans all the extra stuff in the rear that appears in some shorts. Who sits on that part of their back?
ICE have the chamois dialed perfectly.
Another test for the ICE bibs was a 5-hour dirt road adventure across bumpy limerock roads, rutted dirt, deep sand, and hog-mangled terrain. The ride also included wading through dark standing water, hopefully devoid of alligators, requiring shouldering of one’s bike. In combination with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80’s, this was some chamois challenging terrain.
The shorts passed with flying colors, with no wear and tear on them or the rider. If the reviewer hadn’t been paying attention for this review, the shorts could have been forgotten about. That is how bib shorts should feel – the cyclist shouldn’t be aware of them during a ride.
The final verdict? The ICE Sportswear Carbon Bib Shorts held up exceptionally well to some expensive competition. Priced at $US 119 retail, they are a bargain, with sizing raising the only concern. At the reviewer’s physical proportions, we wondered if a size medium might not be the better choice, compared to the small we reviewed.
If the reviewer’s legs were bigger, compared to his waist, these bibs may have been too tight. However, if the reviewer’s legs were that big, he would probably be faster too, but that’s not a problem with the bibs!