Giro invited Team TWC to ride with them in the Swiss mountains towards the end of last year, when they launched their brand new Chrono clothing range.
The high end road kit impressed us no end – not just because almost every item was available in a women’s equivalent, not just because the senior designer is female – but because the clothing performed excellently over a long day in the saddle and over six months later we’re genuinely still wearing it on a regular basis.
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Giro make high end performance road kit, currently residing under the ‘Chrono’ family name, as well as offering a great selection of ‘Venture’ more casual gear designed for commuting, off-roading and more relaxed road riding.
Giro’s Chrono range is their top end road offering – it’s split up into ‘Expert’ and ‘Pro’, the latter featuring some extra technical features and a more aero, race focused fit. There’s a full wardrobe of women’s kit – bibs, jerseys, base layers, warmers, plus matching gloves and caps.
Head designer Karany Nhim is the mastermind behind most of what’s on offer – and we reckon the shining example of her work is the Halterneck Bib shorts.
How we can take comfort breaks easily and quickly when wearing bib shorts has been a conundrum for the cycling industry since it became apparent that women wanted the superior performance of bibs. Many options have been created – from zips right across the crotch to zips around the waist, clasps and grips – but we have to say the halterneck is our favourite. The light mesh upper body stays in place thanks to a strap around the neck, which simply comes over the head when it’s time to visit the little-girls-bush. Not only is the idea beautiful in its simplicity, the upper can act as a base layer on its own, is hugely breathable, and we also think it’s a pretty flattering style.
The only major error we think Giro made was making these excellent bibs available with the very slightly lower end Chrono Expert chamois, then offering the top end Chrono Pro bottoms as a waist short only. Whilst we love the Chrono Expert Halterneck bibs (£119), the Chrono Pro shorts (£119) come with a clever lumbar support compression panel to take care of a cyclist’s hard working lower back, and a custom chamois that offers impeccable comfort - we’d love to see them in a halter bib version.
There’s a wide range of jerseys, but our absolute favourite has to be the Chrono Pro in its Galaxy Print (£139). Giro worked with their Italian production company to create their own unique fabric mix, and they came out with the perfect partnership of polyester and elastane that offers a race-fit aero fit that doesn’t flap around, but also wraps around the contours of a woman’s body to create a flattering silhouette.
Yes, the jersey is expensive. However, it’s genuinely a pleasure to wear, and we believe it is neigh on perfect for a woman after performance that’s comfortable, and makes her feel confident and stylish.
Not into figure hugging road cycling kit? Giro still have more for you. The ‘Venture’ range has evolved since its birth, under the name of ‘New Road’ but the premise is the same: clothing that works on and off the bike. Consisting of more leniently fitting jerseys, as well as casual button down v-necks and city shorts, the Venture collection has always spoken to the large portion of the female audience not into the masculine, head-down lycra look.
The shorts can be teamed with padded undershorts, and the jerseys use a merino mix to offer breathability and sweat wicking – this kit is designed to perform over a longer ride, and for those who just don’t like the traditional cycling ‘look’ Venture offers a great alternative.
Shoes and Helmets
Giro don’t stop at clothing – shoes and helmets are just as much a part of what they do, and last year they finally added a women’s version of their pioneering Empire lace up shoe. At over £200, these are pretty special shoes designed for a woman taking her riding very seriously, and it's nice to see Giro support that market.
Cycling shoes are designed around a 3D model, called a ‘last’ and up until the end of 2015 there wasn’t a Giro Empire shoe build for a woman’s foot. However, after first developing a limited edition run that proved hugely successful, the Women’s Empire was born, in a stunning patent black with the option of green or black laces. The laces mean that the shoe can be more properly tailored to the rider’s foot, avoiding the nasty ‘hot foot’ syndrome that can be caused by overly tight shoes, and the numbness of cold and compressed feet in winter.
All Giro helmets can now boast in-build MIPS technology, which aims to reduce rotational forces in the event of an accident – thus cutting down the chance of head injury. Helmets are available in a wide range of styles, from the roadie 'Synthe' to the trail helmet ‘Feather’ and the aero 'Selector'.
Yet another thing we love about Giro’s offering is the focus on matching outfit systems – with the women’s Chrono Galaxy Range for women matching beautifully with the stealth black women’s Empire shoes and Synthe helmet. Everything locks together in perfect harmony – almost as though a woman was behind the design…