Specialized as a brand should be commended for its commitment to producing women's specific products for every type of cyclist at a range of levels.
I recently put one of the brands higher end products to the test - the Specialized SL Pro Bib Shorts and the SL Pro Jersey.
Specialized SL Pro Bib Shorts
The shorts are made of a thick, supportive lycra with mesh straps. I have ridden in these shorts in both warm and cooler climates, and have to say that the mesh wicks away sweat really efficiently and is super breathable. On first inspection I was slightly worried that the mesh would be quite itchy as it felt quite rough but I was relieved to discover that it is perfectly comfortable, even on long rides.
It is also worth noting for those who ride in sunny climes that the Specialized SL Pro Shorts are equipped with UV 50+.
The short itself is pretty short. So this might not be the best option for ladies who prefer their short to lie just above the knee, although I am tall at 5'10" so they sat particularly short on me!
The bib shorts felt really secure on, and the chamois, nice and slim, did budge throughout my ride ensuring my undercarriage remained in tip top condition!
My only gripe with the Specialized SL Pro Bib Shorts came with the leg cuff. It is nice and wide, efforts have clearly been made to make it as flattering as possible. But unfortunately it didn't pass the old sausage leg test. On the bike, it was totally fine, but off it, I did feel a little self conscious. I think this may have been due in part to the fact that the short sat particularly high on me due to my stature.
The SL Pro Bib Short is available in three colour combinations - plain black, black and teal and black and red.
Price: The 2015 version is not available but the 2014 version is currently on sale £78 reduced from £130
Specialized SL Pro Jersey
The most notable thing about the Specialized SL Pro Jersey is how insanely comfortable is it when you slip in on. The fabric used in the jersey is silky to the touch down the middle with ventilated sides and back. Even in really hot weather this jersey wicked away sweat super efficiently. For added ventilation (and easier toilet breaks!) the jersey has a full length zip.
Elsewhere the Specialized SL Pro Jersey has a broad, lightly elasticated strip on the arm so the jersey sits nice and flat and silicone grippers at the bottom of the jersey to ensure the it stays put.
The jersey is equipped with three standard jersey pockets and an additional sweat proof zipped pocket which I especially loved (I may have whipped out a £20 note form my bib shorts in Sainsburys not so ago to discover soaking wet money doesn't work in the automated machines!).
In addition to the fit and comfort of this jersey, I also loved the style. Available in three colour combinations - black and red, black and pink and plain black, I especially loved the subtle same colour patterns that run across the three of them. It is a really nice touch.
Available from early 2015.
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