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The height of apparel science.
We won't sugar coat it. For years, we've viewed Giordana's FormaRed Carbon bib shorts as the pinnacle of comfort. However, never being one to rest on its laurels, Giordana has finally surpassed the monolith of FRC, and the name is the EXO System Bib Shorts. Sure, a host of synonyms come to mind -- ambitious, advanced, etc. However, riding is believing, and in the meantime, you should consider EXO as a ground-up reinvention of competition cycling apparel. We're serious, it's that good.
So, you're surely asking, what is it that makes these bib shorts so phenomenal? Well, the name says it all. EXO is short for 'external optimization,' meaning that Giordana is targeting specific muscle groups and regions in order to enhance support and to reduce aerodynamic drag. Right, you've heard this before, but Giordana pursued this initiative with such vigor that it created four exclusive fabrics, and revolutionized the placement and construction of paneling.
Starting at the bulk of the construction, Giordana incorporated its certified Power Lycra fabric, Moovix, at specific leg panels that benefit from its compressive composition. In fact, with a composition weight of 210g/m2, Moovix's compression level is gravitating towards those found in recovery pieces. However, where it differs from these is that it does not feature the gradient design that propagates the enhanced blood flow to the heart. Instead, this material places a focus on muscle support and isolation. By doing this, the Moovix panels limit any needless muscle movement in the pedal stroke, while also protecting against the fatigue-inducing effects of road vibration and muscle oscillation. And while you might be thinking that this sounds overly tight and stuffy, Moovix actually features a hollow microfiber composition that's been knit into a honeycomb structure. Accordingly, the material retains an omnidirectional stretch, as well as breathing and managing moisture with ease.
These attributes are furthered, in a lighter degree, throughout the remaining leg panels. To achieve this, Giordana incorporated its new Granfondo material. This material features a higher thread count than Moovix, while also retaining a similar level of compressive-quality. Accordingly, Granfondo is lighter weight, softer, and more conforming to the muscle groups. In fact, it works almost opposite to the material that's been placed at the inner-thigh and seat panel, Zaffiro. Now, while Zaffiro is similarly soft at the inner-layer against the skin, this material's primary duty is to resist external abrasion, thus its placement at the highest points of friction. As a result, the life of the bib shorts is extended, and your legs remain free from any chafing.
Moving up the towards the waist, we find the same Ametista Core Contour system that's found in FormaRed Carbon. This system relies on the Ametista fabric, which is placed at the circumference of the waist. Again, we see a high-level, 200g/m2 Lycra, only now, Ametista is characterized by its woven-in carbon threads. With the carbon filament, material stretch is controlled, but not just in the supportive sense. Basically, the carbon reinforces the honeycomb-knit Lycra, making it lighter, yet stronger, and allowing it universally stretch in all directions, not just four ways. Additionally, the carbon fiber blocks out static and rogue atmospheric electrical interference for an increased anaerobic output and a delayed onset of fatigue.
At the rear upper panel of the hips, Giordana placed its new lightweight Illusion mesh panels in order to increase ventilation. This concept is furthered by the new AeroFix Pro uppers that provide both omnidirectional stretch and the utmost in breathability. And, of course, AeroFix Pro's primary duty is securing the precise, targeted fit of the EXO bib shorts. The flatlock seams of EXO have been oriented as to provide conformity to body within the cycling position. However, it also follows the muscle groups of the legs in order to provide the aforementioned isolation and support. You'll also notice that Giordana has extended this ideology by lengthening the shorts to just above the knee. Accordingly, EXO provides maximum coverage to the muscles. Altogether, the various components of EXO's construction create a second-skin fit that increases airflow over the body, reducing your aerodynamic profile.
The bib shorts' chamois is one that Giordana touts as being the most advanced in the industry -- the Cirro O.F.. We don't deal in absolutes, but we can say that it's the first chamois we've heard of with Aloe Vera particles directly infused into the threads of the microfiber. Aloe is not only a natural bacteria fighter, but its implementation in the fiber provides a cooling effect that protects and heals during activity. Below the skin layer, the Cirro has a 4mm-thick pad of waffled-texture expanding memory foam. The texture aids in ventilation by moving moisture to the perimeter of the chamois where accelerated evaporation can occur. The final layer of the chamois is a thick section of hand-sewn open cell padding with recessed channels for pressure relief. These technologies amount to a chamois that won't get wet and nasty 100 miles into a ride, let alone 20.
The Giordana EXO Bib Shorts are available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the color Black.
Share your thoughts
Exo vs. Assos FI.Mille
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Height 6'-3"; weight 195lbs; body type athletic.
I ride 3-4 times a week; regular rides in the 30-40 miles with one ride a week in the 70--100 miles.
I bought this bib for my long rides. Other shorts that I use for long rides are Assos fI.mille-s5. I bought the Exo in XL size and the Assos I use are XLG. I bought Assos XLG because that is the size that was recommended based on my height, although my next pair will be an XL, the XLG feels too loose on my waist.
I like the Exo better from the hip up. They are perfect on the waist and the suspenders are in my opinion superior to Assos, I really like the no-seem approach. Also I prefer the cut for both suspenders and on the front at waist level--a bit lower, more opened. I never felt the suspenders for the whole lengths of my rides. The chamois is good but Assos is better. For my liking Assos chamois is just perfect, everything, the fit, the padding. I have not found any other shorts that match that. Also, I like better Assos fit/fabric on the legs. The Exo after a couple of hours start feeling too tight for what I like and it bugged me.
I will use the Exo for my shorter rides and stick with Assos for my long rides, I will just try a size down on the fi.mille next time, to see if the waist gets a bit tighter but still maintains length on the suspenders. For the Exo, not sure if available, if I had a chance to purchase again, I would probably look into XXL to get more room in the legs.
I just picked up a pair of these and I'm very impressed! I didn't think Giordana could do better than the FRC but they somehow managed. I have 5 rides on them now and its my go to short for anything from 50 to 90 degrees. The Compressions is noticeable and keeps the muscles happy on the longest of rides.
I hate to say it, but my Assos shorts may now be set aside for trainer rides.