Review: Capo Padrone bib short. The boss is king.

Capo Padrone.

Capo is known for their beautiful Italian style cycling apparel and the Padrone is their work of art and engineering.

The $250 bib short is part of the high-end Padrone collection and that fashion approach one of the major reasons why Capo earns such high marks.

Capo creates nothing in isolation. Each piece of gear — from bib and jersey to gloves, arm warmers and vest — is not only designed to perform on its own but as part of an entire kit. That kind of tight integration boosts performance, comfort and style points.

Super thin shoulder straps.

The Padrone is in the details. For example, the shoulder straps are wide and super thin laser-cut lycra bonded with mesh. Besides the hot weather breathability and stretch, the straps are invisible underneath your jersey. No raised or bunched fabric — just a clean line down the shoulder. A Giorgio Armani move.

The thigh bands on the Padrone also receive a slightly thicker version of the bonded lycra and mesh — Capo calls it Dual Ply Power V. The fabric gives you a sleek and compressive look. But again, that’s just half the benefit — now your knee and leg warmers fit under the bib short with a tailored look and the transition line barely exists. Think of the Padrone as a suit, not simply pieces and parts.

Thigh bands.

Certainly, all that attention to detail and fashion and fit are backed up by impressive technical specs. The Anatomic 4G pad is top notch. It’s a dual density design (8mm and 6mm) with carbon threads in the anti-microbial micro-fiber. Our experience in the saddle with the Padrone is that it excels on the longer rides. Padrone means “boss” in Italian and if the boss wants to knock off 75 miles on a Tuesday afternoon then nobody at the office is going to stop him.

Everything about the Padrone feels dialed in. They use an HG (high gauge) Power Lycra that seems to tighten up the 4G pad position. That may also account for why the Padrone seems to get more comfortable the longer you ride. The HG also delivers extra abrasion resistance in case you hit the tarmac one of these days.

Anatomic 4G.

Capo is based in California but takes its inspiration and fabrics from Italy. It’s that mix of old and new world that seems to bring out the best. The Padrone is cutting edge in terms of innovation but willfully insistent on craftsmanship.

When you integrate style and function across an entire collection, the benefits multiply. The Padrone bib is designed to enhance the performance of the Padrone jersey which is designed to enhance the performance of the Padrone vest. Generally, we throw our bibs and jerseys in a drawer or cubby, but we actually place our Padrone bib and long sleeve jersey on a hanger to be enjoyed even when we’re off the bike.

Padrone. The boss' bib.

Part of Capo’s “collection” approach to design is that what you buy is a cohesive and comprehensive look. All the elements fit together and that also enhances and simplifies the shopping experience. Other brands are just now catching onto the Capo idea of design unity and visual language. The Padrone, like all the Capo lines, is a complete four season cycling wardrobe.

Some final thoughts: we found the Padrone to be one of the best fitting bibs of the nearly dozen we’ve tested this year. In particular the slim, wide straps seem less prone to sliding. The bib front comes up higher on the stomach than most and again, that gives you that extra measure of tailored support. There’s even a subtle dark pinstripe to the Capo Wave fabric. It’s a subliminal cue from the Padrone that says power just like a corporate lawyers’ suit. The 4G Anatomical pad encourages you to tack on an extra 45 minutes to your ride.

Verdict: The Padrone is an impressive and well-crafted bib short that will take you far down the road in style. The boss has aggressive expansion plans –beware Assos, Capo is headed your way.

Capo website

Capo Padrone $250

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20 Responses to “Review: Capo Padrone bib short. The boss is king.”

  1. I have two pairs of shorts from Capo that I absolutely feel are the best I have worn, particularly for the padding insert on longer rides. they are the most comfortable shorts I have ever used in the past 20+ years. My only complaint is the screened on logo which is beginning to peel at the edges. it seems that sublimation may have been a better way to include the moniker. It is a small thing to complain about, I know. Is the logo on the Padrone shorts screened on or sublimated?

    • Sam, a good question. I'm guessing screened and I totally agree. It's a bizarre oversight because when you spend that kind of money, you're also buying the name and the good looks. You would think companies would make 100% sure their logos and names wouldn't be the first thing to wear off. That's just not smart. I'll ask the Capo guy when I review the long sleeve jersey. Any interest in writing a guest post on the route of the 2012 US Pro? Can be short or long or your impressions of any kind — even if it's just a stage or two. Matt

  2. Some high praise but makes me wonder how many of the OTHER $250 bib-shorts you've tried? I find it hard to believe these are so superior especially when the logo peels off. Disclaimer: Santini supplies our kit and I have tried their top-of-the-line bibs, though we reordered the same model we've had for years because we didn't think the new ones were twice as good–which they should be for twice the price!

    • Larry, I've personally reviewed about 10 bib shorts in the last year. So at this point I consider myself a pretty good evaluator of bib. I have a Castelli and a Rapha coming in soon and the latest top of the line Hincapie Signature in test right now. I have not tried the Assos and that is a high priority. Thanks for checking in.

    • Larry T — I own the Capo Padrone bib shorts, and they are the best (fabric, design, pad, & straps) I own, or have tried on. The Santini bibs are also good, and I consider them along with Giordana, DeMarchi, and Assos as a close SECOND best. The Santini fit and pad were good, but the fabrics were a cut flimsier than the Capo Padrone. Campagnolo Sportswear (now defunct) and Castelli BodySkins are the next level down. Castelli shoulder straps are terrible & Castelli quality control is below par (loose & disintegrating stitching). Voler (pre-2011) and Craft bibshorts weren’t very good, IMO. I haven’t tried Rapha or LG.

      • Hi Jerry, thanks for taking the time for input. Appreciate it. I would agree that in my limited exposure to Castelli there are some quality control issues. I like my Rapha bibs but they’re a little short on style for me. In that respect, CAPO is king. Matt

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