Review: Belgian Boys Club Tommeke Bib Shorts - Belgian Flag (€159)
I was too inspired from the Ronde van Vlaanderen to stay inside Sunday evening. The road cycling world is in the grip of Holy Week: the seven days starting with the Tour of Flanders and finishing with Paris-Roubaix. It has been a while since I updated my bib collection from the fine folks at Belgian Boys Club, so I decided the Belgian flag edition would look nice. I pulled it off the hanger Sunday and, with the addition of their pale blue Belgie jersey and high top socks, I rolled out the door for a sunset ride. There were no cobbles to speak of, only a comfort I have come to expect from Belgian Boys Club.
I had actually passed over these bibs the day before when it was slightly cooler. I opted on the standard black Belgian Boys Club bibs for that day. Why the difference you may ask. My Tommeke black bibs were prior to the mesh inserts on the upper hip. I figured the little bit of warmth would get me through Saturday’s ride. On Sunday evening the temperatures had crept a little higher, and I did not hesitate to pull the Belgian flag bibs on. The mesh panel on the new bibs would come in handy during the hard efforts.
To get to the mechanics of it the bib shorts have satisfying shoulder straps that don’t dig into the shoulders late in the ride. The white double seamed straps are nice and wide, an approach that is appreciated during longer rides. The straps never become the saw blades characteristic of other companies’ thinner straps. With comfort up top comes comfort down below. The chamois pad in each Belgian Boys Club bib is dependable and comfortable. There are no two ways about it. These are the chamois pads we yearn for when using other companies’ kits. Coming from the land of cobble stones, it’s no wonder the bib’s pad is supremely comfortable. The whole garment is held together with extreme comfort in compression. For long days in the saddle a tight bib short can help along those final few miles. Preventing jiggling from rough road or cobbles is aided by the tight fit and long reach of these bibs.
Still to be expected are the nuances brought forth by Belgian Boys Club. Continuing its presence is the gloss black Lion of Flanders returning your doubtful, wincing, desperate face when you look down after being dropped. The reflectors located on the hamstrings of the garment are also still present to add a safety element. The tiny Belgian flag, the rubber-stamped Belgian Boys Club insignia, and the subtle claim in white letters of the Belgian Boys Club proper round out the features shared on both bibs. But obviously the presence of the Belgian stripes along the left leg should add some power when the Lion of Flanders hasn’t convinced you to jump back onto the pedals and catch the last guy in the breakaway. You chose to wear Belgian colors; getting dropped is not an option when wearing them.
Being able to compare the newer bibs to the older revealed what I’ve said all along. I have always reserved my Belgian Boys Club bibs for special occasions, be they classic events, commemoration rides like Flanders or Roubaix, or long days in the saddle. Going from the old bibs to the new showcased something important to remember when considering Belgian Boys Club attire. After wearing my Tommeke bib shorts for many years, the fit and compression has remained the same.
On Sunday, I may not have plowed my way through the tiny tunnel of screaming crowds on the Paterberg or the Kwaremont. I may not have left my house with knee warmers. I did leave with one less concern when feeling inspired to seek out Strava segments nearby. I was hardly concerned about discomfort at any point during my ride. I have repeated this missive in my Belgian Boys Club reviews, but it’s worth repeating. These bibs are on par with the best bibs in the world, yet the price is substantially lower. Since being dropped is not an option with these bibs in particular, I will say they will also make you suddenly faster, too.