A guide to Parentini’s pads

P.1000_calza_azione

Cycling short design and performance has come on a long way since the days of wool and the ‘chamois’. Over 30 years ago, shorts were made of wool, didn’t have straps (some riders used to use braces to keep their shorts in the right position) and used a thin piece of leather as protection to the rider’s nether regions. This leather was taken from the European Chamois goat (hence the term) and was used to cover the seam that stitched the two legs of the shorts together (before this chamois was used, riders used to suffer from serious friction and pain from this seam). This leather was chosen because it was soft, so created less friction and was also highly absorbent (which is why chamois leather is also used for cleaning and drying cars).

The problem with chamois leather is that when it does get wet or washed, it goes very hard when it dries. You wouldn’t want to ride on a rock hard chamois. Trust me, I’ve suffered this in the past. So chamois cream was developed and used to soften the leather and make it pliable and comfortable again.

Leather chamois fell out of favour in the 1980s, Parentini eventually moving over to a full synthetic range in 1983, the year they sponsored Del Tongo and Giuseppe Saronni. Despite no chamois leather being used anymore, riders still persist with using use chamois cream on their short’s pad to reduce friction.

However, as we’ve mentioned before, there’s no real need to use chamois cream anymore with new modern, synthetic pads, not if your bibshorts fit correctly and you use a very good quality pad. Like Parentini’s.

 

Parentini’s pad range

Background

A lot of research and development goes into Parentini’s pads. Gianpaolo and his team are constantly striving to perfect the interface between a rider’s body and their saddle. Gianpaolo’s mantra is that a rider should never feel that they’re wearing cycle clothing. It should be that comfortable. And the same passion goes into all Parentini’s pads.

 

Design

Gianpaolo and a specialist biomechanic collaborate to study the best shape and design for the pads, for their intended use and price point. As part of the design process, they also study the latest saddle designs and keep an eye on frame materials. This knowledge enables them to know if their designs will work on modern bikes and saddles, attaining rider comfort that they strive for.

Parentini have also designed and developed women specific pads, so that female cyclists can achieve the same high performance and comfort.

 

Manufacturing and testing

Parentini’s pad designs are then manufactured by an outsourced company, who specialise in the production of cycling pads. We can’t mention their name, but suffice to say, they are hand made in Italy. Parentini would want nothing less.

The finished pads are then sent to Parentini’s Tuscan factory, where they are stitched into the shorts by hand, using a particular technique that only a handful of premium manufacturers use. Each pad is hand placed when the short is pre-stretched, this ensures the pad is in the correct position when worn on the bike, not when it’s on the hanger. This is the reason why the stitching around the pad on Parentini shorts appears very wrinkled before you put them on. The seamstresses also use very deep, strong stitching, so that the pad doesn’t move when ridden.

Any new pad and short designs, tweaks and prototypes are then given to the riders of RusVelo, the Danish National Squad and the Parentini Test Team, for their feedback. In the case of RusVelo and the Danish squad, this will be in the testing environment of Pro Tour racing, where the riders will really put the pads to the test.

This feedback is then fed back into the design and manufacturing process, thereby enabling Parentini to continuously improve their pads and shorts.

A strong showing for the Team Denmark on Stage 2 of the Tour of Denmark

 

The Range

Parentini have a selection of four pads, each have a different purpose, be it for cost reasons or for performance reasons. But all feature stretch technology. Being able to stretch means the outer edges of the pad can move with the pedalling motion of the rider but the main critical part of the pad will always stay in contact with you and the saddle. Eliminating any movement in this important area reduces friction, which results in a more comfortable ride and no saddle sores. Comfort, lightness and flexibility in a pad, is what Parentini strive for. If you’ve chosen the right sized short and it fits well then you should not feel the pad on. In fact, you should forget you’re even wearing the shorts!

Within the range, HT (High Technology) pads are a race orientated design, whilst the Flouro is aimed at the Gran Fondo or leisure cyclist who wants supreme comfort. The C6 range indicates that the pad incorporates carbon molecules, to achieve an even higher performing pad. The addition of carbon aids the wicking of sweat, resulting in a drier pad, and it’s anti-bacterial properties ensures optimum hygiene .

So let’s take a look at Parentini’s pads in more detail:

HTOne_man

HT One

Despite being dubbed Parentini’s basic pad, it’s far from basic, featuring an elastic micron outer fabric with an antibacterial treatment, ensuring good breathability and quick drying time. It’s anatomic cut and closed cell helium foam memory padding means it’s comfort belies it’s ‘basic’ tag.

Choose this pad if you want a quality race orientated pad on a budget, or if you prefer a thinner profile pad.

Parentini Shorts and bibtights that use this pad include:

P.Uno Womens

P.Uno bibtights

Uno shorts

P.Uno Womens bibtights

P.Uno Mens

FOTO FONDELLO_C6 copia

C6

This pad is the next up in the Parentini range, and features the addition of double thickness carbon foam. Adding carbon to the foam padding increases the pads breathability, as it improves the transportation of sweat. Along with carbon’s anti-bacterial properties, this ensures the C6 pads are very hygienic.

Comfort wise, it’s lighter than the HT One Range, and more elasticated. As well as boasting double thickness, the padding also features high density, perforated helium cell foam and a slightly altered anatomic cut.

Choose this pad if you are looking for a technical pad on a budget.

The C6 pad can be chosen within the custom Team collection in both the P.Uno and P.Race ranges.

C6-HT

C6 HT

If you’re looking for a real performance pad, the C6 HT is an ideal choice. This is the pad of choice for the RusVelo Pro Team and the Danish Elite National squad, plus many other top amateur racing squads.

Taking the C6 pad, Parentini have added triple thickness padding, two pieces of double density padding to the sit bone areas and have re-worked the anatomic cut of the front part of the pad. This is so the pad works perfectly when riders are in an aggressive racing position. So choose this pad if you are serious about your race performance and training programme.

Parentini Shorts and bibtights that use this pad include:

P.Trentatre

P.Trentacinque

Test Team

Shark K-Dry Winter

Shark K-Dry bibtights

C6-Flou

C6 Flou

This pad is for the high mileage performance rider. Adding to the HT’s features, it includes triple thickness padding to ALL the critical contact points, meaning it has the lowest compression of all Parentini’s pads. Comfort is also increased with its unique anatomic cut and softer finish.

Choose this pad if you’re embarking on a tough, long sportive or Gran Fondo.

Parentini Shorts and bibtights that use this pad include:

Tiger

Tiger Womens

P.1000

C6-Flou WOMAN

Caring for your pads

Once you’ve chosen your particular short and pad, you need to make sure the pad continues to perform as intended. In order to keep hygienic, we recommend washing your shorts after every ride. HOWEVER, you should only use a minimum amount of non-bio detergent, on a 30 degree care cycle. Excess spin cycles should be avoided.

Aggressive machine washing can decompose and destroy the layers of the pad (up to 4 layers in some designs), in some cases this can result in one half of the pad flipping within the shorts, resulting in an uneven pad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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