First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 99
I’m going to come out and say it: I like tight-fitting bike clothes. I’m not a fan of flappy baggy jerseys or shorts. It’s probably the racer in me, but I like my kit to fit snugly and not move around during rides. The concept of riding in a pair of baggies with an attached or detachable liner is something I gave up on years ago. It just doesn’t work; everything flops about, and then I sit on myself. An issue I have with the normal mountain bike choice of bib and baggy combo is over-heating. I just can’t get enough air ‘down there’ to keep myself cool and I feel uncomfortable, overheat, and get saddle sores.
But I am open to new ideas. Gore describes these shorts as combining the function of a race-oriented bibshort with the appearance of a mountain bike baggy. Translated as: you get the comfort of a race-fitting bib short; snug, while looking like a mountain biker and not a confused roadie.
My initial feelings towards the bibaggies (as they have become known) were confusion, and moderate revulsion. I didn’t really get what they were trying to do, or be. Let’s start with the outer layer – the baggie bit. Well, for one it’s not that baggy, which in my eyes is great – it’s more of a modesty cover for the bib short underneath it. The outer is made of a light polyester and elastane mix that gives it a nice form fit with loads of stretch. Mesh venting on the sides of the thighs allows air to get in, while an abrasion-resistant material on the inner thigh and seat area should take a few seasons of abuse. Reflective detailing on the legs and side take care of those late summer rides when you’ve forgot lights, and mean they fit into the bike to work scheme as ‘safety kit’. Ahem.
Now, let’s talk about the bib-short section. By making the legs out of mesh, Gore has got around this wonderfully. However, if these bibs were to be worn on their own, rather than with the accompanying baggie outer, they’d probably be best worn in an episode of Rab C. Nesbit. Mesh: that’s all they are, but a very smart mesh, fitted to a flat band of elastane keep it from riding up, and tapers at the waist to stop it falling down. Hands down, these are one of the best fitting bib-short legs I’ve ever had. Is it an issue that they have to have a baggy over them to work without scaring small children? Actually no, I’m OK with that.
The upper bib section is made of a very, very light and thin material that I didn’t notice I was wearing once they were on, but kept the shorts firmly in place with no slipping down. The chamois is a nice well thought-through affair and, like the rest of the shorts, is nicely vented to help keep things dry and comfortable.
I’ve been surprised with these shorts and firmly believe that they will be staying in my riding kit over the summer and into the autumn. Yes, they are a little expensive, but over years of riding, and suffering through saddle sores on multi-day rides I’ve come to terms with spending money on shorts that work.
BEST DEALS ON GORE BIKEWEAR
|Product:||Alp-X Pro 2-in-1 bibaggies|
|From:||Gore Bike Wear, goreapparel.co.uk|
|Tested:||by Greg May for Two months.|