The Extreme Tech Plus bib shorts are place firmly at the performance racing end of Italian cycling apparel manufacturer Northwave's considerable bib short line up. With a veritable plethora of odd technology names featured in the description of the shorts, I was interested to see how and if they would work for me.
In a word, the fit of these shorts is comfy. Getting a bit more detailed, I found the straps, filled with their nifty laser cut rectangular holes, to be wide enough not to do any digging in and placed well in the middle of my shoulder so not to irritate my classic cyclist's re-fused collarbone.
The most notable fit feature of the Extremes for me though is the leg length. Once you're out riding and they've settled into their natural position, these shorts come up short. If you are a fan of the 'almost to the knee' Wiggo look, the Northwaves are not going to be for you. We're talking close to Thomas Voeckler levels of leg on show here.
To honest it didn't bother me out on the road. The only time it would have been an annoyance was if I lived somewhere consistently sunny, and as a result ended up with the dreaded double tan line. But this is the UK. Consistent sun is all but a pipe dream.
Ok, so these 'material technologies' then. To quickly reel them all off, these shorts have Response and Miti Tech Power fabrics, a Treasure Air pad, Airgrip straps, and BioMap construction.
What does this all boil down to? BioMap is essentially the fit, which we've covered above already. As for the fabrics, I can't say I particularly noticed anything special about them. It all stretched nicely and conformed to my quads and posterior very nicely, and wicked away sweat very well leaving me as cool and dry I could hope while out hammering a bike up various inclines around the West Country.
The pad is a bit different from many that I've found in 'performance' bib shorts. While most seem go for fancy channels and varying thicknesses now, Northwave have kept it simple and have put in a single thickness, uniform chamois. And it works just as well as - and noticeably better than - many others I've tried. How that makes it a 'Treasure Air' pad I'm unsure, but it works, so I'm happy. I've also covered the Airgrip straps above too, I think they're a pretty neat touch and just make your upper body just that little bit less sweaty.
The only issue I've really encountered with these shorts is of my own making, partly. The label in the shorts was in a rather irritating place, especially when walking about. I went to tear it out and now have managed to put a bit of a hole in the back of the shorts, giving anyone following my wheel a rather large incentive to not be following my wheel anymore. A good testament to how much I like these shorts, is that I want to sew up the hole so I can carry on using the shorts post-test. Moral of the story: use scissors.
Finally, a word on price. 125 quid is a lot. No doubt. I would say that the cost is probably on the high side for what you get. As good as they are, I'm not sure I would have been able to tell that they were that highly priced.
Overall, the Northwave Extreme Tech Plus bib shorts have been a very reasonable set of bib shorts that I was happy to race and train hard in. That price is just a bit high for my liking.
Short in leg and a bit long in price, decent shorts suitable for fast and hard racing
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Extreme Tech Plus Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Northwave rate the shorts as a number five (out of five) on their performance scale. Which means something, I'm sure. The shorts are made for racing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Northwave's spiel on their site:
MAIN FABRIC: Response + Miti Tech Power
PAD: Treasure Air
BRACES: Airgrip 4,5 cm + mesh
ELASTIC: Double Lycra 6 cm
REFLEX INSERTS: On legs + back reflective logo
TECH: BioMap construction
Length comes up shorter than most. Didn't bother me, but that is just my preference.
Did the job nicely.
Only problem I had was my own fault, tearing the label out and leaving me with a rather unfortunately placed hole.
I always find it hard to rate items like shorts for weight as I think other things are much more important. Same as any other shorts I've recently ridden in really.
125 quid is a bit steep.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The straps looked cool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact I tore a hole in them.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not at this price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
About the tester
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,