The C5 Optiline Bib Shorts+ are part of a new range from Gore (formerly Gore Bike Wear, since rebranded with new logo and shorter name) aimed at enthusiast road cyclists. They provide outstanding comfort, while a panel of Windstopper fabric in the front of the shorts gives a little added, ahem, protection from cold winds.
- Pros: Great fit, nice style, good comfort, windproof 'cup'
- Cons: Some more colour options would be nice for the patterned hem
The C5 Optiline Bib Shorts+ are aimed at warmer days so to ensure good breathability they are made entirely from a lightweight meshy material that is thin and comfortable next to the skin. Flatlock stitching is used throughout, with seams strategically place to ensure a good fit and prevent any potential irritation.
The fit is excellent, with a perfect shape around the legs and hips, the material sitting flat next to the body in all areas and the bib straps being stretchy and comfortable over the shoulders. No complaints. There's absolutely no restriction anywhere, they feel like someone has painted a pair of bib shorts onto your body.
The wide elasticated hems spread the pressure around the legs while prevent slippage, and perform as well as the best shorts I've tested in this regard. I also love the bold patterning; it's nice to see Gore taking a more confident approach to styling for a change. You have a choice of white or red, but c'mon Gore, a few more colours would be nice for colour matching purposes.
The 'advanced road' pad uses various densities of foam to ensure there's more padding where you need it most, and less where you don't. It's well executed, feeling comfortable on the saddle whether cruising along in a sitting-up position or perched on the nose when hunkered down in the drops. Long-distance comfort was excellent: a five-hour ride posed no issues at all, nor did two and a half hours on the indoor trainer.
What really sets the padded insert apart from others is the panel of Windstopper material to the front of the shorts. It's integrated right into the chamois and Gore calls it 'Gore Windstopper Cup Technology'. I think you get the gist. The simple idea is to provide a little extra protection from the elements and stop any chilly breezes from getting between your legs. It's not a new idea, Gore has been using this concept in previous bib short products, but it does work. You have nicely breathable mesh on your legs but a bit of extra insulation for your tackle, ensuring that the shorts work in a broader range of temperatures.
It's noticeable in the cooler weather of spring, that area feeling a little less chilly than the mesh material covering the legs. It also means these shorts are okay to wear on chillier spring days than the hot Alpine weather they are really designed for. Paired with leg or knee warmers, they provide a nice setup for fresh temperatures.
I'll come back to this review once I've tested the shorts in some proper hot weather. I will add that I've used them for several hot and steamy indoor training sessions and here they've been noticeably nicer to wear because they feel so light and breezy compared with a lot of regular Lycra bib shorts.
Getting this close to £100 means there is plenty of choice in the bib shorts market, but also a high expectation of performance and quality. The Gore shorts don’t fall short of my demands at all. Some can have the odd niggle, like the Milltag Sector shorts, for example, but there’s nothing to fault at all here. They're up there with the Endura M90 bib shorts and have the added Windstopper front panel, which is a neat feature. Then again, although £90 isn't as high as some, you can still save yourself a few quid – a look at the Sportful Giro shorts makes you wonder whether you really need to spend more.
Gore really knows how to produce excellent cycling products, and these bib shorts are well designed, with some nice features that help them stand out in a crowded category. Getting a good pair of bib shorts is important, and I'm happy to recommend these if you're in the market for a pair that will cope with warmer temperatures and provide comfortable cushioning for long rides.
Outstandingly comfortable bib shorts with Windstopper Cup protection
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C5 Optiline Bib Shorts+
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says, "Even on the hottest days, when the sun is shining, the wind can be chilly once you've summited the last climb. With breathable fabric all around, the Gore Wear C5 Optiline Bib Shorts+ manage moisture to keep the chill off. A Gore Windstopper inner thigh covering adds extra protection. Working at the intersection of the human body and technology, Gore's designers create products that master the elements by optimizing comfort, breathability, lightweight, weather protection, insulation and versatility. Gore's products embody their commitment to innovation born from understanding the specific needs of athletes and engineered to enhance their experiences - Gore create highly functional products using Gore world-leading fabric technologies to deliver simplicity at the point of need.
"C5: Products designed with optimized sport-specific features, shape, form and fit with added versatility. Best for: Sport specific use with added versatility"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Flat hem provides optimum fit and comfort
Full mesh bib construction for optimum ventilation
Quick drying and breathable fabric with print logos
Optimized seam placement for comfort
GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Cup Technology
ADVANCED ROAD seat insert with highly breathable, preformed windproof front for pressure relief
Inseam length 25 cm / 10 inches
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Go through a regular wash just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really comfortable, just what you want from your bib shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent fit and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Struggling to find anything to fault.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There's not a lot to find fault with; they're a really nicely designed pair of bib shorts that work well, ideal for warmer climes.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.