Pro-level kit with a price tag to match
With a name like Über and a £140 price tag you'd expect these shorts from Endura to be pretty darn special. They're good, but I'm not sure they quite live up to the billing.
The first thing that struck me was the dazzling whiteness of our test shorts. White shorts don't blend in and anyone other than a bronzed god with shiny smooth legs glistening with oil from a pre-race massage risks looking like a complete Fred. I've never had the mickey taken so much as when wearing these. Thankfully they at least have a black modesty panel to spare your blushes. More seriously they get dirty incredibly quickly and oil stains don't come out easily. If I'd spent £140 only to find an oily smudge after my first ride I'd be pretty upset. That said, they also come in a more practical black.
If you're going to spend this much on shorts I'd strongly advise trying them on first or buying from somewhere with a very good returns policy. Happily, they fitted nicely. I'd asked for a size M (my usual would be Large) as previous Endura shorts had come up slightly large. They fitted well and to be honest I prefer my shorts to be snug fitting rather than saggy round the straps.
Once on they do feel pretty special, certainly they grip and hug in ways that more modest shorts don't. The thick and lustrous lycra, sorry, Italian Power Lycra leg panels do hold your thighs very firmly. Whether this makes any difference I have no idea but it does make you feel obliged to try a little bit harder. The wide straps pull you down at the front, slightly disconcerting off the bike, completely logical once you assume the position. The back section is a wide mesh panel which helps keep things cool. The pad is a 1000 series, which I assume is posher than the 800 series pad used on the cheaper Team shorts that we tested recently. It’s contoured, dimpled, stretchy and more techy than a Star Trek fan in Maplins. Best of all in the saddle it’s pretty unobtrusive, which is what you want from a pad.
I wish I could say the same about the leg grippers however. The shorts are cut fairly long so the grippers come just above the knee just before your thigh muscles start to bulge. It may be related to that muscle supporting Power Lycra© but the gripper section is ferociously tight. On a 100 mile test ride the rest of the shorts performed perfectly but I had to keep running a finger under the gripper to stop my leg hair from being pulled. Of course if I was a shaven-legged racing whippet that wouldn’t be such an issue and it does underline that these definitely aren’t shorts for the casual weekend warrior. I would count myself as a pretty serious cyclist and even I felt like a bit of a fraud wearing such flash kit.
So far, so good. However, after no time at all the stitching around the bottom seam of the left leg had started to come adrift. In my experience that's not unusual with Endura shorts but it's always cosmetic and doesn't tend to get worse or affect performance. It's forgivable on a £70 pair of shorts but these cost £140 and for that you have the right to expect better. That said, I've also had good experiences in the past with Endura's customer service, so at least there should be some redress if your Übers start to unravel.
The real sticking point here is the price. Don't get me wrong, these are a good pair of shorts, but are they really worth £140? I like nice kit as much as the next chap but my regular shorts (Endura's own FS260 Pros) cost less than half as much and still do a superb job. I know that you can't just measure quality against cost on a simple scale, but once the price starts to shift out of mid-range the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in and you get less bang for your extra buck.
With the popularity of cycling going through the roof it seems that manufacturers are pandering to the high end sportive market with ever more exotic builds, outlandish performance claims and crazy price tags. Let's call it Fredflation. Still, relative to the Castelli Bodypaints that Dave tested a while back or Assos they're nowhere near the top of the heap pricewise. The bottom line is that unless you're a serious racer, you don't absolutely *need* shorts that pamper you like this. To be fair, Endura do market their Equipe range as pro level kit, so it comes down to you to decide whether it makes sense or not. If you can afford them, great, you'll enjoy them. If you can't, don't fret because you're not going to be any slower or less comfortable with a good pair of more modestly priced leg covers.
Pro-level kit with a price tag to match.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Equipe Uber Bibshort
Size tested: M
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?
Blurb says - "The top of the line bibshorts in the Equipe range. The foundation for these bibshorts is the 1000 Series 3D cut Italian stretch pad. The Italian Power Lycra used provides superb muscle support with shaping and panelling that has been refined by repeated input from testing by riders of the Endura Racing Team. The black colour option incorporates ColdBlack technology, substantially reduces heat absorption from sunlight and so prevents overheating. Both colour options offer sun protection factor of 50+."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3d cut Italian stretch pad
Italian Power Lycra (!!!)
They look and feel very well made, but dicky stitching is a let down on shorts at this price.
Very comfy on the bike, which is what they are all about.
Loose thread is a worry and being white they will start looking shabby before long. The black ones will stay looking good for longer.
Very comfy but the leg grippers are uncompromising for the hairy of thigh.
I couldn't justify paying full price for these - I have shorts costing less than half the price which are as comfy and will probably last longer
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfy and have that proper 'go-faster' racer feel. There's also that slightly grubby thrill of knowing you're wearing something ridiculously expensive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The colour and the grubby shame of wearing something ridiculously expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Proper racing shorts for proper racers - overkill for the rest of us
About the tester
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides