These Etxeondo Attaque shorts are excellent but there's just one thing that puts us off and that's the small matter of the £230 price tag.
We'll come back to the price in a bit and try to ignore that particular elephant in the room for the time being. In terms of quality, we have to say that these are fantastic. The Lycra Sport fabric is very soft and stretchy and it's cut really well for a comfortable fit throughout. The shorts maintain their shape almost perfectly even when you're not wearing them so there's virtually no pulling or over-tightness anywhere when you put them on.
All the seams are triple-stitched which adds to the durability and silicone rubber inside the leg grippers holds them in place well. There aren't too many shorts where the logo – which is placed at the top of your butt/base of your back – is embroidered. Nothing makes a new pair of shorts look old and tired quicker than logos cracking and peeling off; that isn't going to happen here. You don't feel that embroidery against your skin, by the way, because there's a mesh lining behind it.
The bib section is made of mesh too – a double thickness with a Lycra panel between your shoulder blades to stop them slipping to the sides. They're highly breathable and very wide to spread the load.
The other key feature is the chamois. It's made by Cytech and, although Etxeondo say they've had plenty of input into the design, it's closely related to the Multi-D Comp Carbonium. It's designed for endurance rides and the foam varies in depth from 3mm to 10mm, the deepest section through the middle and underneath your sit bones.
The pad is stretchy in all directions so it maintains good contact with your skin and it shifts moisture away efficiently; a central channel helps with that and also relieves pressure. The pad is designed to be antibacterial too. How successful it is, I couldn't tell you. What I can tell you is that I've done some big rides in these shorts on some unfamiliar bikes and that pad has always been perfectly comfortable with excellent cushioning and no rubbing.
These shorts are clearly very high quality. The materials are excellent, the construction is top-class – they're made in Spain, Etxeondo being a Spanish brand – and there are a few neat little design touches like that embroidered logo and the red gripper on the right leg (which, I guess, is a matter of taste). Plus, best of all, they feel great throughout even the longest, hardest rides.
The only problem is that long-trunked, big-eared elephant of a price tag. These are great shorts but the fabric will still get caught on the Velcro of your gloves, a long jersey zip or whatever. If I'd spent over £200 on a pair of shorts, that would hurt. Personally, I wouldn't pay that much. But if you are willing to shell out on what will be among the most comfortable bike shorts you ever wear, well, these are a bit special.
Excellent materials and a top-class construction but there's no getting around it – these are expensive
road.cc test report
Make and model: Etxeondo Attaque Bib Short
Size tested: Black, 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?
Etxeondo say, "With superb finishing and Etxeondo's top of the line Carbono chamois, the Attaqué Bib Short is both comfortable enough to tackle blisteringly hot 200km rides, and tough enough to withstand many seasons of hard cycling. Typical Etxeondo attention to detail is evident straight out of the box, right from the 'Inside Out' technology bib straps that are soft to the touch and gentle on the shoulders, to the different type of fabric used to finish the bottom of the leg of the short, which translates to a feeling of security of fit, but without the typical over tightening, that can sometimes occur."
That's all fair enough. It's hard to fault these shorts in terms of performance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The pad is from Cytech. Although Etxeondo say they've had considerable input, it's closely related to the Multi-D Comp Carbonium. Here's Cytech's write up on that pad:
"Multi-D Comp Carbonium Men is one of the most advanced pads that is made with our special microfibre E.I.T. Carbonium, a unique tri-threaded textile, developed and race-tested for endurance cycling. Multi-D Comp Carbonium Men has four types of foams with varied densities to provide the best weight distribution on the saddle and to give maximum comfort, even after long hours of training. Multi-D Comp Carbonimum Men has highly enhanced all-way stretch, excellent breathability and superb moisture transport ability. E.I.T. Carbonium aids heat dispersion, reduces friction and adds natural bacteriostasis and antistatic charges."
The triple stitching and embroidered logo are particular highlights that should stand the test of time.
Great materials, great construction.
The embroidered logo and triple stitching should prove durable. They're certainly going well so far. The trouble is, it's easy to scuff the fabric of any shorts and these aren't going to put up any more resistance to Velcro, zips and so on than a £30 pair.
Very comfortable - not just the pad, but the panels too.
These are right up there among the best shorts I've ever used. But are any shorts worth £230? I'm guessing the kind of person prepared to pay this much on a pair of shorts isn't going to worry too much about our value mark.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Exceptionally good performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, the pad, the construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price. Obviously.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much so.
Would you consider buying the product? Not at this price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I would if my friends were loaded. But they're not.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The overall mark is difficult for these. They are great shorts, no doubt about that. But they're also crazy-expensive. Those are the main points to take away from this review rather than the overall rating.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.