The first thing you notice about these Etxeondo Feather bib shorts is just how light they are. It's not often you say that about a pair of shorts, but our medium-sized pair weighed in at just 125g (just over the manufacturer's claimed 119g). Etxeondo (pronounced et-chay-on-doe) reckon they're the lightest bib shorts on the market and we reckon they're probably right.
For comparison, the Etxeondo Attaques that we tested recently weigh 222g... Not that we're going to get too excited about getting up hills any faster by saving 100g on lighter shorts but, you know, all other things being equal, light weight has to be a good thing.
The lower sections of the Feather shorts are essentially just two panels of fabric that are joined in the middle. Well, that's not quite true because you get a double-thickness hem added at the bottom of each leg and a contrast panel on the left leg. The mega-stretchy fabric means they actually fit better than many multi-panel shorts.
There's no gripper inside the hem to hold the legs in place. That did mean that they could occasionally ride up in use and they didn't stop leg warmers from slipping down as well as some other shorts.
The fabric is Lycra Sport, the same as you'll find on the Attaques but in a lighter weight. The stretchiness allows total freedom of movement and it's very, very soft. I know that sounds a bit weird; all Lycra is soft... but this stuff is softer. The straps are a double thickness of an even lighter fabric that feels almost silky, and they're wide enough to distribute the load comfortably over your shoulders.
The chamois is an Elastic Interface one from Cytech. Etxeondo call it their new Feather Chamois although it's closely related to an Endurance Super-Air pad. It doesn't have the same level of contouring as some Cytech pads and the foam isn't as dense as some, but you get cushioning up to 10mm deep. The chamois is certainly well ventilated and the fabric next to your skin transports moisture well but I didn't feel quite as comfortable with this pad as with the one in the Attaque shorts.
Don't get me wrong, it's a decent pad – I just don't think it's spectacular. I wanted more padding on long rides. If you're only ever in the saddle for 2-3hrs at a time you'll be fine, but go beyond that and you might want something more.
The Feathers are made in Spain to a high standard and they're very good shorts. The fabric is comfortable and it feels very cool in warm weather but I don't think these shorts are anything like as good as the Attaques... which is fair enough because they're 60 quid cheaper.
The Attaques are mega-expensive but they have a better cut and a better pad, making them among the most comfortable shorts out there. The Feathers are very good shorts but their main selling point is their lightness and they've taken a hit on comfort and features to achieve that. Personally, I'd rather have a higher-level pad and better panelling for a just-right fit, and if that adds a few grams, so be it, but if you're a weight weenie who wants to shave off every little bit of weight possible, you won't do any better.
Extremely lightweight shorts built to a high standard – but they're very expensive.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Etxeondo Feather 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?
Here's the manufacturer's write up:
"Over its history, Etxeondo has created many garments that became reference items for the performance cycle clothing industry. The Feather bib short may just be another. Crafted from Lycra Sport, Feather weighs in at just 119g for a size M, making it the lightest bibshort on the market today, but don't think this super-light garment is in any way light on features – Feather carries through many of Etxeondo's trademark properties such as elasticated threads to eliminate rider discomfort and to ensure seams move as one with the fabric. You also get seamless shoulder straps with the comfort of fine silk, tasteful brand detailing and one critical key to the Feather's weight – the new Feather Chamois.
- Lightest bibshort on the market today
- Super strong construction
- State of the art chamois
- Lower back compression
- Flatlock stitching
- Superb breathability and cooling
- Amazing moisture control
- Silky feel shoulder straps
- Elasticated stitching in selected panels
The Feather Chamois is a pad with handmade seams. The design may appear simple, but this model has a new generation of special high-density foams inside, which guarantee an excellent protection and great fit. The Feather Chamois' fabric structure has a double layer, which helps to collect and expel moisture. The new perforated base layer provides increased breathability and quick drying, making the Feather ideally suited to longer days in the saddle."
Great lightweight fabric although the seams aren't triple-stitched like those of the Attaque shorts.
If lightweight is all you're after, these score very highly. That has to come down a bit if you want a more rounded performance.
The seams aren't triple-stitched like those on the Attaques.
Etxeondo reckon these are the lightest bib shorts available and they're probably right.
The fabrics used are exceptionally soft and light. The pad is good, but not spectacular, in my opinion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The main idea is that these shorts are super-lightweight, and they are.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lightweight and very stretchy main fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Not at this price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Just to weight weenies with tons of cash.
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.