Spanish clothing brand Etxeondo have launched the Etxeondo Bira Bib Shorts at the lower end of their usual price list to create a more 'value for money' range. Whether you consider £79.99 for a pair of bibshorts value for money or not, its hard to argue with the quality.
They are made from Lycra Sport fabric, a specific version of the stretchy material designed for sporting activities which require light-weight, breathability, muscle support and freedom of movement. They are very supportive when you are in the saddle with a kind of light compression effect as you pedal meaning the Biras feel very comfortable in use.
The material itself is quite thick in relation to the summer shorts knocked out by say the likes of Castelli but this does mean you can get more use out of them throughout the year when paired with leg or knee warmers. In fact I've been using these on early morning rides when the temperature has been hanging around the freezing mark and they've been perfectly toasty.
The same material is used throughout meaning no mesh on the upper body which does mean things can get a little warm. Your back is virtually entirely enclosed so things can certainly get sweaty if you up the effort.
The front is cut reasonably high sitting around mid stomach which I tend to prefer compared to any lower, it keeps the drafts out and just feels more supportive when in the racing tuck. There is plenty of give in the material though making comfort stops easy.
Wide straps hold things in place without you even noticing them as there are no pressure points at all - with or without a baselayer underneath. At the other end the legs are held in place with elastic grippers which are a good 40mm thick to spread the load meaning the shorts stay in place without cutting off the circulation. The Etxeondo logo is printed on them in black on black which is a very cool finishing touch.
Now for the most important part of any pair of shorts, the chamois. Arma, as Etxeondo call it, has the usual marketing buzzwords describing it - 3D cut, Double Density Cushion, EIT Cube fabric. Taking it at face value, well cheek value, and the Arma pad is actually very impressive. Six separate sections of cushioning take care of the contact areas with a less thick one running around the outside. At its thickest the padding is around 10mm and does a good job of absorbing road buzz without bunching.
Wear and tear is looking pretty impressive after plenty of miles and washes. All the stitching is neat and tidy straight out of the bag and friction from the saddle hasn't made an impact on that.
Sizing wise the Biras come in S-XXXL. The test ones are a medium which Etxeondo's size guide calls a 30' suggesting they come up a touch large as I'm usually 32/33' and they fit fine. Looking at their website it shows Etxeondo aren't afraid of using a little bit of colour but the Biras are the most subdued model on there in regulation black only. At least they won't clash with the rest of your kit.
Overall the Biras are good fitting top quality bibs with a very impressive chamois. The Spanish workmanship looks just as tidy as you'll find on many other top brands which are of the same or higher RRP. On the downside the top half's lack of mesh means they're going to be too warm when the summer months finally arrive but other than that there is very little to dislike.
Sensibly priced bibs with good build quality and comfort in abundance.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Etxeondo Bira 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 describe the Bira's as as value for money shorts designed for riders that get out 2-3 times a week. A fair point I reckon. The Bira's do lack the selection of fabrics and multitude of panels you will find on more expensive shorts but they don't suffer because of it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lycra's Sport fabric is designed to deal with the repetitive movements in sports like cycling while providing support for the muscles to aid performance and recovery.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Biras performed as expected with regards to the manufacturer's decription. They're comfortable and decent performers that are perfect for short or long rides. The heavier weight material means they'd be to warm for the efforts of racing though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The overall fit and performance is impressive for the money.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
sweaty back syndrome from the lack of mesh.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.