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Btwin's Bib Shorts 500 are designed for 'Road cyclists on challenging rides of average duration', which is another way of saying they're a great choice for training, club and general riding - at a penny shy of £25 they are easily the best budget bib shorts I've ever worn.
They're available in a choice of two colourways (black/blue or black/white) there's nothing particularly exotic in terms of materials or construction, but you wouldn't expect that at this price. Polyester/Elastane mixes are pretty standard; although the 500 seem thinner than some of the competition. On the plus side, this makes for a pleasingly seamless effect when worn and together with the ventilated mesh makes for an extremely temperate inner climate on warmer days or during indoor trainer slavery. On the other hand, they might not fare quite so well in a spill - but then they are £25.
Flat seams contribute to comfort and silicone leg grippers hold everything in situ. Sizing is broadly on par with everyone else's, taking the guesswork out of virtual purchases, though my mediums were slightly shorter in the leg and the braces at a slightly unusual angle. These make slipping in/out a wee bit more awkward but weren't remotely restrictive, whether hunkered low on the drops or discretely answering nature's call (nice image - ed).
The pad is the greatest influence upon rider comfort and while bad ones are thankfully rare, we're all anatomically different. Decathlon says this one is an odour repelling, anti-bacterial mix whose component parts boil down to medium density polyurethane, polyamide, polyester and elastane impregnated with silver chloride. Initial impressions were a little mixed when I first put them on - the pad hovered quite obtrusively, though thankfully it took all of five minutes saddle time to mould to my contours.
Minor misgivings aside, these shorts have quickly become firm favourites for training and everyday road riding. A succession of 12 mile circuits on my Holdsworth impressed with unrestricted movement allowing a consistent 100rpm. No problems arose when alternating between pursuit and tri bars and the pad offered ample support in all the right places.
Extending distances and duration on different bikes proved similarly rewarding-sometimes more upright riding position can cause soreness/chafing - well, it can for me, but I've cruised along contentedly for several hours on my cyclo crosser and Univega alike. Past 50 miles or so, and shorts with higher price tags and more prestigious pads start gaining an upper hand, though these still kept me arid and bereft of socially awkward odours throughout and you can't really ask more of a pair of shorts than that.
Bargain shorts for training and everyday road riding that will keep you "arid and bereft of socially awkward odours"
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Make and model: BTwin Bib Shorts 500
Size tested: Medium, Black Blue White
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?
"Ideal bike bib short for cyclists moving towards regular road cycling. Preformed, breathable pad with an antibacterial treatment". No quibble here.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Here's what B'Twin have to say
1. User comfortBreathable preformed pad with an antibacterial treatment
2.SupportSilicon bands at lower thigh
3.BreathabilityBibs with special fabric and mesh to actively wick away perspiration
4. Reduced chafingThe shape of the pad reduces all types of friction
5. Anatomic designElasticated, flexible and durable component
Guarantee : 2 Years
Probably the most comfortable budget shorts I've ever used.
Generally seems good, though not sure how they'd fare in a spill.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These have proved to be an extremely versatile and moreover comfortable bib short for most road applications and their thinner density is likely to prove particularly useful for indoor sessions on the turbo.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent pad, nice fit-bargain.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Braces were an interesting cut but something I quickly adapted to.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Really good shorts for the money, probably worth a bit more than an 8 but very minor niggles - which might not be niggles for you - keep them just short of a 9.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)