The Cafe du Cycliste Blandine bib shorts perform well, with a superb chamois and great ventilation. They could do with being a bit higher at the front, though.
When I was first given the Blandine bibs, I looked at them, looked out the window, and thought 'I am never going to be able to test these properly'. When you look at them they seem to be 90 per cent ventilation (okay, some above the hem and up the side) and a typical British summer wouldn't normally provide effective testing. However, I got lucky and had a few 25-degree-plus days, so I took full advantage.
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As the ventilation is a big part of the shorts, this seems like an obvious place to start. The ventilation consists of perforations above the hem and running up the entirety of the outside of both legs. This means breathability is really strong, and compared with others I have used they are really comfortable even when pushing hard in relatively high temperatures.
Cafe du Cycliste has used two types of lightweight Lycra to create the shorts, and the material choice is good. It has a decent amount of flex that allows for a full range of movement and no crinkling or folding at all in use. It is also breathable, and moisture is quickly moved away so there is no irritation at all, even on longer rides.
At the business end of the shorts, Cafe du Cycliste has used a Cytech chamois, the same used by Rapha (maker of my favourite shorts). It's easily one of the best pads I've used. It moves nicely with you while providing a decent level of padding, but without taking away too much feeling on the saddle.
The fit of the shorts around the legs is good and the medium size suited me nicely. They have a slight degree of compression, which is good for longer rides and kept my legs feeling supple. At the hem there's a line of silicone gripper which worked well, and throughout the review period I never found them moving too much.
At the top end, the straps are made from a perforated Lycra material and the back also has a perforated Lycra panel. Unlike many other bib shorts I have used, the straps don't connect to the legs through a gradual curve, but instead are sewn directly to the the hem at the top of the legs. They are also slightly wider set than many I have used, and had a propensity to twist and were slightly awkward to put on.
My only real gripe was with the waistline, which could do with being a couple of inches higher; it just felt a bit low, and if I was sitting up on the bike I would sometimes be able to see my baselayer – not a good look. It could also be a bit uncomfortable for the first few minutes on the bike, though fine once everything had shifted into place properly. However, it is worth mentioning that this won't be the case for everyone, and I know that proportionally I have a longer body than many, so well worth trying before you buy.
The bibs' RRP of £146, although not cheap, is acceptable given their quality, especially with the excellent pad and how well the ventilation has been thought out. That Cytech pad puts it alongside some of the more established brands at this price point.
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Overall, I liked them, even if I had a little issue with the straps twisting and the height of the waistline. The pad is excellent, the material choice is very good, and I was particularly impressed with the ventilation.
Really good pair of bib shorts with a great pad, though cut a bit low at the front for me
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Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Blandine
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?
These bib shorts are Cafe du Cycliste's top-of-the-line, hot weather offerings, bringing together breathability and comfort.
They work well, with a decent level of breathability and good material choice, to provide a comfortable pair of bib shorts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
85% Polyester | 15% Elastane
Top of the Range CyTech Pad
Two Types of Lightweight Lycra
Perforated Side and Hem Panels
Perforated Bibs Section
Made in Europe
Rate the product for quality of construction:
They seem well made and the material choice is strong, providing a good level of movement.
Rate the product for performance:
Performed well: good ventilation, a comfortable pad and strong stitching.
Rate the product for durability:
They seem well made and the stitching looks like it would last a long time.
Rate the product for fit:
Fit nicely on the legs, the compression elements work well too. However, I didn't like the cut at the front, which I found a bit too low.
Rate the product for sizing:
The mediums fit as I would expect them to from the website, a bit bigger than traditional European sizing.
Rate the product for weight:
They're lightweight bib tights, so don't weigh the earth, but others weigh less.
Rate the product for comfort:
Pad is really good, but overall comfort is let down slightly by the cut at the front.
Rate the product for value:
£146 isn't cheap but is comparable with other high performance bibs I have used in the past.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine, washed them several times at 30 without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, kept me comfortable and cool on long, hot rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad is excellent, easily the highlight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cut at the front of the shorts was a bit annoying.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A really strong performing pair of bib shorts, but the cut at the front of the shorts and the twisting straps – and that fairly high RRP – prevent them getting a 9 overall.
Age: 27 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
That was a year ago, and some things have been updated. For example, not being able to lock an ad-hoc clip unless it's already recording was...
"people didn’t seem to get that I was joking"...
The Ed Winchester15 hrs ago User ID: 4626099 Probably went to chase the cyclist, lost them and can't now remember where it happened.
I look forward to the extensive BBC and mainstream media coverage
You can put your reg number into https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-a-clean-air-zone and it'll tell you which zones to be careful of....
A cynic might think that they just want to talk a green game, but when it comes to U.S. cities, bikes and active travel are just jokes to them....
Simple! Oh wait, that's India.
The media certainly contribute as do our actions. I agree it would be much better if we were portrayed more accurately.
Merci, monsieur Kappler