MAAP is a relatively young Australian brand but it's enjoying growing presence across the UK, combining cool designs that stand out from the more common choices with decent performance. These MAAP Team Bib Shorts provide good seated comfort, but some might find the hem too restrictive.
The Aussie company goes to Italy to get its clothing manufactured, making full use of the country's decades of expertise in making cycling kit. It's a good call – these shorts are very well made and have stood up to my testing just fine, demonstrating good durability throughout.
The main part of the bib shorts is made from a compressive fabric with a cut that's longer in the leg than most shorts. Compressive fabric has been increasingly common in high-end performance cycling shorts, the idea being to provide better support for the muscles during activity. For the most part, these shorts offer a good fit and the fabric shows good moisture-wicking properties when it's warm. Flatlock stitching is used throughout to ramp up comfort.
Where comfort isn't so good is in the hems. Instead of the traditional silicone-lined folded Lycra hem, MAAP has used a wide band of highly compressive double-bonded Lycra. The idea is sound, and it's an approach other clothing manufacturers have also adopted – the shorts stay in place, and there's no chance of them shifting about or sliding up your legs. But I found the band simply too tight and overly restrictive around my legs, to the point that I found the shorts uncomfortable.
MAAP does say the shorts are designed to be worn tight, which is fair enough, but no other bib shorts I've tested in the same or small size has such a tight hem. It's a shame because they fit really well everywhere else.
Repeated use didn't seem to improve matters much, and even though the discomfort fades as the miles pass, there are simply much more comfortable bib shorts at the same price. Like Rapha's Classic II bib shorts, to pick one example.
Inside the shorts is a padded insert that MAAP claims provides suitable comfort for rides from two to six hours. I'll admit I didn't get to test the six-hour claim, the restrictive hem simply made them too uncomfortable for longer rides, but on shorter rides the padded comfort was superb, so I can imagine they'll be just fine on epic rides.
The bib straps are wide and flat and lined with a mesh fabric that extends entirely over the back to provide extra breathability.
A nice detail is a reflective tape on the back of the legs for added visibility when out on those late evening summer rides. As you'd hope for an Australian designed garment, the fabric is also SPF 50+ sun protection treated.
The Aussie company describes these as its 'ultimate cycling bib short and one of our hardest working items in the lineup'. I found the fit and performance let down by the overly restrictive leg openings, but if you have skinny legs you might get on with them just fine.
For the same price, I would be leaning towards the Rapha Classic II shorts, or pocketing the change and getting the bloody good Assos T.MilleShorts_S7.
Nice shorts but only if your legs are skinny enough for the highly compressive wide band hems
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road.cc test report
Make and model: MAAP Blaze Team Bib Short
Size tested: 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?
MAAP says: "Our ultimate cycling bib short and one of our hardest working items in the line up. The main fabric has tremendous compression and moisture wicking properties and is dyed a deep matte navy for a quality look and feel."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MAAP lists these features:
Made in Italy.
Signature fit developed by MAAP.
Highly compressive main body fabric.
Market leading 3D endurance pad.
Matte fabric for a modern look and feel.
Bonded hem for secure fit.
Flat lock stitching.
Reflective tape for added visibility at the back of each leg.
SPF 50+ sun protection factor.
The overall performance is good; I like the padded insert, but the legs are too compressive at the hems for me.
The fit is generally good in all the key areas, with the exception of the hems, which some will find too tight.
The size medium shorts compare well to other size medium shorts I've tested from other leading brands.
Comfort was severely impacted by the overly compressive hems.
They're a lot of money for a pair of shorts that don't quite cut it in the comfort stakes, and the market is awash with high-quality bib shorts at good prices.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Went through a regular wash with my other clothes just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If you ignore the compressive hems, they are a good performance short with a nicely shaped and padded chamois, and comfortable, stretchy bib straps.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look great and go well with the matching jersey.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The tight legs.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really, which is a shame as I really want to like them.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only friends with really skinny legs.
Use this box to explain your score
Unless you have skinny legs, you might find these shorts overly compressive and ultimately not that comfortable.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.