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Verdict: 
Very good shorts built around a really comfortable seatpad
Weight: 
204g
Contact: 

Le Col makes some really impressive clothing and the Pro bib shorts, constructed around an excellent seatpad, are another high-quality option.

  • Pros: Comfortable and not too bulky seatpad, very good leg grippers, high build quality
  • Cons: I would have preferred a more compressive fit

The key feature of any cycling shorts is the seatpad – if that's no good you can forget about everything else – so let's start there. Le Col uses a Dolomiti Pro Gel pad that's superbly comfortable without being ridiculously bulky. I mean, yes, it's reasonably thick but not so much that it gets in the way.

> Buy these online here

You get the deepest, densest padding underneath your ischial sit bones with enough in the perineum area to keep you feeling comfy whether you're sitting up in the saddle or hunkered down over the drops. The padding is sectionalised, with deep channels between that aid both movement and airflow, and perforations help with breathability. All in all, it's a really good pad.

le_col_pro_bib_shorts_-_pad.jpg

The shorts are made in Italy from an 80% polyamide, 20% elastane fabric, and most of the seams are double stitched which bodes well for durability. The multi-panel design results in very little bunching as you pedal. I'm between a medium and a large according to Le Col's size chart so I opted for the medium to be on the safe side, and I'd have actually preferred a slightly more compressive fit, if I'm being picky.

le_col_pro_bib_shorts.jpg

The legs are pretty long; I measured the inseam at 25cm. Once on and a little stretched out, that meant they covered my quads fully. (It's not me in the photos, but we're a similar size.)

le_col_pro_bib_shorts_-_side.jpg

The legs are held in place by wide grippers that bear the Le Col name. These have a honeycomb of silicone on the inside that sticks even to damp, sweaty skin. I certainly haven't had any issues with the legs riding up in use. The white writing has stayed white through repeated washing.

le_col_pro_bib_shorts_-_gripper.jpg

Le Col does the details very well. You also get a small reflective tab sewn into the side seam of each leg that's noticeable at night because it's constantly moving, and you get a subtle black-on-black embroidered logo on the back. It's not immediately visible but it'll impress whoever's riding behind you in a paceline.

le_col_pro_bib_shorts_-_back_detail.jpg

The lower (Lycra) panels extend higher than those of many others shorts at the sides and rear – well up on to your torso – while the bib section is made from a lightweight, perforated mesh. I found the wide shoulder straps to be spot on, holding the shorts securely in place without being particularly noticeable in use.

le_col_pro_bib_shorts_-_straps_back.jpg

You can pick up a pair of bib shorts for £50 – or cheaper if you get them at discount – but £100+ price tags aren't unusual these days. The Castelli Free Aero Race Bibshorts that we reviewed recently are £140, for instance, while Sportful's Total Comfort Bibshorts are £130.

> Buyer's Guide: 22 of the best cycling bib shorts

It's up to you how much you want to spend, of course, but I'd advise investing in good shorts like the Le Col Pros if you can because they can be the difference between enjoying a ride and enduring it. These are also built to last; it's unlikely that you'll need to replace them for ages whereas cheaper options are sometimes a false economy. (If your budget is limited, check out the guide below.)

> Buyer's Guide: 11 of the best cheap bib shorts

Overall, these are impressive shorts. As mentioned, I'd have preferred a slightly more supportive fit but the materials are high quality, the construction is good and so is the attention to detail.

Verdict

Very good shorts built around a really comfortable seatpad

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Le Col Pro Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Le Col says:

Le Col's fastest pro shorts. Developed and proven in the pro peloton this is a race ready garment focused on performance without foregoing comfort.

The Pro Bibs use a lycra sport fibre, engineered to provide exceptional fit and recovery power to deliver dependable form season after season. The updated fabric on the upper section of the bibs ensure that the shorts stay in place while keeping fabric to a minimum. The trademark oversized Le Col gripper with intermittent silicone tabs ensure the shorts hold firmly in place with less pull.

A Pro Dolomiti Chamois has been chosen specifically for cyclists focused on performance and looking for dependable comfort and quality on long rides or competitive races. The thinner pad has a highly effective silicone treatment and provides comfort without sacrificing performance by removing the excess bulk of larger chamois. A special thread and stitch shape down the outside edges of the pad reduces rubbing to an absolute minimum.

In addition, the seams have been flat locked to eliminate irritation and the logos are embroidered to last the lifetime of the product.

This Pro Bib Short is Pro Racewear available to all. Most suitable for races or competitive club rides.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Le Col:

Fabric:

80% Polymide

20% Elastan

Construction:

Lycra Sport Fibre

Mesh bib straps

Dolomiti Pro Gel Chamois

Flat locked seams

Silicone leg gripper

Reflective tabs

Embroidered Le Col logo

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

There was certainly no bagginess but my preference would be for a slightly more supportive fit.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

Le Col's size chart worked for me.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

£100+ isn't unusual for bib shorts and there are some out there priced at £300; £150 is a significant investment but you are getting high quality here.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

They go into the machine at 30 degrees. The white writing on the leg grippers hasn't gone a horrible grey and there are no plasticky decals to slowly flake off.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

These are really good shorts that provide plenty of comfort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The seatpad is a high point.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

As mentioned, I'd have liked a slightly more compressive fit.

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 overall score

I reckon these are a solid 8. The performance is definitely an 8 and the workmanship means that these should last well.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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 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.

4 comments

Avatar
schlepcycling [104 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Same as above, I bought these with my Strava voucher and I wish I hadn't bothered.  I used the size guide and bought medium as indicated, however I've stopped using them after only 2 rides as they as just so uncomfortable.  The pad is all in the wrong place, it's all bunched up at the front of the shorts and none where it's needed.  The material around the crotch is so loose I just 'ahem' flap around inside.  Very disappointed and will be sticking with my Lapassione bibs which are everything these aren't and more.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1635 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes
schlepcycling wrote:

Same as above, I bought these with my Strava voucher and I wish I hadn't bothered.  I used the size guide and bought medium as indicated, however I've stopped using them after only 2 rides as they as just so uncomfortable.  The pad is all in the wrong place, it's all bunched up at the front of the shorts and none where it's needed.  The material around the crotch is so loose I just 'ahem' flap around inside.  Very disappointed and will be sticking with my Lapassione bibs which are everything these aren't and more.

 

Are you sure you haven't got them on the wrong way around .

Avatar
Joe Totale [131 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I bought a pair of these using one of the Strava vouchers they've been giving to riders who complete the challenge. I'd agree with the reviewer that the pad is top quality and there's a lot to like.
However, they are definitely English sizing, not Italian! I bought a pair of mediums and don't consider myself that svelte at 6ft tall and 28" waist but they are a bit loose on me and I'd appreciate a tighter fit as the pad can move around a bit at times. And yes I did use the sizing guide.

Also the material used for the bibbing I find is quite chafing and I can only use these shorts if I wear a base layer underneath.

Avatar
fenix [1142 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Joe Totale wrote:

I bought a pair of these using one of the Strava vouchers they've been giving to riders who complete the challenge. I'd agree with the reviewer that the pad is top quality and there's a lot to like.
However, they are definitely English sizing, not Italian! I bought a pair of mediums and don't consider myself that svelte at 6ft tall and 28" waist but they are a bit loose on me and I'd appreciate a tighter fit as the pad can move around a bit at times. And yes I did use the sizing guide..

Have they changed their size chart ? Your waist size indicates you need an XS size.

I don't know why you ordered a medium - 28" is never a medium size...