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Liv's Race Day Women's Bib Shorts feature a chamois that is as good as any other out there I've tried: breathable and comfy without feeling bulky. The shorts are subtly stylish and feel great to ride in, but the legs have a frustrating tendency to ride up.
The Race Day Shorts are one of the few bib shorts in Liv's collection; the majority are waist ones. Liv offers a range of designs to appeal to a variety of riders, from £125 for its top end bib shorts down to £40 for its Mossa (waist) Shorts.
The Race Day Shorts feature Liv's ProComfor women-specific chamois; this is what the Liv Pro team has tested. Liv claims that the special microfiber fabric guarantees adequate moisture control and hygiene. The chamois is seriously comfortable and has not lost any of its protection as I've neared the end of the test period. Its shape is as good as any I have tested before. It's carefully sectioned to allow the chamois to bend, positioning the generous padding where it really matters. Even when riding at higher intensities for prolonged periods of time I never noticed a build-up of heat.
The rear part of the bib is wholly mesh which is great for ventilation. The bib pulls up and over the head then uses a hook and eye system to secure it at the front. The advantage of this over a standard bib or clip-in system is the scope for adjustment: there are five eyes for the hook to slot into, allowing you set the bib at the right tension for your torso. There is also the obvious comfort element of having a single strap running down the centre of your chest.
I found the whole bib to be comfy. It's soft and stretchy so there is no issue with pressure at one particular point. The transition from short to bib is contoured to the female body really well – there is no gathering of material when in a riding position that might promote overheating or discomfort.
If the hook and eye bib is supposed to make pee-stops less faffy, I didn't find this to be the case. Unclipping and getting the bib up and over your head isn't too bad. But threading the strap back up the rear of the jersey, catching it with your other hand to pull it back down the front was more tedious and time consuming than just removing a jersey in the first place. To be fair to Liv, it doesn't market the bib as a pee-stop friendly one.
The shorts really haven't been put to the test in warm temperatures. They got good use in the recent mild spell when they were spot on with leg warmers in terms of keeping me warm enough without getting too hot. The entire short is opaque Lycra, so unlikely to match some of the more expensive, highly breathable shorts out there, but unless you are riding a lot abroad that's unlikely to be a problem.
Strategically placed flatlock seams and stretch thread do a great job of moving with the body while you are riding. There are no tight spots, pinch points or parts that rub. In short, they are like a second skin to ride in, and seriously comfortable.
My only gripe with the shorts is that they use soft compression as leg grippers rather than silicone. For me, the compression was not strong enough, and the legs rode up (with and without leg warmers). While this didn't make the shorts any less comfortable, it was annoying. That said, maybe if I'd tried a medium I wouldn't have experienced this, and it might not be an issue for women with a different body shape – I'm more of a climber than a sprinter so I'm hardly giving the shorts much to compress!
The panelling of the Race Day Shorts is flattering. Liv has used sublimated graphics which are supposed to keep the shorts looking newer for longer. It has also added two decent reflective strips at the rear lower leg seam. The shorts certainly look and feel like they did when I took them out of the packet at the start of the test, and that's defying the hand wash instructions halfway through the test in favour of a cool wash. The material has a distinct sheen to it and feels slightly heavier than many of the recent ones I have tested. I have noticed one or two very tiny snags at the rear of one of the legs, potentially from leaning against or catching something.
If you are in the market for bib shorts then a quick look around will convince that the Race Days are well priced. Sportful's Bodyfit Pros are £90 and Santini's 2019 Wave Bib Short also cut under the £100, as did 2XU's 2018 Women's Sub Cycle Bib Shorts. With only the leg gripper issue counting against the Livs – which may not even be an issue for some – £80 isn't a bad price at all. As ever, there are cheaper options from dhb and also Ale's Solid Traguardo, although they may not provide the comfort that Liv's chamois does.
Liv's Race Day Shorts are certainly worth a look, particular if you value a quality chamois and comfortable fit. Sizing down might ensure that the compression fit leg grippers do what they are intended to – the only small detail I wasn't happy with.
Comfortable shorts with an even more comfortable, no-sweat chamois, though the lack of leg grippers won't suit all
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Liv Race Day Bib Shorts
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Liv says, "Be a part of the Liv team with our Race Day bibs, and bring your best look to each ride. Designed with our highest-quality chamois''featuring a breathable, antibacterial top layer''so you can get a chafe-free fit and stay cool and dry during tough rides. Fresh colours and graphics arrive in a fitted style with stretch for an ideal fit and a comfortable gripping hem to keep everything in its place."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Liv Race Fit
*Fabric has excellent structure to hold shape over time
*Bib design for ultimate comfort
*Strategically-placed flatlock seams for comfort
*ProComfor™ women's-specific chamois
*Soft compression leg grippers
*Y-strap with mesh back strap design including a single front position clip offering a wide range of adjustability to suit individual body shape
Really well made.
Comfortable, effective chamois. All breathable.
No detectable deterioration.
Generally great, but the legs ride up while cycling.
I would normally wear a medium but tested a large. They felt very comfortable but there was no sense of compression that I might have had from a medium, so I would suggest trying your normal size.
Very comfortable. Legs riding up didn't make things uncomfortable, just annoying.
Pretty good value. They're half the price of the recently tested PEdAL ED Tsuki bib shorts and also of Assos Women's T.laalaLai_s7 Shorts which have a similar frontal bib clip. Even lesser known Saikel's Chevrons are £65 more expensive.
dhb offers cheaper alternatives.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Instructions were to hand wash... even using a hand wash cycle on the machine is a rare occurrence for me. It did get this for a few weeks but I then resorted to synthetics at 30 and have not noted any adverse effects.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great; comfortable without an excessive build-up of heat.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent, comfortable chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of silicone leg grippers.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? The lack of silicone gripper puts me off.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Depends if they like wearing shorts with silicone gripper.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Excellent comfort and performance, the lack of silicone leg gripper my only gripe – which might not be an issue for all.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…