PEdAL ED's Odyssey Bibshorts are part of its range of clothing that caters for the growing popularity of long distance bikepacking trips out into the wilderness. Comfort is key, along with plenty of storage – and these bib shorts certainly deliver.
Over the last few months my riding time has been split pretty much 50/50 between road and gravel, and the latter is where these Odyssey shorts have really come into their own alongside the Odyssey jersey and gilet.
On my doorstep I have a network of gravel tracks and trails that cover hundreds of kilometres (that's only the parts I've explored so far) and I can go for hours without seeing a living soul, so I always feel like I need to carry a little bit more – especially in the dark... I love a lonely night ride!
At the bottom of the bib straps, the Odyssey shorts have a large mesh pocket which is easily big enough to carry some snacks, two or three inner tubes or a gilet for instance.
Off the bike it doesn't feel that taut, but once the shorts are on it's a very secure aperture.
For those times when you are in warmer climes and wearing the shorts without a jersey over the top, PEdAL ED has included a reflective strip at the top of the pocket, which is a nice touch.
In each leg you'll also find a pocket for a bit of food, a gel, even some directions written out on a piece of paper – anything that you are going to want to grab quickly while on the move.
It's a similar idea to tucking something up your leg, and the pocket is quite large, with the contents being held in place by a section of the leg cuff being unstitched to create a kind of lip.
I was sceptical at first, but it really does work; nothing fell out during a ride, although I don't know if I could trust it with my valuables purely because I can't get my head round it.
It's not just the shorts' load-carrying capability that ticks the boxes, though.
The pad is simple to look at, with just two sections of thicker density foam either side of a centre relief channel. I found the padding to be spot on when it came to support, soaking up plenty of the bumps and rough terrain without feeling overly squidgy on the saddle.
The shorts' fabric is soft against the skin too, and with a spot-on mix of polyamide and elastane they are supportive and a little on the compressive side.
The straps are laser cut, which does away with the need for any stitches, and although they feel a bit restrictive when off the bike, once aboard they sit just right, keeping the shorts in position without feeling tight.
The Odysseys aren't just for use off-road, though, as I rode in them for plenty of miles on the tarmac with the same great effect. Plenty of long-distance comfort makes them great for day-long rides and epic audaxes.
Priced at £145 they are up there with plenty of top-end shorts, but if you are out for a massive ride that could cover days then these really come into their own. I haven't necessarily ventured off into the unknown for a week, but I finished an eight-hour gravel ride without the slightest discomfort in the short region.
If I was heading off for a bit of an epic ride, the Odysseys would definitely be on my kit list. The comfort is brilliant throughout, and while you don't necessarily need the rest of the range, it all works together as a great package.
Overall PEdAL ED has delivered a top notch pair of bib shorts here with some added extras.
Top notch bib shorts that work on and off-road, with subtle storage should you need it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: PEdAL ED Odyssey Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
PEdAL ED says, "The Odyssey Bibshorts are designed to be the most sophisticated yet simple element of our Odyssey collection.
"Being part of this collection means that they are the contact point of everything we have done so far from crossing Europe during the Transcontinental Race, racing with Britain's oldest team JLT Condor and exploring the dirty trails of Kyrgyzstan.
"When we designed the Odyssey we aimed to create a bibshort with a high volume of storage without compromising its pure aesthetic.
"The Odyssey bibshorts are equipped with three cargo pockets, two hidden legs' pockets and one big pocket on the back. The legs pockets are designed to store food and whatever is necessary for long rides when you need a quick access without stopping or opening your bags, the system that we designed is incredibly simple yet functional, with a lower opening on the gripper that prevents objects from escaping while riding.
"The bibshorts are completed with laser cut suspenders for an extreme comfort during the ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pedal Ed lists:
One rear cargo pocket
Two leg pockets
Laser cut bibs
Elastic Interface pad
Sizes XXS to XXL
Sizing was fine and tallied up with PEdAL ED's chart.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following the 30 degree washing instructions sees them come up clean with no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very comfortable pair of shorts with the added bonus of storage.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's nothing that I really disliked.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is high but not extravagant against some of the other bib shorts we've tested on road.cc.
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
A really good, very comfortable pair of bib shorts with the added bonus of having some discrete storage.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!