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The ashmei Men's Cycle bib shorts are impressive, with excellent compression, decent water repellency and a very comfortable chamois, and although they're expensive they are still cheaper than some rivals.
ashmei has been making a real name for itself over the past few years and, having tested its first bib shorts a few years ago, I was excited to give these latest ones a spin.
The first thing you notice about these bib shorts is the material used. It's unlike almost any other I have worn in the past. The way I would describe it when holding it in the hand is similar to the outer material on a high-quality tent. It's a 53% polyamide, 47% elastane mix and has less stretch than most bib shorts but does have strong compression.
This compression takes a few minutes to get used to; initially I thought that perhaps I had sized them incorrectly, but in reality, once I got going I quickly began to realise their benefits. As you can imagine, to get this kind of compression you need strong stitching – something that is the case throughout the five panels that make up the bottom half of these bibs. This is a larger number than most modern bib shorts have, but presumably necessary because the material lacks stretch.
Unlike many bib shorts, these do not have silicone gripper at the bottom of the legs as the material and fit simply mean you don't need them. Throughout the review period, regardless of how sweaty I got and how far I rode, these stayed in place perfectly with no riding up whatsoever.
Comfort comes from an impressive multi-density chamois developed in conjunction with Passoni. I found that I could wear these for hours without any loss of comfort. One thing I found particularly interesting was that I could definitely feel more through the chamois than other high-end bibs, but it was never to the extent that it became uncomfortable. It allowed me to get more of a feel of the road without discomfort, which was a real bonus.
At the top of the bib shorts, ashmei has used a thick mesh that leads to elastic straps. This design allows the back to be a slightly different shape to other bib shorts, with a thinner central element that definitely helps in keeping you cooler, as less of your back is covered.
The straps have a lot of stretch in them, which allows them to sit comfortably on the shoulders. They are also wide enough to not twist, which is always a nice touch.
Another key element of these bib shorts is that they are water repellent and windproof. To be honest, I didn't have too much opportunity to test this out in the review period, but I did take them out in a couple of short, sharp showers and they performed well, keeping the water out completely for the 10 minutes or so of downpour.
In terms of wind resistance I certainly noticed this on some descents, though I couldn't test how well they keep out truly cold air. From the limited testing I could do I'm confident they would work well in worse conditions.
Wicking is relatively good, though they're not as effective as specific hot weather bibs at moving moisture away from the body (I was testing these during the 38 degree heatwave). They are still surprisingly effective given the water repellency and windproof nature of the fabric.
At £178 they are expensive, but arguably a fair price when you consider their innovative material and high performance, and they're still cheaper than some of the best known high-end brands. You could compare them to the Pearl Izumi Pro bib shorts that Stu looked at recently, which are about a tenner more but don't offer the same level of wind and water protection, and an obvious comparison would be Rapha's Pro Team Shadow bib shorts, which are £82 more – and I wouldn't want to wear those in a heatwave.
Overall, I really like these bib shorts. They offer a strong performance, impressive compression, and decent protection against the weather. They aren't cheap, but you are unlikely to find anything that offers this kind of performance in terms of comfort, compression and weather protection for much below this price.
An innovative and well-made pair of bib shorts that keep out the elements while maintaining an impressive performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: ashmei Men's Cycle Bib Short
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
A pair of performance bib shorts designed to keep you comfortable over long distances as well as keeping you warm and dry.
ashmei says, "These shorts are all about the fabric! The individual yarns are treated with a durable water resistant finish before being tightly woven, creating a fabric with amazing wind and water resistance. Made from a 4 way stretch microfibre, our bibs provide the ultimate compression combined with laser cut clean edges for a friction free ride. The Bibs have a pared down, 'less is more' aesthetic, but are definitely race-fit. Saving the best for last, though, perhaps their best feature is a bespoke high-density foam chamois which offers incredible comfort - especially over distance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Race fit, water and wind-resistant microfibre fabric
Bespoke high density foam chamois
Precision laser cut leg cuff
Signature, reflective ashmei front print for high visibility
Microfibre ultra stretch fabric
Lightweight, high performance – 155g
Durable Water Repellent finish
Super compressive, aero fit
Very well made without strong stitching throughout and excellent material choice.
Performed really well throughout the review – with the aero fit and compression really helping to maintain speed and alleviate fatigue.
They seem well made and with the strong stitching they are likely to last for a long time.
Definitely an aero fit with compression which takes a little getting used to but very comfortable once you do.
After some initial doubts given the compression in the shorts, it became clear these sized up as they should.
A very impressive 159g, which for a pair of bib shorts that also keep out the elements is particularly good.
Very good chamois and decent stretch in the straps really helps in this department.
Bearing in mind their weather-resistance, they are expensive but on a par with others.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They are okay, just remember you can't use fabric softener/combined tablets.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, kept the elements out when needed, excellent compression and a very comfortable pad.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The chamois is really impressive – it's great to be able to have some road feel while still allowing you to be comfortable for hours in the saddle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They are expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Pearl Izumi Pro Bib Short that Stu looked at recently are about a tenner more, but don't offer the same level of wind and water protection. Rapha's Pro Team Shadow bib shorts are £260.
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
They are very good bib shorts offering excellent performance in a wide temperature range, from relatively hot days through to foul weather, but they are expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.