PEdAL ED's Woman 3/4 Bibshort look great on and may suit some commuters and mountain bikers in mild to cool conditions, but they fall short on comfort and performance for the dedicated roadie. Their name is also misleading – there's no bib.
Pulling on the 3/4s is great – the material is soft against the skin and not in any way restrictive. This is the case both on and off the bike – they really flow with the body's movement while riding.
The wide, silicone-dimpled hems do a brilliant job of holding the tights in place on the legs and have enough give to ensure you're not aware of it during or after riding (no post-ride indentation). It's not an easy feature to get right: the Assos 3/4s I tested a while ago always left their mark at the end of a ride, and you were conscious of the narrow band gripping.
PEdAL ED's chamois offers decent protection. It's soft and supportive and this hasn't deteriorated over the test period. My first outings with the 3/4s were two back-to-back four-hour rides, and I had no issue with soreness or rubbing at all.
There is no shaped/tapered panelling along the leg. I didn't find this an issue – the fit was perfect for me here, even looking quite flattering and stylish. However, I am not so sure that the straight up and down panels will suit everyone. Looking at Tass in the photos, there is excess material at the knee. The Lycra has plenty of stretch, but does seem to lack the clinginess that a thinner Lycra might have.
Incidentally, my height puts me just into PEdAL ED's 'Large' category on its sizing chart and I was testing a medium. I suspect if I'd selected the large, the issues I experienced would have been exaggerated.
It's worth pointing out that these are not bib shorts. It's the second bit of kit I've tested recently that is titled in a rather misleading way. Getting the waistline of non-bib tights and shorts right is tough, since what suits one woman is unlikely to suit the next – not so different from a saddle, really. That said, the statement on PEdAL ED's site – "We believe that a man's body deserves the best" – might make any potential female customer think that the women's range is an afterthought...
While the waistband reaches quite high up the midriff when you first put on the 3/4s, hunch over on the bike and the rear is only just high enough; I needed to combine them with a jersey that had a decent length in order to avoid lower back exposure.
The waistband is a wide, stretchy elastic. There is no tapering of this band round the front. Off the bike, no problem, but hunch over the handlebar and it naturally settles into the folds of your stomach. For me it resulted in excess fabric around the groin. I tried to overcome it by folding the band down, but this only led to a lack of coverage at the rear.
While I was always conscious of the band's presence, I can't say that it, or the fabric bunching, was actually uncomfortable. Whether this is the case for every woman out there, I can't say. It's a wide band of elastic and has decent tension. It's lost none of the latter but has begun to roll over on itself as the test period has progressed, which over time could cause discomfort for some.
I've tried the shorts on different bikes – commuting and mountain biking, where I have a more upright riding position. The band didn't slip down as much but was still noticeable as being there. I can't help thinking the cut and/or band need attention if they are to appeal to a wider audience.
The thickness of the fabric can best be described as two layers of conventional summer shorts. It's intended for autumn and spring rides, when your thighs and knees want protection from cooler air but you're not quite ready to don the full winter leg covering. I've tested them for the last four weeks, in temperatures varying from 6°C (early morning commutes) to 14°C.
For long, endurance riding they are great at keeping the legs warm, but upping the tempo in warmer temperatures results in a noticeable build-up of heat – the fabric isn't as breathable as thin shorts. I had a similar experience if I set out for a steady ride in cool conditions and then the sun got to work (13+ degrees): they simply made my legs heat up very quickly, even if I wasn't riding that hard.
There was just enough airflow over the legs to prevent overheating, but the lower stomach and groin area is a different matter. The wide waistband and excess material at the stomach, with bunching to the groin, seems to exacerbate heat build-up here.
The pad offers very little in the way of breathability, too. It retains moisture, resulting in a damp chamois that never really dries out. The material surrounding it suffers similarly.
The shorts have impressed more as the temperatures have fallen in recent weeks, by providing sufficient protection without being overbearing. However, in these temperatures I would probably just be pulling on leg warmers anyway, preferring to keep the whole leg protected.
PEdAL ED has added a zip pocket at the rear of the shorts. I haven't seen pockets here on cycle kit before, and it's not difficult to wonder why this might be the case. Anything of substance in there really compounds sweating, not to mention irritation of the base of the spine. It can be best put to use for a door key or some coins, perhaps if your jersey doesn't have a zipped pocket.
There is no reflective detailing on the shorts.
The shortcomings of the 3/4s make the £147 price tag very hard to swallow. As I mentioned, I reviewed a similar pair of 3/4s three years ago from Assos; they had a cut at the waist that I found much more comfortable. On top of that, the fabric (thinner) and pad performed really well and they had some decent reflective tabs. They are a feature in the current collection, albeit now at £160. Okay, an Assos price tag alert, but at least they fit well and perform (at least they did three years ago).
Siobhan tested some 3/4s from Giro a while back; they seemed to struggle to nail the correct rise at the rear too, but came in significantly cheaper than both the PEdAL ED and Assos offerings. (Giro's Chrono 3/4s are now £79.99.)
If you get on with the pad, Decathlon's Van Rysel 900 tights which Janine tested are a real bargain at £34.99 and seem to get the waistband design right: "it sits pleasingly high, meaning that no matter how aero you go, there's little chance of a chill creeping in," according to Janine.
If you are tempted to part with your money for PEdAL ED's 3/4s, I'd say try before you buy, preferably on the bike that you are likely to use them on the most. They might feel great when you first pull them on, but you need to be sure that the waistband isn't going to dig in or slide down to create a baggy heat trap around your groin.
A few merits but not enough to override the flaws or the excessive price tag
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road.cc test report
Make and model: PEdAL ED Woman 3/4 Bibshort
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
PEdAL ED says: "The Woman 34 Bibshorts are made with a lightweight fill, to help you stay warm and dry during middle seasons rides.
Its stretch construction panels offer breathability and a dinamic range of movement for an extra warm feeling.
Our Bibshorts help reduce wind chill by wicking sweat away from your skin to the fabric's surface, where it quickly evaporates. Designed for riding when the weather is changeable and chilly the 34 Bibshort is ideal for autumn and early spring rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PEdAL ED lists these details:
- Bacteriostatic pad by Elastic Interface®
- Light and High-wicking Lycra® fabric
- 78% nylon 22% elastane
- Machine wash 30
- Do not tumble dry
- Do not dry clean
'The Bibshorts help reduce wind chill by wicking sweat away from your skin to the fabric's surface, where it quickly evaporates.'
- Bacteriostatic pad by Elastic Interface®
The actual stitching and over-sewing on the insert are of a good standard. All finished off nicely.
They fall down on breathability, particularly around the chamois.
Waist band showing signs of wear after only four weeks. The elastic has lost its rigidity and now rolls over on itself. The material surrounding it is showing signs of pilling.
Good along the length of the leg, but lack shaping necessary to make them fit well at the waist.
Pretty good. My height just places me in the 'large' category on PEdAL ED's sizing chart, but my waist and chest are the 'medium' and 'small' categories respectively. I tested a medium and suspect that a large would have exacerbated the issues I had with material bagging around the groin. I'd say stay true to (height) size, or, if on the lower cusp, size down.
They are not designed to be super-lightweight summer wear. They come in as I would expect for a mid-season garment.
Mirrors the fit: comfy along the length of the leg but I was aware of the poor fit around the waist and hip area.
Overpriced for something that doesn't perform as well as others on the market.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, 30 degree machine wash. Chamois takes longer than most I've tested to dry out fully.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They certainly kept me warm, but also too warm at times. The fit around the hips/groin works against the garment's performance capabilities.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fabric's softness and fluidity against the legs and the effective leg grippers. Sadly, both of these elements are pretty insignificant given the other shortcomings.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The design/cut at the waist/groin.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than Assos, but overpriced considering their fit and performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really on my road bike. Better for commuting.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
Look great but don't perform so well. If they had a bib, as the title suggests they do, it would likely be a different story.
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…