Liv's Signature Bib Shorts are comfortable and stylish and offer excellent protection for the longest of rides on road or gravel.
Following Liv's size guide (see the test report, below), I tested a medium and the fit was good, both on and off the bike. Despite being a 'Race Fit' for performance, the shorts don't compress excessively – they're just snug enough.
The bib straps are not so snug; in fact I found them to be on the generous side in terms of length, though they do the job well enough under a winter jersey. Under a skin-tight short-sleeve jersey they are not discreet, having more 'substance' than some. (It's not me in the photos, that's Tass, who would be a large according to the size guide.)
Personally, for me the legs are a bit short. This is very much personal preference, not a criticism – I simply prefer something with a bit more length.
On the bike, the shorts are really comfy. They move well with your body and don't feel restrictive. I've done some seriously hilly rides in them, relentlessly in and out of the saddle, and they've never once felt uncomfortable or needed adjusting at the leg.
Unlike the Race Day shorts I reviewed a while ago, they stay put thanks to the wide band of silicone dimples at the leg ends. This was against leg warmers rather than bare skin. I sadly haven't had the opportunity to test the Signature shorts in this way. Given that they grip leg warmers, I'd suggest, from experience, that they will not budge from bare skin either.
The fabric itself has a nice sheen and a soft feel to it. It's still looking and feeling like new after a significant amount of washing. The leg band has stayed nice and bold, too. It's nice to see a splash of colour on shorts, though I'm not won over by Liv's claim that it gives a sense of speed...
Liv has used its Signature Series Chamois, an excellent pad with flat seams and stretch thread. I've not experienced any chafing or hot spots throughout the test period. It's served me well on longer rides of more than four hours, as well as hilly ones involving lots of movement. The substantial part of the pad is exactly where you need it, while the surrounding area's much thinner. This forms a tapered effect, with no 'edge-of-chamois' irritation and it doesn't look so bulky off the bike.
I never noticed an excessive build-up of heat around the hips and groin, even when working hard. The pad is claimed to 'guarantee exceptional moisture control and hygiene'. I cannot comment on its performance in warmer temperatures, but it certainly does well in British winter-to-spring climes.
The mesh panelling used for the bibs comes down quite low so helps to minimise heat build-up around the torso.
Bib aside, there is no variation in the thickness of the shorts fabric. It feels and looks like a durable and substantial material. Coupled with leg warmers, they offer perfect protection in temperatures hovering around 10°C, though how this more substantial material compares to something like Alé's PRR-20 Future shorts come the summer remains to be seen.
If you are shopping around for spring shorts, though, the Signatures are certainly worth considering. They are mid-to-high range price-wise but, I'd say, offer the comfort of higher end shorts.
They're £15 cheaper than the Alés mentioned above, which are £140, and I wasn't keen on their halter-neck design.
I'd say the Signatures are comparable to Lusso's RS19s, which are £25 cheaper, though the Livs use a more durable fabric.
There are certainly much cheaper options out there, particularly if you have no intention of staying in the saddle for more than a couple of hours. Janine reviewed a similarly designed pair of shorts from Cycology towards the end of the summer, also £25 cheaper, and the Signature's Race Day siblings are £79.99.
If you are looking for a pair of shorts with a chamois that's up to long hours in the saddle, these are well worth considering. Just be aware that they have a short leg length, and that distinctive purple band won't be for everyone – details that don't detract from the performance but might be personal niggles.
Well-made shorts with substantial fabric ideal for moderate UK temperatures and a pad that's up to long days in the saddle
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Liv Signature Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Liv says: "Liv Signature Bib Shorts are spirited and bold, just like you. Based on Team Liv rider specifications, these shorts are as functional as they are vivid, with graphics that enhance the sense of speed. Liv's redesigned Signature Bib Shorts rack up major style points with gorgeous, form-flattering lines and elegant purple hues."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Liv Race Fit
*Fabric has excellent structure to hold shape over time
*Strategically-placed mesh for ventilation
*ProComfor™ female-specific chamois
Great chamois for longer rides. No overheating around bib or insert area, though only tested in current cool conditions.
More substance to the fabric than some shorts bodes well.
Bibs are on the generous side and I personally found the leg length too short, but that's a matter of personal preference.
As expected. Liv has a brilliant sizing guide, there seem to be few companies out there considering real women to the extent that Liv does – it's worth taking a look if you are in doubt about what size to get.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Recommended 40 degree wash, I have washed at both 30 and 40 and they come out just fine. There is no obvious fading or deterioration/thinning.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great – comfortable and decent warmth for later winter/early spring temperatures combined with leg warmers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Too short in the leg for my liking.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Certainly not the cheapest but their likely durability and the quality pad might be worth the extra.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they don't mind short shorts, absolutely.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Very good shorts with a quality chamois, well made and offer more protection than some of the competition, both against the elements and with regards to the chamois.
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…