The Louis Garneau Course Superleggera bib shorts aren't cheap, but the quality of fit and materials, and their ability to keep you cool and comfortable, justifies the price.
As you can probably guess the Louis Garneau Course Superleggera bib shorts are designed to work with the jersey of the same name. Superlight and super breathable is the name of the game and with its pro level fit the Superleggera is aimed at the performance rider. The rrp is £120 and considering there are some impressive shorts for less than that they're going to have to be pretty darn good to justify that kind of outlay.
The deal breaker with any pair of shorts is the pad.If you aren't comfortable on the bike there is very little point in worrying about the rest of it. The sign of a good chamois for me is when you haven't even noticed it no matter how long the ride and that's what happened here with the Louis Garneau Course Superleggeras.
A common theme in shorts pads at the moment is varying levels of padding and channels to relieve penile numbness. Garneau call their concept 5Motion which is made up of padded pre-shaped wings, a deep split running about three quarters of the length from the rear and mesh areas for breathability.
The thickness is pretty spot on, offering enough of a cushion to take the road buzz and bumps out without feeling like it's separating you from the bike. The mesh front and rear does offer a decent amount of breathability to an area that is always going to get warm and carbon fibres are added to the pad to keep bacteria to a minimum. The pad shape is patented to Louis Garneau so the 5Motion isn't just another pad bought off of the shelf.
The rest of the short uses a host of materials to get the best performance. The coldblack finish, as found on the rest of the Course range, is used here which reflects heat rather than absorbing it unlike usual dark coloured kit.
Delfino and Carbon-X mesh are used on the main panels of which both are a polyester/Lycra mix with a very fine dimpled mesh effect to allow for improved heat transfer. The bibs use another fabric called Power Mesh which is 20 percent Lycra. It gives plenty of movement without affecting the rest of the short.
More panels normally means a better fit as the garment can be tailored to body shape easier. The Superleggera uses eight panels which create a very comfortable, well-fitting piece of kit. The quality of the fit is most noticeable as you move from sitting in the saddle to standing for climbing. You don't feel the shorts stretching; as you change position they move with you. The legs are held in place with laser cut silicone grippers which keeps the shorts in place without placing undue pressure on the skin.
Heat transfer is impressive keeping you cool and comfortable as the mercury rises. Compression from the various materials means the comfort is very good indeed; your muscles feel much less fatigued as the hours go by.
Paired up with the Superleggera jersey the bibs not only look and fit great but the two work together to keep you cool.
Eight sizes are available from XXS to XXXL in black or white with red finishing decals.
As an aside I'm not really a fan of white kit, especially white shorts but the Course Superleggeras actually look pretty cool. The material is thick enough front and rear to cover your modesty. So far they have come up well in the wash, with no stains from road spray or energy drink drips after a 30 degree wash cycle.
Overall the Superleggera bibshorts match the quality of the jersey and again can justify the high price tag due to the exceptional fit and comfort. The quality is great with solid looking materials and stitching and while not a day in day out piece of kit it should last plenty of miles.
Great looks (even in white) and comfort with pro level performance, you're paying for what you get.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Louis Garneau Course Superleggera shorts
Size tested: Medium, white
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Superleggeras are aimed at the performance end of the market and are designed to be lightweight and very breathable which thankfully they are on both counts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
coldblack treatment for reflecting heat (on the black version)
5Motion chamois pad
Power mesh bib straps
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
very well indeed, they are pricey but justified in my opinion. The range of fabrics and the pre-shaped panels create a great fitting, high performing pair of bibs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and the comfort
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
white might not be to everyones taste
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 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,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.