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The Altura All Roads Cargo Bib Shorts are comfortable and practical, with a comfortable pad for long distances and loads of storage space.
As the popularity of bikepacking and gravel riding continues to grow, so too does the range of clothing to accompany it, such as cargo shorts with their promise of extra carrying capacity. These All Roads are a good example – though the fit is a little unusual in places.
The All Roads can carry lots more than you could in the pockets of a typical cycling jersey, with a large pocket on the right leg, two medium pockets on the left leg, two pockets on the small of the back, and a loop for a jacket hanging down from the back.
I found the pockets on the legs very useful for things like a wallet, phone, map and gels – basically, anything that can sit relatively comfortably against the leg. I wouldn't recommend putting keys or suchlike in them, which could cause irritation while cycling.
On the back, the two pockets are essentially just the same as jersey pockets, and good for storing more awkwardly shaped stuff. The one thing I did find a little annoying was that if you do have anything bulky in them, or if you've used the loop to store a jacket, you'll either need to wear a relatively baggy jersey to sit over the top, or you are forced to wear your jersey hoicked up. Because of this I tended to only use the back pockets for smaller items, and after a while ended up sticking my jacket in a jersey pocket instead of the loop.
The other slight annoyance was that I couldn't slip them on that easily, as the pocket on the left leg would often fold under the bottom of the leg, creating an impenetrable barrier. It isn't a major issue, but it's something I had to look out for every time I put them on.
If the shorts are fully laden then they hold up well thanks to some reinforcement in the way of a 'junction' in the middle of the back. This is essentially a non-stretchy piece of material that connects a single strap running from the middle of the back to the two shoulder straps. It allows you to carry more while evenly distributing the weight, so the shoulder straps remain comfortable and don't sag.
The shorts have the same Elastic Interface Icon pad as used in its Icon bib shorts range. It isn't the most complex design, but I, like Stu when he reviewed the Icon Thermal bib tights last year, found it comfortable for long rides.
The shorts have a relatively relaxed fit, which is unsurprising given that they're designed to hold quite a lot of stuff. But I have large thighs that make buying jeans a pain, and even then these were looser than any other pair of bib shorts I have used. They sized up correctly in terms of length, but had a tendency to fold slightly and crease when using them unloaded, though it didn't cause any discomfort so isn't a massive deal.
I didn't find them riding up too much, either, helped by the silicone gripper around the hem holding them in place well.
Up top, the straps also sit comfortably on the shoulders with a good amount of stretch, so should be suitable for people of varying heights. The straps aren't narrow, but for something designed to take a little more weight the fabric is surprisingly thin, though they didn't twist or dig into my shoulders.
In terms of breathability I used these up to around 19 degrees, and on that hottest day I put them through their paces on quite a hilly ride and they performed well. They aren't exactly lightweight climbers shorts, but I would happily use these into the mid 20s. Similarly, the wicking is good and they dry quickly too.
Altura has also made sure these are easy to see in low light conditions with a large patch of reflective material above each leg pocket. What I particularly like about these is that, firstly, they're massive and so more likely to be seen, and secondly, their placement means they can be seen from pretty much all angles. It's a good design feature.
We haven't tested a huge number of cargo bibs, but compared with the few we have, these are decent value. Madison's Roam Men's Cargo Bib Shorts that Stu reviewed last year come in at a penny less but don't feature the same amount of storage. Rapha's Core Cargo Bib Shorts seem to offer broadly the same qualities but are £15 more.
Overall, I like these Altura shorts. They're comfortable for long rides on different surfaces, offer a massive amount of storage, and the reflective details are well thought out. There are some elements that don't quite work – for me, anyway – such as the fit on the legs, and the jacket loop, which is a bit awkward, but these are relatively minor issues.
Good cargo shorts with a comfortable pad and loads of storage, but worth trying before you buy
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura All Road Cargo Bib Shorts
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says: "The Altura All Roads Cargo Men's Cycling Bib Short is a new take on our accomplished Icon Bib short that has been carefully redesigned for gravel adventures."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Altura includes this information on its website:
Maintaining our ethos of comfort for every rider, these Bib Shorts continue to use our exclusive Elastic Interface Icon Pad which focuses on comfort to body weight ratio with denser foam used in our larger sizes to provide maximum comfort for all. The All Roads Cargo Men's Cycling Bibshorts feature lots of on-body storage with an impressive five pockets for taking along plenty of fuel and easential belongings making these perfect for long ride adventures.
- Exclusive Elastic Interface™ Icon Pad
- Five on-body storage pockets
- Reflective print detail
- Raw cut cuff with branded silicone grip
Well made, with strong stitching throughout and the junction at the back distributing additional weight well.
They performed very well – comfortable over long distances and on rough surfaces.
Early days, but nothing to suggest they won't last well.
Fitted well in terms of length, and the straps were fine, but they came up slightly looser than expected on the legs, where occasional folds and creasing isn't ideal.
Sized up as expected in terms of length, but, as above, slightly loose between hem and top of the shorts.
With a really good pad and no restriction on pedal strokes, they're very comfortable over long rides.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy. I washed these several times at 30 degrees and hung them on the line without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're good for carrying additional kit, and comfortable for cycling all day.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The amount of stuff you can fit in them.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not really a dislike, but the jacket loop at the back is a nice idea that doesn't quite work.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Madison's Roam Men's Cargo Bib Shorts are the same price (bar 1p), but don't have the same amount of storage. The Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts seem to offer broadly the same qualities but are £15 more.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
A good pair of cargo bib shorts with decent amounts of storage, a comfy pad, and well-designed reflective elements.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.