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Endura's Women's Pro SL Bibshorts fit well and use an innovative female-testing-driven pad that distributes pressure exceptionally well, markedly putting an end to this type of discomfort on even the longest endurance rides. That said, depending on your shape you might find the channel a little wide and this can cause chafing.
Endura joined forces with former British Cycling head physiotherapist Phil Burt to improve comfort for women with a 'taboo-busting' approach. This involved open discussions with a large female test pool, rigorous testing, and more than 250 pads being made in the process of understanding what was making the difference to female rider comfort.
The pad is made from medical grade silicone elastomer, which is typically used in advanced prosthetics. Using a liquid form of the elastomer, it has been added to Endura's continuous variable profile (CVP) pads, the idea being that it better dissipates pressure, while the foam pad wicks away sweat and helps with breathability.
Their research found that women's hips tend to rotate slightly forwards, transferring weight onto the vulnerable soft tissues at the front, and so more of the silicone elastomer has been added to this area of the pad.
As soon as you pull these shorts on and start walking around before getting onto the bike, it's noticeable that the chamois is stiffer and less flexible than most.
On the bike, the pad initially felt soft against the skin thanks to the foam exterior, but much firmer compared to usual.
After I settled into the pad, it proved to be pleasingly effective. It supported my sit bones while protecting my soft tissue areas for long endurance rides. Pressure is spread so absolutely perfectly for me that I finished five-hour-plus rides feeling noticeably a lot fresher and happier than usual.
However... while it did effectively reduce pressure discomfort, the 7.5cm-wide firm padding at the front is wider than most, and a touch too wide for my liking – after an hour or so into rides it causes some painful chafing at the tops of my thighs.
Otherwise, the shorts fit really well and hold the pad securely in place. They also feature Endura's new zipless Drop Seat design, which enables you to pull the bibs down for comfort breaks without getting undressed on your top half.
This is a significant improvement over the previous rear zip design which – although it never failed for me – always left me nervous that it would split open.
This new design has plenty of stretch for pulling down, feels very secure at the back, and is also quick and easy to use.
At the front, there's a white mesh panel which connects to two 4cm-wide elastic crossover back straps. The crossover strap design isn't the most straightforward for putting these on, but the printed visual instructions on the packaging do help, and once you get into the routine it's no problem.
These straps are very stretchy and lie perfectly flat once positioned in place, though I found the elastic presses a little too tightly against my back, which ends up being uncomfortable as rides go on.
Back round to the front and the mesh upper is supportive and quick wicking. It sits quite high and so neatly hides away most cycling-specific bra styles. It also extends quite wide around the chest and I found that the elasticated strips on each edge cut in between the tops of my shoulders and my armpits – I experienced slight pinching sensations as I was riding and was also left with red marks on both sides.
The shift from the black styling of the shorts to white mesh upper is high enough that when paired with shorter race jerseys the white doesn't peek through from beneath.
The seamless transition between the shorts and the upper is comfier and more stylish than using a separate baselayer, and there's also the benefit of some front coverage for modesty.
Down below, the legs are a very good length, and the low-profile grippers have raw edges with 4.5cm-long strips of silicone tucked inside to stay secure. This gives a smooth finish that doesn't squeeze, though the join and stitching here is not the neatest.
As well as providing UPF50 sun protection, the Lycra fabric comes with Coldblack technology, which genuinely does help prevent your legs boiling up in continuous sunshine.
Price-wise, at £129.99 they compare well with some: Gore Wear's C7 Women's Bib Shorts made from a soft, supple fabric really impressed on long days, but they are a considerably more expensive £179.99.
I also really got on with Velocio's Women's Ultralight Bib Shorts with their easy pee design and exceptional breathability, but these are also pricier at £168.
The Endura bib shorts come with a 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee, and so are well worth a try to see if you get on with them.
Although the wide channel at the front didn't quite suit my body shape, and the mesh upper dug in at the sides for me, other parts of the shorts are great. The firmer gel used inside the innovative pad was indeed game-changing for reducing pressure in my experience, the pull-down easy pee design is very effective, and the Coldblack technology really helps prevent overheating.
Exceptional pad for eliminating pressure, but while the comfort break design works well, the wide chamois channel won't suit all
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Women's Pro SL Bibshorts
Size tested: Small (medium pad)
Tell us what the product is for
Endura says: "Game changing women's road cycling bibshort with unique Drop Seat function."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
High quality Italian power Lycra® fabric with coldblack® technology dramatically reducing heat build-up and providing UPF50 protection
PFC-Free, non-toxic durable water repellent finish
Women's 800 Series Conform EGM Pad with medical grade Elastomer technology
Ergonomic, pre-shaped multi panel construction
New bib construction combining wide elastic crossover back straps and supportive high wicking front mesh panel
High power, lumbar support panel
Innovative, discreet, zip-free and unique Drop Seat comfort break function
90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
The pull-down easy pee system feels robust. Time will tell...
Wide chamois channel for my body shape.
Absolutely brilliant for reducing pressure discomfort on long road rides, but the wide channel at the front caused chafing for my body shape. Also, the elasticated edges on the mesh upper dug in at the sides for me.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
All good when machine washed at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The silicone elastomer dissipates pressure very effectively, while the foam pad is pleasantly breathable but the wide channel shape could cause chafing. The Coldblack technology really does help prevent boiling up, and the pull-down comfort break design is quick and easy to use, and also feels robust.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The silicone elastomer used in the pad, which distributes pressure effectively.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wide chamois channel caused unpleasant chafing for my body shape.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Very good value. Other designs suited to long distance riding are a fair bit over the £150 mark, including Gore Wear's C7 Bib Shorts (£179.99) and Velocio's Ultralight Bib Shorts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes and no...
Would you consider buying the product? No, the wide chamois channel didn't quite work for my body shape.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially as there's the 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, these fit well, with a pull-down comfort break design that works very effectively. The silicone elastomer used in the chamois is absolutely brilliant for reducing pressure discomfort on long road rides, but the wide channel at the front caused chafing for my body shape. These definitely have a lot of promise and are well worth trying out to see if the chamois shape works for you, because if it does, these are so great.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
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: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.