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The Gore Ardent Bib Shorts+ Men's are great – well shaped, well made and very comfortable all over. They even have a chill-stopping panel for your gentleman's leisure area if you only want to feel the wind in some of your hair... though the extra insulation it brings may be unwelcome on the hottest days.
These aren't exactly cheap, but they don't feel it either. The seams are strong and neat, and they're flatlocked where necessary for comfort – with one exception. The Windstopper panel rising from the crotch only has overlocked seams, and just occasionally one could just slightly chafe at my inner thigh and need rearranging. It was a very minor issue, but flatlocked seams here may have avoided it altogether.
The panels swoop around to sit with (and move with) your body naturally, and the various fabrics feel tough yet light. The feel, overall, is of quality.
The leg ends are raw cut with effective silicone grippers inside, and I found they hardly rode up at all. At the other end the bibs are a thin and very open fabric for good breathability and stretch, while the elastic straps themselves are more or less mesh.
I found these shorts very secure and their straps entirely comfortable; they seem very well judged for fit.
The front is reasonably low and straight for (presumably) easy comfort breaks, though it's not so low that it makes jersey length critical. In the small of the back there's a radio pocket if you're a pro racer, or the perfect spot for a Wagon Wheel if you're not.
You also get low-key but effective reflectives in the Gore logo on the back and dotted lines on the legs.
I found the pad excellent. It's pretty thick and soft around the centre, yet manages not to feel unusually bulky or uncomfortable, and as it's also very springy it resists squashing down and losing its padding effect. The thickness tapers away heavily towards the edges for a comfortable fit.
Gore says these are for 'warm weather,' but unfortunately no warm weather was supplied with our test pair. Tsk tsk. Certainly I was happy in these on 12-15°C days without leg warmers – they're fairly long, as are most shorts these days – but I'm not convinced they'll be the best choice for high summer.
That's simply because of the double layer of fabric at the front. Although it's 'vented', in that it's not sewn down on every edge inside to allow some airflow, two layers are inevitably thicker than one and can trap a bit more heat. I occasionally felt a little warm and can imagine these getting a bit sweaty on the hottest days – though, in the absence of hottest days, I can't say for sure.
At £149.99 these are definitely at the premium end, up against the likes of the excellent NVPA bib shorts Stu tested last year at £145 or Le Col's Pro bib shorts, up from £160 when Matt tested them last year to £170. The latter work well, but are disappointingly finished given the price.
None of these are the most expensive shorts around – the Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts are £230, for instance (Stu also tested those last year) – but you can get some very good shorts for much closer to £100.
The CHPT3 Most Days Grand Tour Men's Shorts reviewed very well and impressed for comfort at (for 2022) £125, while the Nopinz Pro-1 Bib Shorts are also very comfy and make some interesting aero claims too. They're now £99.99, having gone up a fiver since review.
Also, while I found these Ardents the most comfortable shorts I've tried in a couple of summers, my previous favourites – the La Passione Club Bib Shorts – are still available at £105. Unfortunately, the stitching on my pair unravelled after the first summer and they fell apart, so I can't actually recommend them, but again they show that comfort is available for around the £100 mark (and normally quality is too).
These are really good shorts – very comfortable, well made and effective. The windproof crotch inevitably makes them a little warmer there than normal, but if you struggle with chills they're ideal.
Great cut, quality and comfort, though the windproof front may get toasty on the hottest days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Ardent Bib Shorts+ Mens
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says: "Created so you can benefit from revolutionary design and high-performance materials on every ride. We made a lightweight short using our most popular fast-drying fabric and the same cut lines as our C7 bib shorts."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Expert Vent Seat Insert with Gore Windstopper Cup
-Functional fabric for moisture control and comfort
-Silicone grips and overlock seams for a more secure and comfortable fit
-Central torso architecture and three-point anchoring system
-Full mesh bib construction
-Raw cut leg hems
-Radio pocket at back
Inseam length 22.5 cm / 8.8 inches
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, no issues – they can even take 40°C washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – they're comfortable and stay that way.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They're very comfortable and feel very well made.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're at the premium end, but fairly priced for their performance and build quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe – they're a bit pricey for me personally.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
These fit well, are comfortable all over and have a build that promises to last. They're priced well against similar competition, too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,