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If you're spending £160 on a pair of bibshorts you might, quite rightly, expect a perfect finish. But while the Le Col Pro Bib Shorts are a good racy fit with a chamois that makes day-long rides comfortable, the finish leaves a lot to be desired.
The front panel is reasonably long, with wide bibs that help reduce pressure and make for a very comfortable fit. The Pro Dolomiti pad is quite deep and for the first few rides felt a little awkward, but it soon softened – it's actually pretty flexible, and I found it very comfortable.
If you don't like the black/white versions on test, there are full black and a navy/black options too. Sizing is broad – from XS up to 3XL – covering waist sizes from 74cm (29.1in) to 111mm (43.7in).
The fit is accurate to the size guide, giving a reasonable level of compression with no loose material.
Our test pair had an issue with the cuffs: both silicone grippers were stitched on badly enough to pull the leg panels out of line and leave unsightly wrinkles. Assuming it was a one-off manufacturing fault, we asked for a replacement pair... which had exactly the same issue.
This quality of finish is something I would find disappointing on a £60 pair of shorts, let alone £160.
While this may be purely an unfortunate incident, having two pairs with identical problems doesn't bode well, and it's a location that stands out clearly.
This aside, I have used them on several day rides with no issues at all, as they're comfortable and breathable enough to stop them getting too sweaty even in hot weather – though they still don't quite match my favourites.
Retailing for £160, the Pro Bib Shorts are pitched against some of the highest quality shorts available, with high-scoring alternatives including the Pactimo Summit Classic bibs at £165, the MAAP Training Bibs at £141.79, and the 7mesh Mk3 bibs, which are £150 and scored a perfect 10.
While the Pro bibs offer day-long comfort, a good fit and impressive breathability, some of the stitching is questionable and really spoils the look. At this price, and against such impressive competition, that's unfortunately quite a serious blow against them.
Comfortable and effective, but lacking the high-quality build and look the high price implies
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col Pro Bib Shorts
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col says: "Our fastest and most popular choice, the Pro Bib Shorts have been developed, tested and proven at the sport's highest level by the world's best riders. Built around a Lycra Sport textile for a versatile breathability and a supportive comfort next to the skin, these shorts are cut in a race fit, offering an aerodynamic construction from top to bottom."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Le Col lists:
Developed with insight from the world's top riders
Race oriented aero fit
Debossed logos for stealth
Pro Dolomiti Chamois
Lycra Sport Fibre
Mesh bib straps
Flat locked seams
Silicone leg gripper
Machine Wash at 30°C / 86°F
Do not use fabric conditioner
Close all zippers/velcro fastenings
Dry flat, do not tumble dry
Do not bleach, iron or dry clean
We'd also suggest turning inside out prior to washing and keeping them separate from other items by popping them into a mesh laundry bag
The stitching on the legs is poor, with stretched elastic that misshapes the panel. Our replacement pair had the same problem.
A good race fit.
The size guide is accurate and the overall fit is comfortable.
The chamois pad is large and quite deep, but I found it comfortable and unobtrusive in use.
The finish is lacking for such a high-cost item.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems when washed at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The fabric, fit and chamois make these a comfortable pair of shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Reasonable all-day comfort and a good, racy fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The stitching around the cuffs is badly done and causes the seams to ruck up – not at all impressive given the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £160 the finish should be perfect, and that sadly just isn't the case. High quality, high-scoring alternatives include the Pactimo Summit Classic bibs at £165, the MAAP Training Bibs at £141.79, and the 7mesh Mk3 bibs, which are £150 and scored a perfect 10.
Did you enjoy using the product? In terms of comfort, yes but construction quality is lacking
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
While the Pro Bib Shorts are comfortable and effective, the badly-done seams and unflattering rucking lets them down – at this price you can fairly expect them shine in every respect.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.