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The new Team Bib Evo from Australian brand MAAP are very much the pinnacle of how a pair of shorts should feel and perform. The fabric delivers excellent levels of stretch and movement with equal amounts of compression which give a cosseting experience, while the 3D pad is sublime. All of this comes at quite a price, though.
On its website, MAAP doesn't disclose the name of the fabric it's used for the main shorts section of the Team Evo, just saying that it is engineered for optimal stretch, recovery and shape retention, and that it has a composition of 80% polyamide and 20% elastane.
It also has Bluesign certification, like many other of MAAP's products. Bluesign ensures that goods are made from materials produced only using chemicals and processes that are safe for people and the environment. Air and water emissions from the manufacturing processes are also entirely clean.
The fabric has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, but while road spray and drizzle do bead off, it doesn't fare that well against anything harder. To be fair, if it's warm enough to wear shorts then getting wet isn't really an issue in my book.
Performance-wise, I really can't fault it. It has a compressive quality, which you can feel when putting the shorts on – I basically had to inch them up my thighs.
Once in place it feels like they come up small, especially compared to others in the range, such as the Team Thermal bib tights I reviewed back in November. Once fully on, though, and in position on the bike, I found the sizing and shape to work really well.
They deliver the close fit you want to stop any unwanted bunching of the fabric, along with support for your muscles from the stretchy and compressive material.
Length in the legs and the upper body was absolutely fine, and when stretched out onto the hoods or drops, the width of the straps spreads the load, reducing pressure points.
The multi-panel design keeps seams away from where they could cause irritation and also creates a pair of shorts that just move perfectly with you while you're riding, whether in or out of the saddle.
Wide, elasticated grippers with a silicone imprint at the hem keeps the legs in place, and just like the straps, do away with any pressure points.
The pad is made exclusively for MAAP by Elastic Interface, a brand favoured by many of the top clothing manufacturers.
Its shape is created by thermoforming – adding heat to the material before moulding it to create its final shape – and you are left with a pad of varying depths of foam. The thicker sections are designed to lie beneath the sit bones, while the rest is much thinner, including at the front where it provides just a small amount of protection but the amount of material is kept to a minimum to avoid bunching.
The pad is very breathable, too, as is the main fabric used in the shorts and the mesh material used for the back section.
Overall quality is very high indeed; there is the odd stray thread end here and there, but generally all of the stitching is very neat and tidy. One place I always look out for wear and tear is the stitching around the pad – contact from the saddle can damage this quite quickly on some shorts, even after just a couple of rides – but no signs of that here.
MAAP offers the Team Evos in a range of colours. This navy blue and the black option come with white or colour-coordinated straps and logos, and there is also an 'Olive Drab' (green) version – Emma tested the women's version.
Bringing value back into the equation puts the Tea Evos up against some tough opposition, but even at £190 they still put up a good fight against some of the best out there.
George rated the Castelli Premio Black bib shorts very highly, praising the fabric, the comfortable pad and the compression qualities. All things that the MAAPs share, but the Castellis are £220.
I recently tested the Rapha Classic bib shorts, which I liked a lot. They're a bit cheaper at £170, but the MAAPs have the edge over them in every respect.
I'd also say they perform slightly better than the Hydra Tech Pro Strada21 bib tights that Jamie recently tested, which cost £184.
Yes, they are a lot of money, but up against the opposition they perform very well indeed. If you want an excellent fitting pair of shorts with a top-notch pad and good breathable performance then you won't go far wrong with the Team Bib Evo.
Absolute quality, from the performance of the fabric through to the comfort of the pad, if you don't mind paying for it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: MAAP Team Bib Evo
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
MAAP says, "Redefine your performance with our new Team Bib Evo, a bold evolution of our most popular bib. The all new 3D Thermo Moulded multi-layer chamois ensures ultimate comfort for long days on the bike, while laser cut perforations provide maximum breathability no matter the conditions. Ergonomically designed with a male-specific cut and optimal stretch to move seamlessly from training to racing. Experience the fourth generation, now."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Main body fabric engineered for optimal stretch, recovery and shape retention
Anti pilling and high abrasion resistance
Non see through function [fabric won't thin over time]
Moisture wicking and highly breathable
All fabrics are Bluesign approved and made in Italy
High airflow back mesh panel with bound edge
Seamless elastic bib brace straps
Reflective print transfers
Elastic leg hem band with printed silicone gripper
UPF50+ sun protection factor
All new Proprietary 3D Thermo Moulded multi density chamois, manufactured by Elastic Interface® - OEKO-TEX® certified
They feel like they come up small when you first put them on, but get on the bike and the fit is spot on.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
MAAP recommends a cool wash and by doing that I have had no problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
An excellent pair of performance bib shorts that'll give you hours of comfort on the road or away from it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the mixture of compression and stretch in the fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not a huge a fan of the price...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Castellis mentioned in the review are £30 more, and while the Strada21 and Rapha Classic shorts are cheaper by a bit, the MAAPs win out on performance and comfort, just.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Performance-wise they really can't be faulted, and although I did consider dropping the score to 8 overall because of the price, comparing them to similar high-scoring but more expensive shorts, I couldn't really justify it.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!