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With three easy access and secure pockets as well as one with a zipper for valuables, the MAAP Women's Alt_Road Cargo Bibs deliver on providing versatile load-carrying capability. The robust fabric has proved resistant to brushes with foliage while navigating narrower trails, as well as providing some comfortable light compression. They cost a pretty penny, though – without any provision for spending one easily, mid-ride.
MAAP's Alt_Road line is the Australian brand's new adventure range for those seeking tight-fitting clothing that focuses on durability and also comes loaded with plenty of pockets.
With such a huge price tag you'd expect nothing but perfection, but while these are an excellent and durable option, it is a shame they haven't been fully tailored for female needs – there's no 'easy pee' comfort break design.
Light compression is delivered by the firm fabric's four-way stretch that's supportive but not too tight. The leg panels are made from a fabric that's designed to provide plenty of abrasion resistance and has, in my experience, delivered on this.
The straps are very comfortable as well as suitably supportive. At the front they're made of a stretchy fabric and have a smooth raw cut finish. These then join together at the rear with a mesh panel that is breathable and wicks well. The edge of this panel is soft and hasn't caused any discomfort.
Wide leg bands keep things comfortable and also hold the shorts in place without pinching your skin. The silicone gripper inside is effective and isn't excessive so doesn't leave you with any marks just above your tan line when walking around post-ride.
The star feature of these bibs is the mix of usable pockets, including two side cargo pockets, one on each thigh. The mesh one on the left can be loaded up from the top, while the one on the right has a zipper to keep things safe.
The open mesh one is large and secure enough for storing a smartphone, which means you have very easy access for pulling it out to take a photo, for example. The pocket is wide so you could also comfortably store an energy gel here next to your phone. Alternatively, the mesh here is stretchy enough that you could instead stash a bulkier item with a flat surface such as a GoPro.
I found the zippered pocket on the other side a useful size for storing a card wallet or a small set of keys.
There are also two pockets that have been integrated into where the two straps join together at the rear. These have dipped entrances and provide useful extra storage for use with a baggy tee. They're not that deep, though, so I wouldn't feel comfortable storing a smartphone here. In my experience these work best for storing nutrition on one side and a gilet or arm warmers on the other.
With four pockets in total it gives you lots of options for distributing your gear as you please. MAAP has successfully pulled off providing plenty of space while also delivering on security too. Thanks to the versatility of this cargo space there's no need to wear a standard jersey with these bibs.
The pad in the Alt_Road bibs is MAAP's 3D thermo moulded multi-density design. I've had no issues with soreness or chafing on rides around the five hour mark, and the multiple thicknesses of foam hold you comfortably when tackling challenging off-road ascents in a seated position. It has also been given an antibacterial treatment for keeping things fresh.
For use in hot conditions, the bibs offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun.
MAAP has used fabrics that are approved according to bluesign and OEKO-TEX standards, which are independent verifiers that have testing and certification processes for consumer safety when buying sustainable products.
All of the interior seams are flatlock stitched and the construction is of high quality throughout.
Priced at £235, the Alt_Road bib shorts are expensive, even if they do negate the need of buying a jersey (it is possible to just pair them with a cheaper tee).
If you aren't especially bothered about pockets you can get a quality pair of women's bib shorts for a lot less; even the expensive ones we've tested will save you a fair amount of cash over these MAAPs. 7mesh's WK3 bib shorts, for example, are £160 and also come with an excellent 'easy pee' design, and there's a cargo version for 'just' £180.
Overall, the Alt_Road Cargo bibs are a high-quality option with a great mix of usable and secure pockets that reduce dependency on riding with a 'proper' cycling jersey. However, versatile pocket space isn't matched with versatility for long rides where a pee stop is certainly on the cards – these don't have an 'easy pee' comfort break system built in, which is a bit of a shame when you're spending so much.
Very good durable bibs with secure and versatile load carrying capacity though expensive and no easy-pee feature
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road.cc test report
Make and model: MAAP Women's Alt_Road Cargo Bib
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
MAAP says: "Women's Alt_Road Cargo Bib Shorts are designed for your next off grid adventure. A unique combination of materials including 4-way stretch compression fabrics and our proprietary female 3D thermo moulded chamois deliver all day comfort, while abrasion resistant leg panels deliver durability for when, you know, sh!t happens. And, storage is taken care of, no matter what you choose to wear up top, with a leg zip pocket for valuables, stash pocket for your phone and rear pockets for gels and bars. Anti-microbial, odour resistant and lightweight, they are perfect on gravel, dirt, the open road, whatever."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A highly technical bib short combining lightweight, 4 way stretch woven compression fabrics and offering the highest level of durability and comfort
High abrasion resistance side leg panels
Moisture wicking fabrications are highly breathable, quick drying and anti-odour
Utilises MAAP's Proprietary 3D thermo moulded multi (3 layer) density chamois - OEKO-TEX® Certified
Ergonomically engineered chamois has laser cut perforations for breathability and antimicrobial microfibre top liner
Functional side cargo pockets to accommodate a phone and one includes a zip closure for valuables
Centre back dual pockets for energy bars and other essentials
All seams flatlock stitched to eliminate abrasion
Thermo bonded centre back crossover for added comfort and elastic support
Ultimate UV protection UPF 50+
High airflow back mesh panel with soft bound edge
Reflective external branding and back leg tabs
Custom printed sticky silicone hem gripper
Suspender and hems elastics are OEKO-TEX® Certified
Fabrications are approved according to bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® standards
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
Lots of usable load capacity and so great to use without a jersey (and with a tee).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The mix of pockets – easy access ones and more secure zipped ones.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No female-specific comfort break design which would really come in handy for the long rides that the chamois can easily cope with.
Plus, THAT price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Very expensive. We were very impressed with the performance of 7mesh's WK3 bib shorts, and MAAP's option is much pricier than the cargo version of 7mesh's bibs which cost £180.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if on a discount.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, these are high-quality, robust bibs that have lots of features that make them great for all-day outings – a versatile load-carrying capacity, comfy chamois, straps and wide leg bands – but they're missing a female-specific feature that's particularly useful on long rides: a comfort break 'easy pee' system. They're also extremely expensive. They're good but could be better for the money – or cheaper.
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