Signing Fabian Cancellara by Gore Wear has been about more than just sticking his face on full-page adverts in magazines. The clothing brand has been working closely with the retired pro to develop the ambitiously high-end C7 bib shorts.
At an event a few hours before the Rouleur Classic last Thursday, Fabian Cancellara helped to unveil the new bib shorts that Gore Wear is hoping will appeal to cyclists in the market for a no-compromise bib short, as a cornerstone of its 2019 spring and summer collection.
Who better than a cyclist of Fabian Cancellara’s experience and expertise to develop a new bib short? Logging more hours than any enthusiast cyclist and having had his fair share of clothing sponsors throughout his career, he certainly is in a good position to know what is important in a bib short.
And Fabian challenged Gore Wear to really throw out the rule book when it came to developing the new C7 bib short, and the result is a quite radical design with numerous interesting features.
The starting point was focusing on ensuring the padded inserts is in the perfect position at all times. The result is the “central torso architecture’ which builds the entire short around the chamois and a piece of material which it is cradled in. The remainder of the short is then built of this central section.
From there Gore has used a four-way stretchy fabric to build the rest of the short with as few seams as possible to avoid irritation, and provide unrestricted movement when pedalling. It has used wide seamless shoulder straps and particular attention has been given to the design of the silicone lined hems, an area that Fabian seemed particularly keen on Gore Wear getting absolutely perfect.
And onto the padded inserts, which of course are all-new. It has developed three new padded inserts for the three different shorts. They are the C7 Race Bib shorts+, C7 Long Distance Bib Shorts+ and C7 Vent Bib Shorts+ which share the common design language but have tailored foam padding and materials for the different demands of racing cyclists versus endurance cyclists.
The C7 Race Bib shorts+ feature a pre-formed Expert Race padded insert which has high-density padded foam concentrated just on the sit bone area during a during a predominantly hunched over, aggressive riding position with little movement in the saddle.
The C7 Long Distance Bib Shorts+ essentially uses a more generously padded insert but provides a wider range of sitting positions so it’s comfortable whether you’re low and aero in the drops or sitting up straight on the saddle. This will probably be the pick of the range with a much more versatile and wider use range.
Finally, there are the C7 Vent Bib Shorts+ which are aimed at hot weather or indoor cycling with fast-drying, breathable and lightweight materials. The Expert Vent padded insert is more ventilated and only absorbs a tiny amount of moisture and dries quickly, so ideal for a hot sportive or regular indoor training sessions.
The three new pads feature a novel Windstopper Cup at the front of the pad. Quite simply it adds a bit of its famous wind-blocking material to the front region of the pad so when you’re riding in changeable temperatures your delicate area is afforded a little extra protection.
"Whether you’re out for a ride with your friends or want to attack in a race: nothing bothers cyclists more than a seat insert that won’t stay put – it’s the key link between cyclist and bike, after all. As long as you are sitting still in the saddle your central torso position does not change. But be careful if you start moving out of the saddle to unleash an attack, slip sideways on the saddle in a chicane or try to bridge the gap between you and the tête de la course with an unsteady pedal stroke. Then there is a huge risk that this movement will cause the seat insert to shift, making you uncomfortable and spoil any kind of ride; from races to leisurely jaunts.
"To combat this, GORE® Wear's revolutionary new 'central torso architecture' builds the whole design concept around the seat insert. In common constructions the seat insert is usually applied to an engineered bib short 'shell'. When riding, bib short straps exert multi-directional tension on the seat insert and the stretchy fabric of the bib short. However, with 'central torso architecture' everything revolves around the seat insert and how it is connected to the body and the bib shorts. This design keeps the seat insert in the perfect position - and thus provides a stable but sensitive connection between rider and bike."
The new C7 shorts won't be available until January and stay tuned hopefully for a first ride soon just as soon as we get our hands on a pair. Pricing and exact availability to be confirmed soon.
More at www.gorewear.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.