Trying to find the perfect bib short is such a hot topic of conversation amongst the women in my cycling club. In fact a recent thread on our club forum even had the guys commenting, making suggestions and sharing feedback from others. Needless to say if you feel great on the bike, and have confidence in your kit, then you’re in for a great ride.
I was delighted to receive a pair of the Endura Pro SL bibs to try out try for myself the performance features that Endura have created as part of their commitment to women.
The shorts feature many details that often feature in those conversations we have as female riders, and ultimately Endura have created a performance product that works. Even if there is the odd area for improvement.
The most forward thinking feature is the new Endura Pad Fit system: Love at First Sit. Endura were the first short brand to bring out multiple chamois widths for each size – acknowledging that a person’s clothes size doesn’t necessarily dictate the shape of their sit bones. You can choose your fit yourself, using an online guide, or head to a fit centre for a professional assessment before you buy. I went for the online option, and set about putting these bibs through their paces.
Pee Stops Sorted
First up, the dreaded pee stop. Endura have created the drop seat function- essentially a zip around the back of the shorts which prevent the whole getting your kit off in the woods scenario or hanging up jerseys and jackets on the back of the toilet door- fine in summer, less so in winter.
The zip itself is very subtle, and not noticeable until pointed out and really does solve a problem making pee stops quicker and far more decent!
Chamois Measurement for Perfect Fit – or not?
Next up, the chamois debate. Thick, thin, wide, narrow? We all have a different anatomy and although we may spend a while looking at which saddle suits us best, how much focus do we give to the chamois? Endura have created the Love at first Sit concept enabling you to get the best possible sizing for your saddle width which in principle is a super clever idea.
The at home measuring system – however - is a little hit and miss. I measured my saddle then chose the pad based on the instructions. I ended up with a pair of shorts with a pad that felt way too big, and was particularly uncomfortable whilst off the bike. On the bike it seems to work ok.
Perhaps a visit to an Endura Pad Fit centre is the best option here, and clearly Endura have put some really good development time into the concept working with the analysis company gebioMized and the Cevelo Bigla pro racing team.
The straps always feature heavily in any bibs review I do, as the entire bib really has to work together as a whole piece. I really like the strap design used by Endura here- the wide meshed back is a winner in the comfort and wicking stakes and the brace like front prevents any overheating risk on hot days. The body of the bibs felt secure and race like, and fit really well on sizing.
The Italian Power Lycra used in the legs is very supportive and according to Endura offers ‘optimal muscle support’ which could be too tight for some riders, and me included here. It’s a little too snug for my liking and I find the tight fit a bit testing on long rides. It does though have a UPF 50+ rating and coldblack technology though so you can feel confident in the heat in these bibs. I really like the material used on the on the bottom of the shorts, although in my opinion the gripper used could have been wider to make the cut even more flattering.
In summary, I like how Endura are investing in women’s specific technology and developing performance kit like these FS260 Pro SL Bibshorts. They look good on the bike and they feel racey- pretty much as they are advertised. If you are looking for a performance short, I would recommend these shorts with a correct fitting, but I do question the need of a zip if you are buying these purely for performance and racing. With that in mind, they're possibly a good option for longer training rides or sportives.
Good option of the drop seat for comfort breaks and giving riders confidence to wear bibs.
Lightweight mesh straps are very comfy yet still racelike.
The PadFit system was a little tricky to get right doing it yourself.
The leg gripper could have been made a little wider.
Price: RRP £99
More information: here