For any cyclist of any discipline, there's always a great deal of trial and error when it comes to finding that perfect chamois or bibshort and saddle combination.
I've been through the mill of saddles, chamois shorts and bibshorts in the never ending quest for comfort. As a mountain biker, I've always been able to get away with a just "ok" bum set up, and this is the main reason that I spend as little time on the saddle as possible.
However, earlier this year I decided to embark on a journey of cycle discovery and try my hand at road, mountain and everything in between. Basically, if it has two wheels and legs for engines, then I'm game.
It was whilst out on my spontaneous 100 mile ride - I'm still not over it - that I learnt the hard way about the importance of a happy undercarriage. Have a good giggle at my 100 mile account here.
Since that ride, I've been actively trying out new saddle and bibshort combo's to put an end to my long-distance achy suffering. With that in mind, I've been racking up the miles in the new Endura Pro SL bibshorts.
Endura Women's Pro SL Bibshort DS
Endura have been on the cycling scene since the early 90's with their no nonsense and no faff approach to performance clothing. Based in Scotland, the Endura design team strive to deliver functional cycling kit to enhance the ride of any cyclist.
The new Pro SL bibshorts from Endura are constructed from Power Lycra which is strong and supple to provide ample muscle support. The super soft white upper body is made from a breathable mesh fabric with wide straps to prevent any digging in on the shoulders. In addition to this, the sewn in laser cut chamois pad is antibacterial and stretches with the movement of the bibshort.
Perhaps the most striking, and exciting, key feature of the Pro SL bibshorts is the faff-free nature wee zipper. This zipper runs across the back from thigh to thigh which allows quick access to go to the loo, and you don't have to mess around with your jersey either!
Because I have wide sit bones, I have difficulty finding a chamois pad that will cover me enough when sitting down. So when Endura told me that I could not only choose the size of the bibshort, but I could also choose how big I wanted the chamois to be, I was over the moon.
I selected a size small in bibshort, with the widest chamois pad they offer. *Although it sounds a little disheartening, having wide sit bones doesn't mean you have a fat ass!*
How did I get on?
I've really put these bibs through their paces on some gruelling cross-country sportives, all mountain trail rides, and of course, saddle sitting road ventures.
Let's start with the zipped trap door, because I think that's a key feature which sets these apart from most bibshorts. Despite having successful quick and easy toilet breaks in these, I'm somewhat still on the fence about this.
The zip is strong, glides easily when in use, and exposes enough area for you to easily sit down to go to the toilet - great! However, the zip puckers the fabric, as it crosses over the top of your derrière. I did notice it ever so gently brushing the lower area of my back when I was riding.
Another point that I can't help but wonder on is this: most zips can fail over time. Either they get looser and develop their own free will, or they tug on the fabric around the zip to create weak points which can lead to tears. One thing I didn't like is that lack of zip tag. When wearing gloves, this can be fiddly to find and grasp.
As for comfort, the chamois is so nice and wide. My sit bones are very happy and cushioned on the saddle and I can happily say they are one of, if not, the most comfortable I've ever worn. Even after a killer cross-country race which had leg busting climbs and very bumpy descents, my undercarriage didn't suffer any of the usual aches and pains.
The leg cuffs have a soft and flexible silicon band to firmly keep the shorts in place, without pulling on the skin. I was comfortable with the shoulder straps as they are soft and flexible, and didn't dig in at any point. Although, like with most bracer style bob shorts, you always have the Boob Interference which causes both straps to migrate into the armpit region.
Overall, I think the Endura Pro SL bibshorts are extremely comfortable on the sit bones. You can tell that Endura have really gone the extra mile by allowing you to choose the size of your chamois pad.
I think the zip is a brilliant and easy access feature for going to the loo in, but only time will tell on the durability of this. Can you imagine being far out on a ride and having the zip malfunction? Crikey.
I'm pleasantly surprise by the £100 price tag as well. For something that feels so strong, comfortable and offers an important piece of personalisation, I expected a much higher cost.
Even after miles and miles of testing, I very much intend on using this bibshorts going forward. I think that in itself gives the Endura Pro SL bibshorts my seal of approval.
Chamois Size Options: Narrow - Medium - Wide
Bibshort Size Options: X.Small - Small - Medium - Large
For more information on these bibshorts, and where you can buy them, head over to the Endura site here.
There are many varieties of bibshorts available, all with different features and functions to help improve your riding performance. If you've never tried wearing bibs, have a look through our pro/con list of why you should consider them.
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