Gore has completely revamped its popular Oxygen bib shorts with a new padded seat insert, repositioned seams and wide, flat leg openings, and the result is a supremely comfortable pair of bibs with performance that goes a long way to justifying the price tag.
The Oxygen Men padded insert, made by Elastic Interface, comprises differing thicknesses of fast-drying, open-cell foam with a recessed channel and smooth transition at the edges, helping to avoid chafing. It uses a Super Air base layer to provide ventilation and a two-layer construction helps with breathability.
Gore say it has been designed specifically for long distance rides, and that seems very much the case. It's a very comfortable padded insert and delivers the sort of comfort you'd hope in a product costing £140. There was certainly no doubt about its comfort on the longer rides I used to evaluate the shorts' performance.
The most novel feature of the padded insert is what Gore calls a 'wind protective cup'. At the front, just above the padded insert, is a double layer of material, windproof on the outside and lined with soft material on the inside, which serves to provide a bit of added protection in this lower midriff area on chillier rides.
It might seem an odd idea but it does have merit, being useful on longer mountain descents or cold morning starts, providing a noticeable degree of extra protection from the elements in this delicate area
The fit is very good, with the material and panel design providing a compressive feel; it's a bit snug when you first pull on the shorts, but turns into absolute comfort on the bike. There's no restriction to note at all.
A flat-folded hem is used at the leg openings which manages, despite the lack of any elastic material or silicone tape, to keep the shorts in place and stop them riding up.
The bib straps are made from a mesh material using a 'tunnel construction' that avoids any uncomfortable seams, eliminating irritation over the shoulders – especially if you're not wearing a baselayer – and there's enough stretch in the straps that they don't dig in. The back panel is made from a light and stretchy mesh material.
You get some reflective Gore Bike Wear logos but, those aside, they're simple and plain black bib shorts that go well with any jersey or jacket. Pricey maybe, but very comfortable.
Solid construction and performance with good long-distance comfort and understated styling
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0 Bibtights short+
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Gore says: "These bibtights feature a tight-fitting stretch material for riders who demand top performance. Flat leg cuffs and shoulder straps are designed so that they don't cut into the skin. The extra padding provides comfort and wind protection on long rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reflective logo on back
Flat hem provides optimum fit and comfort
OXYGEN MEN seat insert with highly breathable, wind protective cup
Full mesh bib construction for optimum ventilation
Inseam length 28 cm / 11 inches
Highly functional material mix
Reflective print on front
Shifted seams for less chafing
Reflective logo on side
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy to look after.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provided comfort for the longer rides that they're advertised for.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really comfortable padded insert and good fit. Understated styling appeals too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really to dislike, other than the price, but it's worth shopping around for a discount.
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 score
A technical product that gets the key details right, and the result is a very comfortable and nice fitting pair of bib shorts.
About the tester
I usually ride: 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, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
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.