Verdict: 
A great pair of shorts better suited to mid-season riding than full-on summer, if a bit pricey
Weight: 
182g
Contact: 

The Chapeau Club Bibshorts are very well made and comfortable, with a pad that I got along with very well and luxurious-feeling fabric. I found they could get a little hot, so I'd say they're better for milder days than the full-on heat of summer; they're also a bit on the pricey side.

  • Pros: Excellent chamois pad, quality feel
  • Cons: Slightly short at the leg, material is a little thick for summer

How good cycling shorts are tends to pivot around the chamois/pad. Although pad comfort is subjective, the chamois on these is well constructed and designed, with varying degrees of density as appropriate, to provide you with support in the right places but prevent chafing or that 'nappy' feeling that can occur if the pad is overly thick.

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When Stu reviewed the previous incarnation of these bibs a couple of years ago, he noted that there was no channel down the centre of the pad. This has now been incorporated, and when I wore the shorts on a few long rides of over four hours I felt comfortable throughout, with no chafing or numbness.

chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_riding.jpg

The stitching around the edge of the pad, attaching it to the Lycra of the shorts, is very neatly done and doesn't cause any irritation either. These are definitely up there with the most comfortable shorts I've worn.

chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_pad.jpg

The material of the legs and the shorts section feels really good quality and is very comfortable against the skin, and Chapeau's use of zig-zag rather than flatlock stitching works well in terms of providing flexibility and suppleness.

The straps front and back are a lighter mesh, and this works reasonably well for cooling purposes. The straps are nice and wide and comfortable around the shoulders with no element of digging in.

chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_straps_front.jpg
chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_straps_back.jpg

My only negative comment really is that the material around the leg is a little thick and heavy, and left me feeling quite hot. Although the moisture-wicking materials worked well to prevent excessive sweating, I definitely felt over-warm at times.

chapeau_club_bibshorts.jpg

The gripper around the legs works well, keeping the shorts where they should be, although the legs are a little shorter than I'd like. I was testing a small, and tend to wear either medium or small bibs, so the length issue may have been partly down to the size, although the remainder of the shorts fitted well – the shoulder straps, pad area, and general volume.

chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_cuff_gripper.jpg

Looks are as subjective as pad comfort, but to my mind the charcoal grey of the logos and around the leg grippers gives the shorts a classy but quite neutral appearance. This means they're easily paired with any colour jersey and socks.

chapeau_club_bibshorts_-_back.jpg

Since Stu reviewed the previous pair they've gone up by £20, and at £119.99 are pretty pricey. However, they are very comfortable and feel very nicely made, and given how central shorts are to your comfort and performance on the bike, I'd argue that it's a price well worth paying. That said, you can certainly spend less and still get decent quality: Northwave's Extreme 3 bib shorts received high praise and cost £89.99, while Castelli's Velocissimo IVs are £100, and for a pound less you can get Lusso's made-in-Manchester Active Aero shorts. Sportful's Bodyfit Pros also reviewed very positively, at a fiver less than these Clubs. That said, you can pay more like £200 if you've a mind to...

> Buyer's Guide: 22 of the best cycling bib shorts

All in, these are a great pair of shorts for mid-season riding, provided you're happy with the leg length – and the price tag.

Verdict

A great pair of shorts better suited to mid-season riding than full-on summer, if a bit pricey

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Chapeau Club Bibshorts

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for

Chapeau says, "The Club bib-shorts are for the all rounder who demands comfort and quality in every ride. Designed to withstand the rigours of daily use."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Uses Topazio fabric, which has less elasticity than regular Lycra to hold tired leg muscles more firmly and reduce fatigue

Zig-zag stitching around the pad to allow flexibility

Reflective logo and panels

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The shorts appear very well made and have survived a few washes on 30 degrees with no issues.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

The pad is nicely constructed with varying levels of density/thickness. The material around the leg, crotch and backside is quite thick and so not the best for rides in the peak of summer – but a good mid-season option.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

All looking good after a few weeks of wearing and washing.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

On my long legs, the shorts feel like they come up just too short – but I do prefer quite long shorts. The pad fits very well.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

I wear either small or medium in bib shorts, and the size small I tested fitted me okay in terms of circumference and 'volume', but the legs do feel a touch short, though that's personal preference so I won't mark them down on that.

Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

I'd say these are on the expensive side, but if the fit and material weight work for you, they're worth it because the pad is excellent. The niggles I had are down to preference rather than a fault with the product. Indeed, when reviewed previously, Stu Kerton had no gripes at all with them – but they were 20 quid less then.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

The shorts appear very well made and have survived a few washes on 30 degrees with no issues.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Reasonably well, though I wouldn't want to wear them on a very hot ride.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The pad is very comfortable, nicely constructed and designed, and there is a quality feel to the product. Also the branding and colours are quite neutral and so easy to match with other kit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The legs felt a tiny bit short on me, though going up a size might sort that. Try before you buy...

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I'd prefer a longer leg.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The shorts are excellent performers, with a very comfy pad. While the material feels of a good quality, it's a little thick, so is better for mid-season riding. Also, if you're of long leg, they may size up a bit short for you. These minor niggles combined with the hike in price from two years ago hold the shorts back from the lofty peaks of their previous 9/10 score.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 6ft 1in  Weight: 61kg

I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix  My best bike is: Giant TCR

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding