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Verdict: 
Likeable bib shorts with a high quality build, but don't excel given the price tag
Weight: 
184g

Shimano's Evolve bib shorts are a solid pair of bibs, although for me they didn't do enough to justify their price tag given the competition.

  • Pros: Well made, useful hidden pocket
  • Cons: Expensive, pad positioning not quite right

These bib shorts are 'engineered to ride further and faster with features to maximize vibration absorption, breathability, and comfort', says Shimano. They're nicely put together, too. The fabric (they're available in this navy blue and also black) is quite thick and feels good against the skin, as do the flat and seamless shoulder straps.

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There's some reflective detailing on the legs, and a discreet little pocket on one leg big enough for a gel or two. It's so discreet that I didn't even notice it until I'd read the description of the shorts on the Shimano website, so it's not obvious if you don't need it.

shimano_evolve_bib_shorts.jpg

The reflective material on the legs means that they're not quite as elastic as some, so you won't want to size up too much or they might feel a bit flappy. I found that they stayed in place just fine though.

shimano_evolve_bib_shorts_-_reflective_cuff.jpg

Shimano has developed its own Evolve chamois for these bibs, which is based on its top-end S-Phyre chamois but with 'increased vibration absorption and all-day comfort during Gran Fondos and extended hours in the saddle'. So Shimano is aiming these bibs at longer distances, and the material comfort and build quality are there for longer rides.

shimano_evolve_bib_shorts_-_pad.jpg

The chamois I found comfortable enough, but for me it was positioned a bit far back, so my sit bones weren't directly over the thickest bit when in a road riding position (although another tester who tried them found the pad too far forward). I knocked out a few long rides wearing them, and found them to be good for 4-5 hours in the saddle.

shimano_evolve_bib_shorts_-_rear.jpg

The front panel is quite high and the material feels gently compressive, which gives you the feeling of a bit of core support when you're out on a long one. Should nature call, they're not the easiest for comfort breaks thanks to the high front, but they're not too bad.

shimano_evolve_bib_shorts_-_straps_front.jpg

At £149 RRP these are fairly expensive shorts, and for me they're not doing enough to justify that outlay. In terms of overall comfort I didn't find them as comfortable as the dhb Aeron Speed bibs I recently tested, and those are 80 quid. My current favourite long-distance bibs are either the Le Col HC shorts, which are reassuringly expensive at £180 but great as the hours tick by into epic territory, or the £140 Castelli Free Aero Race bibs (https://road.cc/content/review/241540-castelli-free-aero-race-bibshort) with the excellent Progetto X2 pad.

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

The dhb shorts are very nearly as comfortable as either, though, and if I was going to recommend a pair of shorts for endurance riding, they'd get the vote right now purely on value.

The Evolve bib shorts have some good features – the hidden pocket is a nice touch, the straps are comfy and they're very well made – but overall they're decent at this price, rather than great.

Verdict

Likeable bib shorts with a high quality build, but don't excel given the price tag

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano Evolve Bib Shorts

Size tested: XL

Tell us what the product is for

Shimano says:

Engineered to ride further and faster with features to maximize vibration absorption, breathability, and comfort

New evolve chamois for comfort, vibration damping, and moisture management on extended rides. Integrated supplement storage pocket on the leg. Discreet reflectivity elements on lower legs for low-light visibility. Soft and comfortable fabric provides quality feel and performance. Open-mesh bib fabric with dimple surface quickly wicks moisture. Bonded seam construction for added comfort and clean look.

The Evolve Chamois design is based on Shimano's benchmark S-PHYRE Chamois, but is engineered for increased vibration absorption and all-day comfort during Gran Fondos and extended hours in the saddle.

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

Shimano lists these features:

Material

main fabric: 59% polyamide, 41% elastane

details: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very nicely made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

They're good. But overall, not £150 good.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Material is thick, they wash well.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

Good overall, though legs aren't as stretchy due to reflective coating.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

I had XL bibs, they fitted fine.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

Nice weighty fabric.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
6/10

Good, but pad isn't quite right position-wise and they're not as comfy as others I've tried over longer distances.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

At £150 they feel a bit overpriced, to be honest.

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

Washed at 40° several times, no issues at all.

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

They're decent shorts but not exceptional.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfy fabric, hidden pocket works well.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price, pad doesn't feel quite right.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Nearer the top of the market than the bottom. Comparing comfort like for like, you can get comfier shorts for not much more than half the price of these, and they're not as good as the Castelli Free Aero Race bibs at about the same money.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall performance is decent for the money rather than good.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.