These Louis Garneau Mondo Evo shorts might not be cheap but they put in a high-level performance to justify their price tag.
One of the best features of these shorts is that they feel so supportive. Obviously, fit is going to vary from person to person but these are cut to be compressive and the various fabrics hold your muscles in place a little more firmly than usual. Whether compression clothing improves your performance is a whole debate in itself but I like the stable feel these provide. The 10-panel construction provides an excellent fit and all the seams are flat-lock stitched to avoid any pressure points.
The legs look pretty heavy duty and they are fairly abrasion-resistant (as shorts fabrics go) which gave me the impression that these would lack breathability, but the opposite is true. Dimples in most areas of the fabric let lots of cool air in and allow moisture to escape; no worries at all on that front even in hot summer weather.
There are no silicone grippers inside the bands around the bottom of the legs but there's no need for them; the hems stay in place fine without. The legs are a generous length, reaching down almost to the knees on me. They're narrower than most at the bottom though (17cm diameter on our large size), so you might want to try before you buy if you've got particularly chunky thighs.
Louis Garneau's 4Motion pad is a good'un, varying in depth from 3mm around the edges to 10mm underneath your sit bones. The back end is split so the two sides can move independently as you pedal and a 7mm channel down the middle relieves pressure there and helps with breathability.
Speaking of breathability, the pad is perforated and you get four little vents towards the front – don't worry: the holes are though the pad, not through the shorts. It's difficult to say how much difference all this makes but I didn't experience any overheating in these shorts and the antibacterial surface layer certainly moves moisture well.
In terms of cushioning, the pad is really effective. It provides plenty of protection from bumps and vibration without being too bulky – you get the deep padding where you need it, not where you don't. There's no in-seam underneath the pad either, which helps a little. I've racked up plenty of high-mileage rides in these and have felt great throughout.
The bib uppers, like a small panel on the outside of each leg, are made from Carbon-X Mesh. The fabric offers pretty good ventilation– although it doesn't feel as breathable as some lighter weight meshes – and it has a water-repellent treatment and dries out fast if it does get damp.
There's a little pocket in the bib section too that'll take a phone or iPod. It sits high up though, just underneath your shoulder blades, so it's not very accessible once your jersey is over the top.
You get good night visibility courtesy of reflective print on the back of each leg and those white bands sections stand out in gloomy conditions too.
These are also available in a non-bib version at £109.99.
Well-made supportive shorts that are comfortable whether you're on mile one or 100.
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Make and model: Louis Garneau Mondo Evo bib shorts
Size tested: Large
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?
Louis Garneau say:
"The Mondo Bibs have Ceratek side panels for abrasion resistance. Lycra Power panels for muscle support, and Carbon-X Mesh bibs are breathable and comfortable. Aero Lazer band at legs is aerodynamic and has a second-skin feel.
1 back pocket
Aero Lazer band at thighs
Back and bottom reflective logos
They're shorts for Lycra types with a pad that's suitable for getting in the big miles.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
This is what Louis Garneau say about the Ceratek fabric:
"Print layer with ceramic particles on the fabric reinforces and protects the material from abrasion.
Spandex content enhances stretch properties and recovers its shape like no other fiber.
This fabric has a UPF/SPF 50.
Stretchy knit: 81% nylon, 19% spandex
200 g/m2, 5.9 oz/sq yd
Like all knits, it is recommended to avoid abrasive materials and surfaces."
The fabrics are very good and the seat pad is excellent.
The main fabric is pretty tough as stretchy fabrics go. The iron-on reflective logos on the hip and butt don't stretch quite as much as the fabric they're attached to so they've become slightly dog-eared.
Excellent comfort both through the seat pad and the shorts themselves.
I'd struggle to give any shorts costing this much any more than a 6 for value - although they are pro-level and you might argue that they're worth a 7.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really strong performance. Very comfortable
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The supportive fabric/fit. I got on well with the seat pad too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Iron on logos always look tatty and/or peel off sooner or later.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yeah. Not entirely sure about the looks but a really good performance
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.