Alé says these Agonista Plus Bibshorts are ideal for long, hot summer rides, and that description is spot on. They're great in summer heat thanks to a clever mix of fabrics that increases breathability and a very comfortable pad, and though they're expensive they earn it.
The sidepanels on the Agonista Plus' legs is called Air Cell Lycra, and it's more of a mesh style than most. It works well, keeping you noticeably cool as the wind flows over your legs.
The main body is a more standard type of Lycra. It's soft and smooth, so there's no itchiness against the skin, and I like the slightly compressive feel. It keeps the shorts in position no matter what, and is backed up by the large grippers inside the cuffs.
The cut is well contoured for riding – there's little in the way of bunching as you move around or crouch down into the drops.
The wide, flat straps don't apply undue pressure on your shoulders, even though they are quite a snug fit. The straps at the rear are joined by another mesh panel, which also helps with heat and moisture venting.
Alé specs its 8H pad, and it's a great choice. I really like it, especially for long days in the saddle or riding gravel trails. The padding is quite firm but feels very supportive, while it takes out any road buzz and even the knocks and jolts of a really rough surface.
The pad's surface is covered with small dimples which only seem to add to the comfort, and the foam never loses its shape by getting squished flat.
They're sturdily-built on the outside, too – six weeks of use has seen no signs of bobbling or scuffing from rubbing against the saddle surface. They've been through the washing machine countless times without issue as well.
At £160, the Agonista Plus Bibshorts aren't cheap, but they are priced fairly for the quality and performance when compared to the competition. Le Col's Pro bibshorts impressed Simon and cost £150, while dhb's Aeron Lab XC Bib Shorts are £140 and the Chapeau Club 2 Bib Shorts are £139.99.
Then again, the Bioracer Spitfire Bibshorts are extremely well made with an absolutely luxurious pad, but are £84.99. There's no doubt the Agonista Plus are premium shorts with a premium price.
Spend the money though, and you won't be disappointed. The Agonista Plus Bibshorts' pad is great, the cut and fit is perfect whatever position you hold on the bike, and they stay cool and comfortable on the longest, hottest of summer rides.
Great fit, top quality and very impressive comfort – especially as the miles clock up
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Alé Agonista Plus Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Ale says, "Ideal for long, hot summer rides, our Agonista Plus bibshorts will help you rise to the challenge."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reflective details at the back
79% polyamide, 21% elastane
73% polyamide, 27% elastane
94% polyester, 6% elastane
80% polyamide, 20% elastane
Sizing isn't as small as some Italian brands – follow the size guide and you'll be fine.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
30 degree washes are no problem.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great comfort and loads of breathability on hot days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very supportive chamois pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are comparable with many top-end bibs from the likes of Le Col, Rapha and Assos. There are some very good shorts out there for a lot less money, though, such as the Bioracers mentioned in the review.
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 overall score
This is a well designed, well made pair of bibshorts with an excellent pad. The high price is on par for the quality and performance, though much cheaper shorts aren't far behind. These are very good and an eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!