Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts

8
£124.95

VERDICT:

8
10
A comfortable pad and well-positioned panels make these ideal for the transition to the off-season
Good weather resistance
Membrane doesn't restrict movement
Comfortable Elastic Interface pad
Sit a bit low at the front
Weight: 
219g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

GripGrab's Aquarepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts are designed for riding through the transition from autumn to winter, or for the end of the cold months as we enter spring. With various weatherproof panels and a comfortable chamois, they're ideal for when the weather takes a turn, either on their own or as part of a layering system.

For more ideas on the best kit for these changeable days, check out our guide to what to wear for autumn cycling.

The biggest issue I find the moment a membrane is added to a pair of bib shorts or bib tights is that you lose a fair amount of the natural stretch afforded by just the Lycra-like fabric alone, which means movement can feel restricted, and they can also feel tight around the legs if your thighs are on the large side.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

GripGrab has only used waterproof fabric on certain sections, though: the front panels that run around the side, and the lower back – areas likely to be exposed to rain or road spray. This allows the rest of the shorts to stretch, giving a better all-round fit, which doesn't feel all that restrictive. GripGrab does actually say the waterproof panels also have four-way stretch, and I certainly found these much more comfortable than a lot of shorts of this style.

In other areas that are a bit more sheltered, like the inside of the thighs and around the waist, you get the polyester/elastane material backed with a fleece fabric to keep you warm.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - cuff back.jpg

The three-layer softshell panels have a fully waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane sandwiched in the middle, and their protection is impressive, with heavy rain struggling to get through for around an hour or so, and holding out much longer in lighter drizzle. It's hard to gauge exactly, as water can enter through the non-waterproof panels, although that is slowed by the fact that the entire garment also has a PFC-free DWR treatment – depending on wind direction, spray from passing traffic and so on.

You'll certainly stay drier than wearing standard shorts, but they aren't infallible. Even when wet, though, they do keep you warm.

With minimal seams they are also very comfortable, and there's plenty of length in the legs, which are held in place by grippers that aren't too compressive.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

The straps have plenty of stretch to give a snug fit on your upper body, and are wide, too, which means no pressure points, while a rear mesh section completely covers your back.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - back.jpg

The only thing I would like to see is a little more height on the front section, to cover your stomach more when riding in cool conditions.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - straps front.jpg

Inside you get a chamois from Elastic Interface, well known for supplying pads to many clothing manufacturers, and on the whole I tend to get on with them very well. This Liege HP model has two different densities of padding in a shape to suit your saddle, with a central channel for pressure relief.

2023 GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

The padding is thicker than some, but it is designed for long distance riding where a slightly more upright position and therefore more weight on the saddle is likely.

Size-wise, GripGrab's chart is honest and realistic, so just take a look at that before buying, and as for quality I can find no faults with these shorts at all.

At £124.95 I wouldn't expect to, mind.

That said, Stolen Goat sells its Orkaan Weather-Resistant Bib Shorts for just 5p more, £125, and they too are water resistant and come with a fleece lining for warmth. We haven't reviewed them but having worn much of Stolen Goat's winter kit I find the quality and fit to be very good.

And the GripGrabs are certainly well priced against some of the competition, like Gore's Transition bib shorts. They are water resistant and windproof, and Steve was generally impressed even though they have a few niggles, but they cost £169.99.

Conclusion

The GripGrab Aquarepels are a quality pair of bib shorts with well-positioned panels to keep the worst of the weather out, without restricting movement; GripGrab has created a good balance here. It has also gone for a top-notch pad suitable for those slower, longer off-season rides.

Verdict

A comfortable pad and well-positioned panels make these ideal for the transition to the off-season

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

GripGrab says, "As summer fades, your summer cycling bib shorts become less optimal legwear: designed to offer maximum breathability, they will do little to shield your leg muscles and lower body from the arrival of cold and wet conditions. The GripGrab AquaRepel Water-Resistant Bib Shorts are your solution – a pair of comfortable padded bib shorts that offer waterproof and windproof protection, to keep you riding in comfort through the transition seasons and into winter.

These bib shorts utilise the same high-stretch softshell fabric as the GripGrab AquaRepel Leg Warmers: this three-layer fabric features a 100% waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane to shield your legs from cold weather and rear wheel spray. The protective fabric has a four-way stretch profile to allow for a close and comfortable fit, with maximum freedom of movement.

On areas not using the fully waterproof membrane fabric, such as the underside of the legs and waist, a soft brushed fleece fabric is used to offer added breathability and further body-mapping stretch. This fleece fabric, as with the other fabrics on the shorts, is treated with a PFC-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment – so it too effectively shrugs of rain showers and spray.

The seatpad used in the AquaRepel Bib Shorts is from Italian market-leader Elastic Interface. The LIÈGE HP seatpad guarantees superior comfort during long distance rides thanks to the very high-density foam inserts. These are strategically positioned to offer pressure relief on the pelvic track, seat bones and perinea. The perfect combination of perforated foams of different densities ensures exceptional breathability and maximum freedom of movement.

Reflective details have been added to the bib shorts to help enhance your road presence in low light conditions, while silicone grippers on the leg hems and flatlock seams ensure the bib shorts stay firmly and comfortably in place, worn with or without leg warmers.

Designed in Denmark for the unpredictable Scandinavian autumn and winter, these bib shorts will keep you warm, comfortable and protected from the elements as you clock up those winter rides."

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

GripGrab lists:

* Waterproof and breathable

* High stretch and secure fit

* Elastic Interface seatpad

* Insulating fleece inserts

* PFC-free DWR coating

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

The sizing is fairly typical, and true to GripGrab's chart.

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

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

No issues with washing after wet and muddy rides, and the DWR coating looks to be holding up well.

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

Highly resistant to rain and road spray.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Waterproof panels don't restrict movement like some can.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I prefer a higher stomach section to ward off draughts.

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

These are well priced, pretty much the same as those from Stolen Goat, and much cheaper than Gore's option 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

They're very good. They're well made and competitively priced, but the main thing that makes them score 8 is the fact that GripGrab has managed to add the waterproofing without affecting overall movement and comfort.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

2 comments

Avatar
lbalc | 2 months ago
0 likes

This seems like a really good idea for a bib short. The only other brand I am aware of selling something similar is Ale with their Clima Winter bib shorts. They have thermo taped seams to add to the waterproofing, and appear to have no thermo/fleece and fully windproof 3L laminate all around. Too often thermo bib shorts combined with thermo leg warmers with DWR do little to really keep the rain and wind at bay. So having a windproof front or fully windproof 3L laminte is a great idea. There are a number of bib tights out there that have this- but they are often thermal backed as well- so fit the coldest of weather. Like Gore's C3 Windstopper bib tights- for me -3 to +6°C works well in these. But for that range of 6-10°C I use Gore Windstopper leg warmers that are not thermo/fleece backed (and they are so long they cover my entire legs) and thermal bib shorts. Together they keep out a fair bit rain and more importantly wind, so when you're wet they stay warm. I have wanted to get a windproof/waterproof pair of bibs to match the Gore leg warmers for ages. Gore used to may the Oxygen/Classic Windstopper bibs which would have been perfect: should have got them. Will keep an eye for these Gripgrab's and Ale's on sale.

Avatar
check12 replied to lbalc | 2 months ago
0 likes

Castelli do nano flex bib shorts which are a little longer and warmer as water resistant, they used to be called omloop they might have changed names again, pair with galibier leg warmers and you're good to go to 4c

Latest Comments