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review

Le Col Pro Bib Shorts 2020

9
£150.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Great pair of racing shorts with a businesslike chamois and an elegant cut – good quality and worth the investment
Supremely comfortable pad
High quality construction
Breathable
Leg length
Nothing really – mesh bib section could start a little lower perhaps
Weight: 
207g
Contact: 

The Le Col Pro bib shorts are a high-quality garment designed for racing with a long, sleek cut and a super-comfortable chamois.

Mat tested the previous version of Le Col's Pro bib shorts in 2018 and called the Dolomiti Pro Gel pad 'supremely comfortable.' While Le Col has updated the design of the shorts and the bib section, the British brand has sensibly not fixed what ain't broke and has kept the same pad – and 'supremely comfortable' is how I would describe it too.

> Buy these online here

Of course the pad is bound to place itself slightly differently depending on the individual anatomy of the wearer, and I found that it was at its best in an aggressive position and not quite so plush-feeling for sitting up on the back of the saddle. You can see from the photos that it's tucked underneath directly on the sit bones rather than behind them. This is as it should be for shorts designed for racing.

2020 Le Col Pro Bibshorts - chamois.jpg

The legs are cut very long, with cuffs wider than the previous version's, which made me happy. I have longish femurs for my height, meaning many bib shorts either come up hotpants-short on me, or I have to rely on very sticky silicone grippers and/or sweat to keep the legs down. It's not me in the photo, by the way.

2020 Le Col Pro Bibshorts - back detail.jpg

With the legs a decent length, grippers that are as grippy as tub tape are not necessary any more. I found that when I pedalled, the Le Col shorts settled into the perfect position above the kneecap. Having said that, there is a silicone hexagon pattern inside the cuffs that would do a great job if if it was called upon.

The Lycra reaches higher over the waist than in many shorts – again, something that gives them away as racing shorts to be worn with a short jersey. Here comes my only criticism: I found them a bit sweaty on the lower back because of this and would have preferred the mesh to start a bit lower down. However, in the shorts' defence, I have been wearing the Le Col Sport jersey with them, which sits slightly lower than a pure race jersey, creating more of an overlap that results in a double layer.

2020 Le Col Pro Bibshorts - back.jpg

The Lycra itself is breathable, as polyamide is, but there are lighter-weight shorts for summer riding. However, as Le Col says, these shorts are versatile in a wide temperature range. I would say they could be worn with leg warmers in late autumn and early spring.

The bib straps are nice and wide, looping over the shoulders and supporting the shorts almost unfelt, and the perforated mesh they're made from is cool and breathable.

You can tell instantly that these are high-quality bib shorts, and this is underlined by the details. An embroidered logo rather than one that peels off or cracks after a few washes is one of these. The smart flatlocked stitching is another, outlining the panels elegantly.

Value and conclusion

There are many bib shorts costing a lot less than these but also many from other premium brands costing more – like the Assos Equipe RS at £200 and the Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II at £170.

> Buyer’s Guide: 32 of the best cycling bib shorts

With the Le Col Pros you're paying for top quality, heavy duty, bona fide pro-level racing shorts from a British brand with a lot of well-deserved cachet that knows what it's doing.

Verdict

Great pair of racing shorts with a businesslike chamois and an elegant cut – good quality and worth the investment

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: Le Col Pro Bib Shorts 2020

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Le Col says:

"Le Col's fastest bib shorts, the Pro Bib Shorts have been developed and proven at the highest level. Using a lycra sport fibre for a metered, supportive fit, these shorts are breathable and versatile in wide temperature ranges.

"Cut for racing, these shorts offer an aerodynamic profile, whilst mesh bib straps and low-key blackout silicone leg grippers hold them steadfastly in place.

"Using the Pro Dolomiti Chamois for a trim outline and a core comfort, this thinner pad has a highly effective silicone treatment, providing comfort and removing excess bulk. Finished with embroidered logos, these shorts are for the fastest rides going."

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

From Le Col's website:

80% Polyamide

20% Elastane

Lycra Sport Fibre

Mesh bib straps

Dolomiti Pro Gel Chamois

Flat locked seams

Silicon leg gripper

Reflective tabs

Embroidered Le Col logo

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very nicely constructed and neatly stitched.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

A genuine pair of racing shorts, perfect for fast, aggressive riding.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Looking perfect after a month of washes.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

I loved the long legs and the smooth shape.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

The medium fitted me (178cm, 68kg) perfectly.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

They're not the lightest but they're aimed at year-round riding.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Very comfortable indeed.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

For a great-quality, well-designed pair of shorts from a premium brand like Le Col, which has a lot of kudos, £150 is a fair price. It's not cheap, but you can pay a lot more.

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

No problems at all with washing – they still look new.

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

For fast, aggressive riding in a low position the Le Cols have to be some of the best shorts out there.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Everything has a really high-quality feel about it, from the very supportive gel pad to the embroidered logo. I loved the cut with the long legs that never needed pulling back down and the shorts just look pro – the clue is in the name.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

There was nothing I particularly disliked, but I did discovered that because of the high Lycra waist you stay cooler in that area if you wear a shorter jersey.

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

Le Col positions itself at the top end of the market alongside the likes of Assos and Rapha. The high-end shorts from those brands are more expensive, like the Assos Equipe RS at £200 and the Rapha Classic Bib Shorts II at £170. Adam really liked the £189.99 Pearl Izumi Pro bibs. The Le Cols cost the same as the excellent Castelli Free Race Aero shorts, which have gone up to £150 since our 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

Le Col has got everything right with the Pro bib shorts. Lots of things are called 'pro' but few are actually deserving of the name. It's only when you wear a pair of shorts like this that you realise how wrong some manufacturers have got it with theirs. The price is competitive too. I would have given them a perfect 10 and it might be nitpicky not to, but I'd like a little less Lycra and a little more mesh in the waist section at the jersey/shorts overlap. But in the main, a superb pair of shorts.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 178cm  Weight: 68kg

I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu  My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic

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, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem

Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.

As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.

He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).

 

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