The Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Bib Shorts are optimised to keep you cool and locked on your indoor training goals. With a trainer-specific pad and more holes than a Swiss cheese warehouse, these are your best bet to hit those lofty targets.
Le Col's partnership with Wahoo emphasises the importance to the cycling industry and its customers of indoor training, now there's a virus about and riding bikes outside is hard to impossible for many. We've had clothing tailored to specific seasons and weather types forever – now is the time for indoor training gear to get specific.
If you're going to spend £150 on a pair of shorts for riding maybe four or five hours a week, you want them to be both comfortable and performance-orientated – and if/when you can visit a gym or spin class, you want them to look good too. In the Indoor Training Bib Shorts Le Col has nailed every need.
The shorts are made from a lightweight and very stretchy fabric, which is laser-cut with thousands of holes down the side of the hip, legs and around the torso. The fabric with the pad attached is not cut with holes for, I imagine, structural and modesty reasons. When worn, the skin underneath isn't really recognisable as skin – could more be simply small dots of colour. Anyway, modesty is not offended in the least – if you're happy to be in a spin class with a bunch of strangers or friends, you're used to Lycra and all that comes with the shared-workout game.
The pad is a multi-density foam with more emphasis on padding around the front, more likely to be used in the static on-the-saddle-nose positions encountered in indoor training. You generally don't have any reason to be out of the saddle unless a drill specifically calls for it, and you really want to keep your sit bones anchored, so it's important the pad doesn't cause you discomfort which affects focus.
The leg grippers are plenty colourful and wide, and don't move an inch. The cut in the legs is reasonably long, something those with shorter legs or preferring a shorter cut might factor into sizing.
Over a few months of thrice-weekly use I couldn't find any fault with the Indoor Training shorts. Le Col advertises the seams as flatlocked, but that's only around the chamois and leg gripper joint. That said, I didn't notice a hint of discomfort, and had you asked I'd have thought they were all flatlocked. Seeing how these are designed to be worn only for short periods of time between washes, maybe it's a non-issue for even the most sensitive of epidermis.
I'm a big fan of getting out of the saddle every 10 minutes or so, to allow circulation and to stretch a bit. On Britain's 'roads' that's pretty much a moot point as there are few areas where council underfunding doesn't require a vibration-removing slalom of pothole minimisation more often. But indoors it's a different kettle of muscular numbness – focus on hitting and holding power numbers is often at the expense of good posture and certainly reminders to stand every now and then. What Le Col has done is built a pair of shorts where – for me anyway – it didn't matter. When I remembered to remember, I couldn't remember the last time I remembered to stand, if you get my point. Suffice to say, over sessions from 60-90 minutes, from 70% of FTP aerobic-base snoozefests to rip-'em-off-and-beat-you-with-the-soggy-ends leg-killing nightmares, the issue of whether the pad or indeed the whole garment was 'comfortable' simply did not arise. Which is exactly the hallmark of a great pair of shorts.
Regarding the cooling aspect, the wee holes certainly worked their magic – there was never a sensation of uncomfortable heat build-up in either of the two large critical cycling muscle groups, nor was there a sensation of dampness caused by unwicked sweat.
The obvious match for the Indoor Training bibs is the Indoor Training Jersey. Together they make for a very snazzy outfit, and as we all know image is worth an extra 4.75W on any given day you pass a mirror on the way to your bike. Both top and shorts are available either in black or the Collective Edition, as tested.
The consumer seems a bit spoilt for choice right now regarding indoor-specific bib shorts, with offerings from Madison, dhb and Lusso around the £50-£60 mark, all the way up to Castelli's Insider shorts at £110. So at £150 Le Col's throwing down a pretty hefty marker that its offerings are a cut or two above the rest.
While others claim to be made of lightweight fabrics, Le Col seems to be the only brand to do actual physical cutouts in the fabric to aid ventilation. I have a few pairs of summer-weight bibs made from pretty darn thin fabric, which were my go-to turbo shorts until the Le Cols arrived for review. As with the Le Col Training jersey that matches the shorts, you don't know how warm even a summer 'climbers jersey' is until you compare it to the Le Col alternative. There's a definite advantage, and as I mention in the matching jersey review, knowing that as much as feeling it is a genuine boost to your mood when things get dark towards the end of a session. And let's face it – if you're on a turbo to get fitter, if things aren't getting dark then you need to ramp your target FTP some.
All in all, the benefit of a turbo-specific pad, the cooling effect of the laser-cut holes, and the great fit/looks all add up to a premium indoor-specific product that delivers where needed most and doesn't disappoint anywhere that I can tell.
Comfortable and cool, great-looking pair of indoor-specific bib shorts for all-out workouts
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col x Wahoo Indoor Training Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
They're for indoor aficionados who want the best in comfort and cool, with good looks to boot.
Le Col says: "The Le Col x wahoo indoor training bib shorts, deliver all the features you need to focus on the ride. Compared with regular bib shorts, the indoor training optimised bibs offer increased temperature regulation throughout their construction and a pad that offers extra protection in the areas that you most need it when in an indoor training environment.
"Adapted from the lightweight summer pro bib-shorts as used in the WorldTour on the hottest of days, the shorts feature a lightweight fabric with laser-cut incisions in heat-release zones through the thighs that flow into a highly breathable, wicking bib strap to draw sweat away from your body and allow you to focus on your cadence. Riding long periods indoor often means staying seated in the same position, usually on the nose of the saddle.
"The Le Col x wahoo indoor training bib shorts offer increased padding in this area to keep you comfortable on your block sessions, with a multi-density padded foam chamois that actively draws away sweat to keep you drier. The result is a short that offers maximum airflow to keep you cool as you sprint to your indoor goals."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Le Col lists:
Machine Wash at 30°C / 86°F
Do not use fabric conditioner
Close all zippers/velcro fastenings
Dry flat, do not tumble dry
Do not bleach, iron or dry clean
We'd also suggest turning inside out prior to washing and keeping them separate from other items by popping them into a mesh laundry bag
Lightweight Lycra Sport Fibre
Laser-cut incisions on the thighs to maximise ventilation
Fast wicking mesh bib straps
Dolomiti Pro Gel Chamois, optimised for indoor training
Flat locked seams
Silicon leg gripper
Really well assembled, but more flatlock stitching at the price would be nice.
Comfortable for a long time and cool – great.
Early days, but they look really well made, so no concerns.
Great fit – no bunching or riding up anywhere.
Sized really well.
Not superlight, but pretty good. That pad will add some heft, but it's worth it.
Supremely comfy in every way.
There are turbo-specific shorts out there for less than half the price, but not having worn them it's hard to judge how they compare. Going off the reviews, these are a premium product that you're paying a premium for.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Still look great after a few months of near-daily washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well – can't fault them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad. It's comfy for a long, long time.
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?
Somewhat less well than the matching jersey. With a load of turbo-specific shorts for less than half the price, you really are paying a premium here.
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
Unlike the matching Indoor Training jersey, I'm marking the bibs a 4 instead of 4.5 – only because they face stiffer competition in the market at a lower price point.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.