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Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts



Warm thermal shorts with a high-quality pad but the fit won't suit everyone
Comfortable pad
Good price
Very high front
Loose fit in places

At 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.

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The Pearson Stiffen The Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts are a warm pair of shorts with a high-quality Pearson-designed pad, and they're suitable for autumn through to early spring. However, they do have a very high front and I felt the fit was lacking in a few key areas.

> Buy now: Pearson Stiffen The Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts for £59 from Pearson

If you are in the market for bib shorts, why not check out our best bib shorts buyer's guide, or our best winter tights if you prefer to go long.

I tested these shorts in rides where the temperatures ranged from around freezing point to 12°C and I found the fleecy material warm and comfortable.

I have tested a fair few pairs of thermal shorts recently and I reckon the Pearsons are at the warmer end of the spectrum. I'd still pair them with knee or leg warmers once the temperature falls below around 10°C or so, when shorts-and-warmers combo would be good for most winter days.


The PhD shorts have Pearson's own PhD – or 'Pearson House Design' – pad. This is designed for maximum comfort and breathability, and Pearson says it developed the PhD to be 'comfortable for a wide range of riders, based on the results of over ten years of bike fitting experience'.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

It worked well too, and I felt it punched well above its price point, comparable with the pads in some of the much more expensive shorts I've recently tested. I put these to the test on long rides and tough sessions on the turbo, and the pad was comfortable and breathable throughout.


I was bang on Pearson's size guide for a medium and the shorts were in line with the guide. I'd go with your usual size with these shorts, although if you are at the lower end of the size guide, you might want to consider a smaller size.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

The shorts come in five sizes from S to XXL, so if you have the physique of a super-light climber, it's possible you might struggle to find a suitable size.

I tested these in navy, but they are also available in black, which would have the benefit of being easier to pair with most knee or leg warmers.


The fit is more relaxed than other shorts I have tested. There is no notable compression in the legs, and as a result I found them more suitable for easier rides than harder efforts.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - side.jpg

I found the just-above-the-knee leg length ideal – I like thermal shorts to have longer legs and these were spot on.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - cuff.jpg

Lightweight grippers kept the legs in place well, with no movement.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg
2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - back.jpg

The mesh straps are good too, and the shorts have a large mesh area at the back. The straps were comfortable on rides regardless of the length, and with minimal stitching at the front where the straps join the front of the shorts, there was no irritation.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - straps front.jpg

The front of the shorts do come up extremely high, however, a few centimetres over my navel. This made for a quite warm midriff on milder rides, when they were perhaps a little too warm. But while I expected the high front to make comfort breaks trickier, the very stretchy material meant there were no problems here.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - legs front.jpg

The flip side of that is that I think there's actually too much stretch overall, and I didn't find the shorts particularly supportive at keeping things in place, especially when climbing out of the saddle.

The result was that I didn't find these shorts as comfortable as others I have tested recently. It's possible that going a size smaller would have prevented this, but I was a medium on the size guide and wear medium in practically every other brand of shorts.


The shorts have good eco-friendly credentials and are made from 78% recycled nylon and 22% recycled elastane. But the material feels good, rather than having that 'synthetic' feel that some recycled materials can have.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - back detail.jpg

There are a few small logos on the legs and lower back as well as some reflective detailing on the backs of the legs.

2022 Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

I have worn and washed these on numerous rides during testing and the stitching still looks perfect, with no peeling on the logos or reflectives.


At £90 the shorts are at the more affordable end of shorts we've tested, and they are currently on offer at just £59.

Ed gave the £89.99 Gore Wear C3 3/4 Bib Tights a positive write-up,  but he didn't find them ideal for properly cold days. 

There are also cheaper winter shorts on the market, such as the Van Rysel RCR500 Super Roubaix Winter Bib Shorts that Stu liked, and which are attractively priced at just £54.99.

If you are happy to splash a bit more cash, the Universal Colours Chroma Thermal Merino Plus Bib Short is a high-quality pair of shorts that I was a big fan of when I tested them – but they are priced at £160.


The Pearson Stiffen The Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts are warm and have a high-quality pad. But the front of the shorts was too high at the front for my tastes – and the fit too loose in key areas.

However, if you are looking for a relaxed fit then these are good value shorts.


Warm thermal shorts with a high-quality pad but the fit won't suit everyone

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Make and model: Pearson Stiffen the Sinews Thermal Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Pearson says

"For cyclists, Shakespeare's call to arms is essentially a plea to legs, to keep riding no matter how tough the conditions. That's why we created our new black thermal Bib Shorts. Responsibly designed to last for years, they are built around a uniquely adapted Pearson PhD pad. Construction for maximum riding comfort, the pad is based on data gathered during a decade of Pearson bike-fitting expertise. The shorts themselves use a fully recycled thermal fabric, with a slick, matt outer for superior aerodynamics; the inside features a brushed finish for comfort.

The fabric is fractionally heavier than our standard shorts, so keeps out the wind that can penetrate regular Lycra. Cut longer to keep knees and muscles warm, a lightweight gripper pairs seamlessly with our Cold Start leg warmers. A high-cut, thermal waist protects the abdomen and kidney area, while the bib section, also 100% recycled, is made from a breathable, high-wicking mesh. A smooth elastic edge eliminates discomfort."

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

Pearson says

"Exclusive 'ride all day' Pearson House Design ventilating comfort pad.

Thermal aerodynamic external surface and soft-touch internal fabric.

Main fabric: 78% recycled nylon; 22% recycled Lycra.

Mesh bib section: 73% recycled nylon 27% recycled Lycra.

Merrow ACTIVESEAM® technology.

'Pearson House Design' half moon breathable layered pad.

Reflective detailing throughout"

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:

The fit felt loose in places, particularly the front.

Rate the product for sizing:

In line with size guide.

Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:

The fit meant these weren't as comfortable as I'd have liked.

Rate the product for value:

These are reasonably priced, especially at the current sale price on the Pearson website

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

I washed them at 30°C without issue.

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

They did a good job keeping me warm but the loose fit meant they weren't the most comfortable shorts I've tested.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

These were warm and the fleecy material was comfortable.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fit wasn't ideal, and the front was extremely high.

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

These are cheaper than a lot of the thermal shorts that we have tested recently – they are much less expensive than the Assos Millie GTS Spring/Fall C2 and the Universal Colours Chroma Thermal Plus shorts.

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really – I found the fit a bit uncomfortable.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe – if they were looking for a more relaxed fit.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Thanks to their comfortable fleecy fabric the shorts did a good job of keeping me warm – but I found the fit to be a bit loose in some key places.

The front of the shorts is extremely high, which may not be to everyone's tastes.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 178cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Specialized Roubaix  My best bike is: Cervelo S3

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Indoor

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