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The Q36.5 Salopette Wolf Bib Shorts are a comfortable pair of thermal shorts with a great pad. They are more suited for spring and autumn conditions rather than deep-winter days, and while expensive, they compare well against other similar shorts.
The recommended temperature for the Salopettes is between 5°C and 15°C – and I'd agree with Q36.5's assessment. I wore these for rides where temperatures ranged from just below freezing to around 10°C. I wore them on a four-hour ride where it never got above 2°C and found them to be just about warm enough, apart from on a few long descents.
I've tested a few pairs of thermal shorts recently and these aren't as warm as the others, and I feel they are more suited to spring and autumn riding rather than deep-winter journeys. If it was less than around 10°C I'd pair them with knee or leg warmers.
With the recent cold weather I never had the chance to test these anywhere near 15°C, but on a few race-pace efforts they felt breathable.
The pad is supplied by the chamois specialist Elastic Interface and it is excellent. I wore these on a few four-hour rides in some very variable conditions and always found the pad comfortable.
The same was also true on longer turbo sessions, where the pad felt breathable as well as comfortable.
I tested these in a medium. I was in the middle of the size guide for medium and I found them an ideal fit, so I'd recommend going for your usual size with these shorts.
The shorts come in seven sizes from XS to 3XL so you should be able to find a size that suits you.
In addition to seven sizes, you also have three colours from which to choose: green, the navy I tested and black, which would be much easier for pairing with most knee or leg warmers.
The Salopettes are designed to offer a close fit, with Q36.5 scoring them 4/5 for muscle support. I found the fit excellent, the compression was noticeable at high intensities and I appreciated it during some Zwift racing. And having worn these on rides over four hours in length in some pretty miserable winter riding conditions, I was relieved that these felt comfortable throughout.
The leg length is a good bit above the knee, which is fairly short for thermal shorts. Although, given the very cold weather of November and December I wore these with knee or leg warmers the majority of the time.
The legs are kept in place with some light grippers, which worked well, and I never had any issues with them riding up.
I got on very well with the flat, wide straps, which meet at the back where they merge into a mesh lower-back section.
They provided good support with no build-up of uncomfortable pressure points regardless of the length of the ride.
As you'd expect from thermal shorts the front comes up fairly high, however, the material still has enough stretch to allow for a mid-ride comfort break.
The shorts are made from 62% polyamide, 35% elastane, 2% silver and 1% carbon fibre – and it's fair to say I think this is the first piece of cycling kit I've worn that contains silver. I presume this was chosen for the precious metal's anti-bacterial properties rather than any bling element!
In addition to keeping bacteria at bay, the shorts also offer a degree of water-repellence, the material keeping me dry during long rides in light rain. But as with all shorts, they won't protect you in a full-on downpour.
The Italian-made shorts appear to be made to a very high standard, and after numerous rides and washes they have come up looking as good as new.
At £209 there's no doubt that the Salopettes are at the top end of shorts we have tested.
I recently tested and liked the Universal Colours Chroma Thermal Merino Plus Bib Shorts, which are priced at £160.
There are also some much less expensive cheaper winter shorts on the market, such as the Van Rysel RCR500 Super Roubaix Winter Bib Shorts from Decathlon that received a positive review from Stu and which look a bargain at just £54.99.
The Q36.5 Salopette Wolf bib shorts are a mid-weight pair of thermal shorts, more suited to spring and autumn rides than genuine deep-winter days. Their Elastic Interface pad and compressive fit make them ideal for long days in the saddle.
But they are very expensive, and while I appreciated their qualityand enjoyed wearing them, there are some good alternatives available at more affordable prices.
Expensive but they have a great fit, an excellent pad and are suitable for spring and autumn riding.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Q36.5 Salopette Wolf 2.0 Bib Shorts Navy
Size tested: 006.9 M
Tell us what the product is for
"Pros thermal bib-short
It will keep you warm anywhere between 5-15° C, it will protect you from the rain, it weighs 180 g.
Chamois powered by Elastic Interface® CyTech Italy"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"The Salopette Wolf 2.0 is an upgraded, augmented version with a completely new proprietary pattern to increase comfort during the ride. We've also designed a new construction of the brace straps. We have introduced our anti-stress panel in the front of the crotch area resulting in less pressure and increased mobility.
The Salopette is becoming more and more popular on winter rides and is sending the traditional three-quarter bib tights into retirement.
For highly competitive riders any season except racing season remains the season of anticipation. A constant feed of photos of pros training in the Canary Islands, Mallorca or Qatar promote the false sensation that the racing period is just around the corner. The pros are riding in shorts and knee or leg warmers. At the café you proclaim 'io sono corridore, la calzamaglia mica la indosso'. Your winter tights provide you with a tactile sensation light years away from the 'race feel' of your favourite bib shorts (for a next-generation leg-weapon pair of winter tights please see our Long Salopette). So you insist on wearing bibs and leg warmers to the very limit of thermal comfort, 7°, 6°, 5°c, just to keep the sense of anticipation high, to maintain that race-ready look...
By exploiting the technological limits of high-density weaving we are to produce a highly compact outer face for the fabric that replicates the windblocking capabilities of a 2-layer shell fabric, without the use of a membrane, thus maintaining the exceptional natural breathability of the weave. This extremely compact surface, beyond producing a startlingly low volume fabric, also greatly increases the effectiveness of the water-repellency treatment rendering it far more windproof than a regular knitted cycling fabric with DWR treatment. The inner face of the fabric is instead fleeced for thermal protection.
This new pad, the Super Moulded (SM), an extremely high-performing chamois designed for a solid and substantial feel and all-round riding support: from more upright 'amateur rider' and climbing positions to the 'road riding' position which places pressure on the perineal area all the way to the extreme angles of a Time Trial position.
Chamois powered by Elastic Interface® CyTech Italy"
These are undeniably expensive – but they are very good and there are similar shorts in this sort of price range.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I washed them at 30°C with other cycling kit without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They did a good job of keeping me warm on mild winter days, they were a great fit and I found them comfortable on long rides.
However, these aren't a replacement for full tights if you ride in deep-winter conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit and they were comfortable on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The high price tag.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's no getting away from the fact that these are some of the most expensive shorts we have tested – even more expensive than Assos's highly rated Millie GTS Spring/Fall C2 Shorts, which are £180, and the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Shorts S9 which are £200.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe – although I'd struggle to justify the price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe – price would be the issue.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, these are very good shorts. The fit is great, the pad is comfortable and they are very well made. They aren't the warmest thermal shorts out there but they are suitable for spring/autumn days.
And while that price tag is undoubtedly high, they do at least go a long way to justifying it.
About the tester
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