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Northwave Sonic bib shorts



Performance and quality on par with the price tag bolstered by Italian styling

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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If you fancy a little bit of Italian flair without the associated price tag Northwave's Sonic collection could be just what you are after. As part of the Sport range they are aimed at the middle of the market in both price and performance yet still manage to look the business.

The main shorts are manufactured from Response fabric which Northwave describe as a bi-elastic material that is soft to the touch. It's got plenty of stretch in it so moves well with the body as you pedal and shift in the saddle although it does lack some of the second skin snug feel you get with more expensive shorts.

Being part of the Sport range, which is aimed at the more recreational rider, the cut is relaxed especially round the waist, these aren't as contoured as a pair of race shorts. The straps are plenty long enough for them to be comfortable when walking off the bike too. Size wise Northwaves do always come in a good size bigger than most European clothing, basically if you take a large in DHB or Altura say, you'll be a large in Northwave stuff.

The SRM-13 pad is made from an antibacterial foam with the raised padded sections at 11mm thick. There are some channels to aid perineal relief and on the whole it's pretty comfortable. Its thin size means you don't get any bunching of the pad and although Northwave state a ride time of one to three hours I didn't find an issue with going longer.

There is a whole range of Sonic kit with long sleeve and short sleeve jerseys, gilets and so on, so you can get some decent colour coordination going on. These bibshorts come in plain black or black with fluoro orange, fluoro green, red or white highlights though the strap mesh is white on all models. The 4XL size will fit up to a 42in waist so finding a pair to fit shouldn't be a problem.

Overall the Sonic bibshorts are really good all rounders and the £60 asking price is bang on for the quality of construction and fit. The pad isn't as comfortable as some of the multi density ones available but it does a good job taking the shock out of the roads and I didn't suffer from any chafing or rubbing over the test period. Northwave have really upped their game on the styling front over the last couple of seasons and the Sonic range does look smart, especially in the white coloured stuff we've tested.


Performance and quality on par with the price tag bolstered by Italian styling.

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Make and model: Northwave Sonic Bibshorts

Size tested: Medium, Black

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The Sonics are from Northwave's Sport range for the recreational rider. The cut is a little more relaxed and you get a pretty basic pad but they do perform well and are both comfortable and well built.

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




ELASTIC: Silicon

REFLEX INSERTS: Reflective logo on back + reflective flags

SIZES: Small - 4XL

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

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

They work well at the mid level performance that they are designed for.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The styling.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The pad isn't as comfortable as variable density options.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? No, but purely because I prefer a closer fit.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 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,


With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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