I really wanted to like the MAAP Base bibshorts, having enjoyed wearing the matching Base Long Sleeve Jersey. And I did like them, in most respects. They're beautifully made and look great. Unfortunately, the pad wasn't right for me and at this price that's enough to strike them off my shopping list.
Pads are an enigma. Sometimes the thinnest, meanest looking thing turns out to be comfortable enough to ride all day and sometimes a high-tech gel special can be as much fun as a church pew. The MAAP pad is somewhere in-between, containing two pieces of high-density foam, stitched into the liner material to form a divided saddle shape. MAAP say it's been developed exclusively for them. It's neat and tidy and there's nothing to see that suggests it isn't going to be comfortable.
Over a couple of 30-mile runs it seemed fine, so I chose the MAAP bibshorts for the Velo29 Ripon Sportive in July – 104 miles through the Yorkshire Dales. By 40 miles I was beginning to feel a bit miserable, and by 60 I was glad of the climb over the Buttertubs, simply for the opportunity to stand up. At 80 miles we took an extended break and ate a hearty lunch, after which I felt much better, so I am willing to accept that part of the problem was that I was simply having a bad day. All the same, If I were to spend £155 on a pair of bibshorts, I would think it a reasonable expectation that they would keep me comfortable for longer than, say, my Funkier bibs that retail at a third of that; they didn't.
A week after the event I broke my collarbone and it was turbo-trainer only for me this summer, where I got to test them against pretty much every pair of shorts in my drawer – and the truth was, they were as comfy over an hour as my £10 Aldi specials. It's a puzzle. Even now, back on the road, I squirm around in them after 30 or so miles.
Well, every bum and every saddle is different and perhaps one of you is about to tell us that your MAAP Base Bibs are your favourite, most comfy shorts. I really hope so because in every other respect they are quality kit. The fit and cut is excellent, the sizing just as claimed. Pulling them on, you can feel straight away where the money has been spent. The Nalini 'Interpower' fabric feels cool and smooth on the skin, and wicks very well. It is also treated with 'Cold Black', a technology which reputedly reflects UV radiation to prevent overheating.
They are cool and pleasant to wear with a hugging, stretch quality. This is reinforced by the broad, grippy leg hems. The length is good, finishing just above the knees even on my long shanks (I tested a size and the shoulder straps are broad, long and stretchy for excellent support. The mesh back is well aerated too and provides a comfortable degree of support for your back and shoulders without cutting or restricting. Needless to say, the Italian construction is faultless.
The inclusion of a pocket for your race radio indicates where MAAP are aiming with the Base bibs, as is the idea of doing any long training training rides (a winter thing, surely?) - in shorts . Perhaps I need to harden up a bit. I love the navy blue, by the way; it looks smart with any jersey with a touch of blue in it. MAAP produce them in black, too, which goes, of course, with anything.
Beautifully made, look great, fit like a dream but badly let down by the pad
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road.cc test report
Make and model: MAAP Base Bib Short
Size tested: Large, navy
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?
MAAP says: "Designed for long training days in the saddle, the BASE Bib Short is our most comfortable and premium bib short to date. We have treated the fabric with Cold Black®, Interpower®, and Hygienic Protection to create a highly functional fabric that will continue to perform throughout the life of the short.
The MAAP graphics are done in a reflective transfer for increased visibility in low light or dark conditions.
The chamois, which has been developed exclusively for MAAP, uses a bio-ceramic and anti-bacterial textile on the face, as well as a higher density foam for longer lasting comfort. The hem is a 3.5cm wide jacquard elastic which accommodates varied leg sizes, and the internal band is finished with micro silicone dots which help keep the elastic in place.
The BASE Bib Short retains the same leg length as our Team Bib, but has a new panel construction featuring enhanced ergonomics for all day comfort. Our fits are true to size and are designed to be worn tight.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fabric: Cold Black®
Reduces absorption of sunlight and therefore heat build up. In addition it provides reliable protection from damaging UV rays.
A particular weaving technique which reduces the contact points between the fabric and skin. This generates air micro-circulation thus avoiding that unpleasant feeling of a sticky fabric on humid skin.
A treatment which helps prevent odours, staining, deterioration and discolouring.
Made in Italy
Signature fit developed by MAAP
Highly compressive main body fabric
Race radio pocket
Extra high density chamois developed exclusively for MAAP
Matte fabric for a modern look and feel
Bonded hem for secure fit
Flat lock stitching
Beautiful to wear, until about three hours into the ride.
The construction is solid. So far the reflective logos are washing well but could be the first place to show wear.
Perfect in all directions. The fit is meant to be tight but they are not restrictive.
The MAAP website sizing chart is reliable.
For a short that is marketed as being for "long training rides" this was a disappointment. Barely average comfort over the long run, I fear.
If they were 1/3 the price, I would buy three pairs for general use over 30-40 miles, but at this price I need want an outstanding degree of comfort.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Looking good so far.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Beautiful to wear in every respect except the pad. As a bibshort promoted as for long training rides, it fell short.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great cut, fabric, sizing and looks.
Lovely, huggy, stretch fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not without caveats
Use this box to explain your score
There's so much to like about these shorts but, in the end, if the pad ain't comfy they won't enhance the riding experience. If I were spending this money on a pair of bibs I would expect them to do that.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Neil never even needed stabilisers, he was such a natural, and he still doesn't. The former BBC and ITV regional radio and tv r