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As the name suggests, Altura's Endurance Men's Cycling Bib Shorts are designed for long distance riding, and they achieve that with their very comfortable pad, wide bib straps and close fit. Some more reflective detailing on the sides of the legs would be nice for rides that continue into the darkness, but otherwise they're very good.
Altura describes the Endurance bib shorts as being 'engineered for ultimate comfort with high quality materials for the longest days in the saddle'. On the whole I'd say these hit that brief.
Some brands put a thicker pad into their shorts intended for many miles in the saddle, but the Elastic Interface Endurance Active Pad in these shorts is quite slender and simplistic.
The main section of padding is about 10mm thick and is a similar shape to a short-nosed saddle designed to support your sit bones, with a central channel in place to reduce pressure.
I generally prefer slimmer, firmer pads anyway, but I especially find that when I'm in the saddle for a long time a thicker, softer pad can cause hot spots and bunching, and sometimes overheating.
I didn't get any of this from the Alturas. I remained comfortable throughout long rides with no issues.
The fit is close, and the sizing is realistic for the UK market – you can trust Altura's size guide too.
The materials used provide a bit of a compressive feel, nothing major but just enough to add a bit of support for your muscles as they go through the motions.
For the side panels of the legs, Altura has used a fabric made by Schoeller which is said to be abrasion resistant. It certainly feels hardwearing and it doesn't affect the overall feel of the shorts, still offering as much stretch and movement as the more standard Lycra used elsewhere.
The legs are kept in place by large grippers with silicone dots and a strip running along the hem. It manages to place enough pressure to stop movement without being so much that they start to dig in as the ride goes on. I found the pressure they exert is well spread out, which also helps comfort.
The bib section combines a mesh fabric with straps bonded to it that are made from a thicker fabric than most, but while I had initial concerns about a lack of breathability this turned out to be unfounded.
The straps are very wide, which also helps comfort, as there is very little pressure on your shoulders while they still keep the shorts in place.
A pair of shorts intended for long rides are likely to be used when the sun has gone down, so it's good to see some reflective detailing on the legs. On the rear of each leg you'll find a strip of reflectives, ideal for vehicles driving behind you, but I'd prefer to have it on the side of the legs, or as well as, to help you be seen from the side at junctions or roundabouts. It's a minor quibble, though.
Pearl Izumi's Expedition bib shorts are also designed for long rides and adventures, and I was impressed with those too. They are designed more for gravel excursions, but also work well on the road. But they cost £119.99, so nearly 30 quid more, though you are getting an array of pockets for extra storage.
Overall, the Alturas are ideal for long distance riding, and shorter outings too. They are comfortable and well made, and the price is pretty good compared with others.
Well-made bib shorts that are really comfortable on longer rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Endurance Men's Cycling Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Altura says, "Engineered for ultimate comfort with high quality materials for the longest days in the saddle
"When you are planning on heading out on the bike all day, the Endurance Collection is your choice. Developed in collaboration with ultra-endurance riders, the Altura Endurance Men's Cycling Bib Shorts offer supreme comfort with a fantastic pad from Elastic Interface in Italy which is designed to give maximum comfort without compromising on breathability and stretch. The traditional stitched construction of the pad provides unmatched flex and stretch and the 11mm thickness of dual density foam offers a less bulky feel in the saddle. Comfort bib straps and a bonded front hem also make for an enjoyable ride by reducing the risk of chafing whilst the abrasion-resistant Schoeller ceramic print panels and reflective cuffs offer reassurance and protection during long days on the road."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Elastic Interface Endurance Active Pad
- Abrasion resistant, ceramic print Scholler fabric side panels
- Highly breathable mesh front bib and back neck panel
- Comfort bib straps and bonded front bib panel
- Highly reflective details
- Reflective raw edge cuff trim
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're well designed for long distance riding, from the pad through to the wide bib straps that cause no compression.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad works well on long rides.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Minimal relfectives on shorts that are likely to see plenty of use after dark.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are competitively priced, as you can see by the competition mentioned in the review.
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
They're very good: well made with a good fit overall. The pad is a highlight, remaining comfortable as the ride gets longer. I would like to see some more reflectives on the sides of the leg, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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 road.cc 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!