The latest Endura Pro SL bib shorts are one of the most comfortable pairs I have ever used. The pad is sublime, and the overall cut and the fabric used mean they remain comfortable no matter how long you are out riding for.
The heart of any pair of bib shorts is the pad, and the 700 series used here is very impressive indeed. Rather than having multiple grooves and differing thicknesses of padding spread out across its layout, it is reasonably flat and smooth with just the slightest transition into a thicker depth of padding where it sits over the saddle.
This means it doesn't bunch up when changing position on the bike, and whether out for a short hard blast or a longer trek the whole thing is basically undetectable.
Endura's 700 series pad was developed with gebioMized, a bike fit specialist, and through testing and feedback from pro riders. The pad is offered in three widths – narrow, medium and wide – to suit your pelvic shape, saddle and riding position.
To work out which one is right for you, Endura has a specific web page – here – where you find your saddle using a dropdown menu, and it shows you the suggested pad size option. It's pretty much based on saddle width.
I have quite a large choice of saddles sitting around, and Endura's pad fit page suggested the narrow or medium pad for the majority of my favourites. I was given the medium width pad to test, but I must admit I could detect very little difference, if any, in comfort levels on the different saddles, even the narrowest. Thankfully, those comfort levels were high.
The multi-panel design of the Pro SL is shaped to suit your position on the bike, and I found the fit spot on. Endura says that the fit is enhanced by the lumbar support panel that runs around the lower back and sides. It uses a much more compressive fabric here than the rest of the shorts, which Endura says keeps the bib shorts in position, removing some of the pressure from the shoulder straps. It is something that I could feel, and the wide shoulder straps certainly don't give any irritation or hotspots.
At the other end of the shorts, Endura has kept the leg grippers to a minimum. A simple row of silicone strips attached to the standard material keeps them firmly in place without any excess pressure on your legs.
The shorts are available in two leg length options, with the long version getting an extra 4cm over the standard ones on test.
The build quality is very good throughout, with all of the seams stitched and finished to a high level. Yanking at the seams saw no threads coming away and even after plenty of miles in the saddle the fabric is showing no signs of wear or bobbling.
The Pro SLs are priced at £119.99, which isn't cheap but isn't extortionate either when you look at some of the other bib shorts on the market.
For instance, I recently tested the 7mesh RK1 bibs and they are great when it comes to the comfort and fit, but they cost £200. I'd still be happy to pay that for their performance, but the Enduras near as damn it offer the same levels for a lot less.
Simon was very impressed with the comfort levels and fit of the Le Col Pro bib shorts, and they'll set you back £150.
Overall, the Pro SLs really deliver as well as many of the competition in terms of performance and quality, but achieve it at a very competitive price.
Excellent fit, comfort and performance, especially from the pad
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Pro SL Bibshort
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Endura says, "Overhauled for 2020, this game changing road bibshort with award-winning multiple pad width technology now boasts a 'perfect fit' with lumbar support and power straps."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Endura's website:
High quality Italian power Lycra® fabric with coldblack® technology dramatically reducing heat buildup and providing UPF50
Updated 700 series pad with improved foam construction and a micro-polyester face fabric for unrivalled comfort. Computer cut 'Continuously Variable Profile' (CVP) stretch technology with antibacterial finish and available in 3 pad width options (find you perfect match on https://padfit.endurasport.com/)
Ergonomic, pre-shaped multi panel construction
New bib construction combining wide elastic straps and supportive high wicking rear panel
High power, lumbar support panel
Raw edge hem bands with inner silicone print
Long leg options (+4cm) also available
The sizing reflects Endura's size guide.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following Endura's washing instructions saw no problems throughout testing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lovely shorts to wear for long or short rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent fit and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's not really a 'dislike', but I couldn't detect any difference in comfort when using the medium pad with 'narrow' saddles.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Against some very good shorts like the 7mesh mentioned in the review there is little to separate them in terms of performance, but the Pro SLs are 80 quid cheaper. They undercut other good shorts from the likes of Le Col that we've tested recently, too.
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
A really top notch pair of bib shorts across the board, for a very competitive price.
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!