MAAP's Alt_Road Cargo bib shorts, as you can probably guess, are part of its gravel or adventure range – and they are designed around what is a very high-quality chamois. In fact, they are comfortable throughout and have an excellent build quality. But can they just justify that eye-watering price? They're much dearer than the money-no-object shorts in our best cycling bib shorts buyer's guide, even if they do have more gravel-specific features.
> Buy now: MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bib Shorts for £164 from MAAP
Okay, so my final negative is very personal, but I'm just not a fan of the way that nearly all gravel kit seems to be either green or brown at the moment – so both this Gumwall pair and the Coffee aren't really my cup of tea, no pun intended.
That said, there is a black option, which is what I'd go for if I was buying them.
A pair of shorts is nothing without a high-quality chamois and thankfully MAAP hasn't let the side down here. The Proprietary 3D thermo-moulded, triple-layer pad is made up of various densities with a reasonably firm main section and plenty of cut-out sections for pressure relief.
It's slightly thicker than I'd choose for road riding, but when I was riding the gravel bike, I found it absolutely ideal. While it is quite firm, there is just enough movement to aid shock absorbance. I don't like things too squidgy as I find it can result in numbness, but that wasn't an issue with these shorts.
Even a three-hour ride on the Orro Terra E gravel e-bike, most of which was spent riding in the saddle, didn't cause any discomfort.
As for the rest of the shorts. Well, the material's four-way stretch provides a fit that is supportive without being overly compressive and given that the material feels slightly thicker than you'd find on a pair of road shorts for added durability, movement was pleasingly free and easy.
You also get UPF 50+ protection for those sunny days.
Inside all the seams are flatlocked for comfort and while I never really noticed any difference on shorter rides, the lack of pressure from the seams is noticeable the longer you ride.
The various sections of the bibs are made from different materials, and I found the bibs very comfortable. A mesh back section aids breathability before it switches to Lycra for the straps themselves.
There are no seams that could potentially cause irritation, and the straps and nice and wide, which means there's no pressure over the tops of your shoulders.
The same is true at the bottom of the legs.
These have large grippers with silicone dots that spread the load well, so you don't end up with a line digging into your thighs, which can happen if there's a narrow silicone strip.
Gravel shorts tend to have pockets and the MAAPs are no different. There is a thigh pocket on the right leg that will easily take a folded map or gels and things, while the pocket on the left leg is a similar size but uses a zip enclosure.
On the rear of the bib-section there are another two pockets, with the openings cleverly angled to give easy access when riding.
Some MAAP products, such as those designed for road racing, have a close cut and can come up quite small, but its Alt_ Road clothing is a little bit more relaxed and roomier. However, this isn't by a massive amount, so I'd suggest sticking to your normal size, and if you aren't sure then double check MAAP's guide, which I found it spot on.
There is no getting away from the £235 price, which, let's be honest, is a lot of money.
Albion's ABR1 Pocket bib shorts impressed Hollis and come with pockets, a comfortable pad and flatlocked seams, all for £145.
Assos's Mille GTC Kiespanzer C2 bib shorts are cargo shorts designed for gravel and adventure riding and Jamie loved the chamois. They are more expensive than the Albions, but at £210 they're still a chunk cheaper than the MAAPs.
MAAP's Alt_Road bib shorts are very comfortable and they're very well made too – manufactured to a very high standard from durable materials. They are expensive though, even against other premium brands such as Assos that don't really bother with kit at the low- to mid-end of the market.
Very comfortable, high-quality shorts with a great pad and plenty of storage – but it's a lot of cash to splash
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Make and model: MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bib
Tell us what the product is for
MAAP says "MAAP's Alt_Road Cargo Bib Shorts are designed for your next off grid adventure. A unique combination of materials including 4-way stretch compression fabrics and our proprietary 3D thermo moulded chamois deliver all day comfort, while abrasion resistant leg panels deliver durability for when, you know, sh!t happens. And, storage is taken care of, no matter what you choose to wear up top, with a leg zip pocket for valuables, stash pocket for your phone and rear pockets for gels and bars. Anti-microbial, odour resistant and lightweight, they are perfect on gravel, dirt, the open road, whatever."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A highly technical bib short combining lightweight, 4 way stretch woven compression fabrics and offering the highest level of durability and comfort
High abrasion resistance side leg panels
Moisture wicking fabrications are highly breathable, quick drying and anti-odour
Utilises MAAP's Proprietary 3D thermo moulded multi (3 layer) density chamois - OEKO-TEX® Certified
Ergonomically engineered chamois has laser cut perforations for breathability and antimicrobial microfibre top liner
Functional side cargo pockets to accommodate a phone and one includes a zip closure for valuables
Centre back dual pockets for energy bars and other essentials
All seams flatlock stitched to eliminate abrasion
Thermo bonded centre back crossover for added comfort and elastic support
Ultimate UV protection UPF 50+
High airflow back mesh panel with soft bound edge
Reflective external branding and back leg tabs
Custom printed sticky silicone hem gripper
Suspender and hems elastics are OEKO-TEX® Certified
Fabrications are approved according to bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® standards
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
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Rate the product for value:
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems after numerous washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I found them very comfortable for long stints in the saddle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A great pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are pricier than most by quite a chunk as shown by the competition mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No – at least not at full price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A comfortable pair of shorts with an excellent pad that I found comfortable on both long and short rides. The price is very high though, which I'm not sure is entirely justified even when you take everything into account.
Age: 44 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
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,
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