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The Summit Stratos Range Bibs are Pactimo's most expensive bib shorts. They are designed for long rides and have useful cargo pockets. They cost £186, but they are hands down the most comfortable bib shorts I've tried.
Pactimo says the Summit Stratos Range Bibs are designed for 'guaranteed comfort on extreme adventures, all-day rides and self-supported road/gravel races'. That is a bold statement, but these shorts have really impressed me by actually delivering on that promise.
You see, I'm envious of people who never have any saddle area issues. On anything over 60 miles, I'd expect some chafing, and on a multi-day ride, especially off road, I'm pretty raw by the time I'm finished.
Not so with these shorts. I got to the end of a two-day gravel bikepacking trip from Barnstaple to Bath in pretty wet conditions with no nether region issues whatsoever. Likewise on a two-day 200-mile round trip to Stratford-on-Avon in 30 degree heat. As you can imagine, these are now my favourite shorts.
Pactimo makes these bibs from Cerami-K fabric. The label says an 80% nylon, 20% spandex mix for the non-printed parts, and a 50% polyester, 35% nylon, 15% spandex mix for the printed parts. Cerami-K, it says, is a 'Swiss-milled, ceramic-print fabric that is super lightweight and extremely durable while also offering an even-compression fit for all-day support and heat dissipation'.
This ceramic print manifests itself in hexagonal dotted shapes on the fabric. There isn't really a noticeable texture difference to the Lycra on other bib shorts I've tried.
There is no bobbling yet on the fabric, so early evidence suggests it will prove to be durable. So far, so good, anyway.
I had perfect conditions to test the 'heat dissipation', otherwise known as breathability and wicking properties, on both of the rides mentioned above. On the hot ride, they dealt with sweat really well. On the wet ride, they only felt like a soggy mess when I put them on the morning of the second day, soaking wet. After that, I didn't really notice them.
The compression Pactimo's marketing talks about is just right for me: a supportive fit without being restrictive.
The fabric feels lovely next to the skin, and I didn't experience any chafing from seams or tabs anywhere.
The pad is made by Elastic Interface, and is its second generation Endurance Anatomic Super Air Chamois. It works really well for me – for hours and days on end.
I found the strap length well judged, particularly for long days. When you put the shorts on, they are close fitting, but nowhere near tight enough to force you into a cycling position.
The leg grippers are a 35mm band of what looks like a custom printed silicone pattern; they grip enough to keep everything in place, but not so much that they irritate or rip out leg hair (I don't shave mine).
So far, what I've described is the same for Pactimo's Summit Stratos '12-hour' bibs. Where these differ is that they also have four stretch mesh pockets – one on each leg, and two on the lower back.
I didn't find myself using the back pockets, but they are there if you need them. If you don't use them, you don't notice they're there. There is also a little elastic loop above the left lower back pocket, in case you want to stow a pump there.
Initially, I was unsure about the need for cargo pockets, but I found they are super useful and am a convert. They'll take a face mask, riding shades, gels, food wrappers, a GoPro, a phone... pretty much anything (though not necessarily at the same time) that is not too heavy and that you want quick or easy access to. All those things can go in a jersey pocket, but these provide both more space, and easier access than a jersey pocket.
The medium pair on test fit me perfectly, as expected – I'm usually a medium in any non-Italian bib shorts.
My measurements are exactly those printed under 'M' on Pactimo's size chart.
At £186, these bib shorts are very expensive. However, they are so good that, for me, it makes their price tag acceptable.
They are not alone at this price point, either. I reviewed Le Col's Hors Categorie Bib Shorts II a little while back. They cost £180 and are decent bib shorts, but they are not in the same league when it comes to comfort.
Cheaper shorts are, of course, available. I really like the Stolen Goat Bodyline One Bib Shorts which, if not exactly cheap, cost a lot less at £98.
If you want super-comfortable shorts for long hours and days in the saddle, Pactimo's Summit Stratos Range Bibs are the most comfortable I've tried by a long way. Yes, £186 is a lot of money, but for me it's a price worth paying for a happy backside.
Hands down the most comfortable bib shorts I've tried
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Summit Stratos Range Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pactimo says: 'This ultra-endurance bib has been designed with 4 stretch-mesh pockets; two on the lower back, two on the legs, for hauling additional cargo and necessities over extreme distances. They are the ideal choice for those who want guaranteed comfort on extreme adventures, all-day rides and self-supported road/gravel races. The 2nd Generation Elastic Interface® Endurance Anatomic Super Air chamois was uniquely designed to Pactimo's strict comfort specifications for a long distance pad. The extremely durable Cerami–K fabric, noted by its unique dotted pattern, provides uninhibited movement, long distance comfort and heat dissipation during maximum exertion. Lightweight mesh and raw-edge uppers provide excellent support while also ensuring lasting comfort and an accommodating fit for a variety of torso lengths. Single layer, mesh knit leg bands guarantee a slip-free fit while also allowing for moisture movement away from the skin.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pactimo lists these details:
Swiss-milled Cerami–K fabric
2nd Generation Elastic Interface® Endurance Anatomic Super Air chamois
Mesh and raw-edge cut uppers
Two mesh thigh pockets
Two mesh lower back pockets with mini pump loop
Breathable, stretch mesh leg bands
They are very expensive, but they are also very good. They're also cheaper than some from Castelli and Maap...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The care instructions say, "Machine wash cold with mild detergent on delicate cycle. Do not bleach. Line dry only. Do not wring, iron or dry clean. Do not use fabric softener. Close zipper before washing."
I just did what I always do with my cycling kit: in with the rest of the washing on 40 degrees. They still look as good as new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These are hands down the best and most comfortable shorts I have ever used.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Super comfortable, and useful pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The only negative is the price really, they are expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There is no doubt that these bib shorts are premium in performance and comfort. And in price. Other premium shorts, like the Le Col Hors Categorie II at £180 and MAAP Team Bib Evo at £190 are in the same price range. You can pay more still: Castelli's Premio Black Bib Shorts are £220.
Cheaper shorts are also available of course. I really liked the Stolen Goat Bodyline One Bib Shorts at £98.
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
Pactimo's Summit Stratos Range Bibs are super comfortable for long hours and days in the saddle; the most comfortable I've tried by a long way. Although £186 is a lot of money for bib shorts, for me it's a price worth paying for a happy backside.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift