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The Pas Normal Studios Mechanism Bib Shorts are a premium product designed for peak aerodynamic performance and comfort. The materials are high quality, they fit really well and, most importantly, they're comfortable whether on an endurance ride in the sun or on a rainy race day.
Born in Copenhagen in 2014, Pas Normal Studios' Mechanism collection is designed to showcase 'the seamless integration of technical performance with fashionable aesthetics'. They are extremely comfortable and look good enough to turn heads on any group ride – even the controversial brown-coloured bibs that I tested have caught the eye, for all the right reasons – and at only 168g they are nice and light.
The assembly of the panels of these bib shorts is designed to match your riding position, and this can really be felt when wearing them – there is no unwanted bunching or seams in uncomfortable places, even when hunched over in an aerodynamic position.
The shorts feel like they've been designed for racers by racers, or at least people who have studied racers... The materials stretch nicely when getting the bibs on and return to provide a tight aerodynamic fit with a good amount of compression.
The 'Anatomically-fitted Chamois' is made up of four layers and combines comfort with lightweight breathability, providing enough support for long rides but without unnecessary bulk, which can become uncomfortable in aggressive positions.
The focus on riding position throughout the design of the bib shorts is noticeable, from the chamois right through to the straps, which are extremely comfortable and incredibly low profile, holding their shape excellently, noticeably so even under the most aero of jerseys.
The straps are shorter than some, which is worth noting if you are longer in the torso like me, though the shorts are cut quite high to avoid unsightly gaps when worn with short jerseys such as PNS's Mechanism.
While the quality of fabric and stitching is high in this pair of Mechanism shorts, unfortunately the first pair I received had a fault in the stitching on the hem of one of the legs. If I'd bought them this would have been covered under the warranty, and Pas Normal Studios responded quickly in providing a replacement pair, which have been without fault.
Priced at £210, the Mechanisms are some of the most expensive bib shorts on the market. While the fit, materials and performance are very good, there are many excellent alternatives that come in £50-£100 less, such as the Albion ABR1s at £135 that Stef tested and rated highly, or for a tenner less, Assos' Mille GT C2s at £125, which Ben reckoned couldn't be faulted as long as you liked the leg length.
The Mechanism bib shorts are well designed and provide excellent comfort and support for all types of days in the saddle. With their wide range of colour options and unique panelling, they are both a comfortable and stylish choice. However, the price tag is likely to put many people off, with others offering similar performance at a much lower price.
High-quality bib shorts that both look and feel great, but at a price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pas Normal Studios Men's Mechanism Bibs
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Pas Normal Studios says: "Our signature performance bib shorts, designed for the hardest days on the bike.
"Constructed from compressive textiles with high elasticity, the Mechanism Bibs are fitted to match your optimal riding position without restricting mobility."
They're race-level shorts that are more than capable of endurance rides, though they come with a very high price tag.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Pas Normal Studios:
Aerodynamic race fit
Four-layer ultralight foam chamois
Fully-dyed fabrics and elastic grippers
Low profile shoulder straps
Material: 82% Polyester, 18% Elastane
Made in Italy
The second pair I received were very well put together and stitched; there was a quality issue with the stitching on the first pair, something that was covered under warranty.
As mentioned in the review, the first pair had a stitching error which caused a hole to form, the second warranty pair are very well made with no issues so hopefully this was a one-off.
Excellent, just the right level of compression. The bib straps are slightly shorter than some, so something for longer torso riders to consider.
As expected for a pair of performance bib shorts, these are tailored to an athletic/slim build so if you're a larger rider then you may find the level of compression restricting.
Really comfortable. The chamois provides good support, and the focus on rider position is noticeable with no bunching when in an aero position.
While these are excellent bib shorts, there are some excellent alternatives for half the price.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent. Comfortable and supportive on fast rides, and the support was evident on endurance rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The overall look of the shorts, and the fit around the quads is a real positive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The straps were a little short for me.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are right near the top-end when it comes to price, but do have the performance and fit to back it up. However, there are other premium products that are £50-£100 cheaper.
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
These are great shorts that have been designed to focus on the rider's position. The comfort level is excellent, and the look even better. However, the high price tag compared with similar is hard to ignore.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...