Road Test: Endura Pro SL bib shorts
With a customisable chamois and quick-release for express toilet stops, the Endura Pro SL bibs sound like cycling short nirvana. Claire Beaumont unzips the truth…
Established in the early nineties, Endura has traditionally been all about rugged, well-priced everyday pieces. Think luminous commuter jackets and waterproof MTB shorts. Cool and cutting edge? No. Honest and great quality? Yes.
In recent years, however, Endura has been beavering away from its base in West Lothian to change this misconception by supporting women’s WorldTour team, Cervelo-Bigla, then producing performance cyclewear in collaboration with their pro team that we can all get our hands on. This includes these Endura bib shorts, complete with drop-seat zip for wilderness toilet visits.
Love at first sit?
Stating the obvious, a comfortable chamois in your shorts is an essential. But, the brains at Endura have decided that comfort is much more nuanced than that, with your body size and the width of your sit bones dictating what type of chamois you need.
Just because a rider is size XL, it doesn’t mean they need a super wide chamois. Conversely, a rider who wears size small might have wide sit bones, so needs a wider chamois to suit.
To cater for these important differences down below, Endura has made their new Women’s Pro SL shorts in various sizes and – crucially – three chamois widths; narrow, medium or wide fit.
I followed the handy guide on the packaging, which said that because I ride Fizik’s Aliante Saddle and a road bike, then I should choose their medium pad. Endura are so confident in their approach that they’ll give you a refund within 90 days if you don’t find the bib shorts comfortable. For me, it really was love at first sit.
Stop, drop and roll
Usually when I need to go to the toilet, it's a good excuse to stop and get a cake and a coffee. However, there are some corners of Britain where a tea room isn’t on the horizon, which makes life difficult...
Unless, of course, you’re wearing the Pro SL, which features a built-in zip that runs from your upper thigh across your toosh to your other side.
I don’t think I need to explain the rest, other than to say that the elasticated zip is flat-locked, making it feel virtually non-existent. The zip locks into place – so don’t fear mooning mid-sprint – it’s super easy to use, faff free and you won’t get tangled up in bib straps.
Fabrics and fit
Let’s talk jargon. Endura’s website tells me there is all sorts of technical stuff included in their shorts, including Italian Power Lycra, coldblack® technology, antibacterial chamois and raw edge hems. Translation: fabric is lightweight, supportive and the coldblack treatment offers UV protection and stops the black material absorbing heat.
They feel almost invisible when you’re wearing them and that nice wide leg band keeps everything in place and avoids that sausage leg look.
I was most impressed with the little details Endura has added, including a supportive panel stitched in just across the front of the stomach, which stops edges digging into your tummy. Plus, bib straps that are cut to curve out rather than squishing your décolletage.
The last word
I’ve harked on about how great the fabric is, the clever multiple chamois options and quick-squat zip. As you can imagine, all this good stuff comes at a price - £124.99 to be precise. Truth be told, I think they are worth every penny.
In a nutshell, you’ll be hard pushed to find a short that looks this good, does a great job and gives you custom fit around your body and hips. Plus, they’ll give you your money back if you don’t agree.
Scores on the doors
Endura Pro SL bib shorts £124.99
Fit = 4/5
Performance = 5/5
Style = 4/5
Claire Beaumont is a cyclocross racer and digital manager at Condor Cycles. Follow her on Instagram