When I try out new kit, I find it almost impossible to formulate an immediate opinion. Sure, I can say whether kit initially feels good or terrible, but for me the real proof that kit is a winner is how often it’s on my laundry rack and how desperate I am to wear it again. The moment I realised these Chapeau! Classic Bib Shorts are a winner was when I found myself tying them securely to my window latch in lieu of a washing line, so they could dry in the afternoon sunshine for a ride that evening. I have other bibs, but I just wanted to wear these: they’re a winner.
Chapeau! describe these as their entry level bibshort, retailing at £69.99, but I really do think they’re doing themselves a disservice here. For that price point for ladies bibshorts, you’d normally be in uncomfortable, sausage leg territory, but there’s none of that here.
Reasons to love these bibs:
- The chamois
As a woman, there is one area and one area alone that makes a big difference to enjoying your ride, as anyone who’s ridden on the wrong saddle will tell you. These are marketed as entry level bibshorts, and as such, I wouldn’t expect a brilliant chamois, but I’ve ridden for over 3 hours in these without feeling like I need a gynaecologist afterwards. Win.
- The leg grippers
As a woman of reasonably proportioned thighs, the area many shorts let themselves down on is the leg grippers; they’re made tight enough that shorts don’t ride up, but end up being too tight, digging in and making unsightly thigh bulges affectionately known as ‘sausage leg’. Chapeau! have clearly listened to the wants of female cyclists and made their cuffs wide and silicone printed, so they are comfortable, don’t dig in AND the shorts don’t ride up.
- The straps
Bib shorts as a woman can be tricky. Either you end up with tight straps digging into your boobs and looking terrible under a jersey, or you have weird, uncomfortable front straps cut like a racer back, which sit between your boobs. Chapeau! have gone for the normal straight straps, but made them plenty long enough, and they are wide, soft and well hemmed, so no digging in or discomfort BUT your shorts don’t fall down either.
- The design
As anyone who knows me will attest to, I am not a terribly girly girl, and you can probably count the pink items of sports kit that I own on one hand. That doesn’t mean I don’t like more subtle feminine detailing, so I love the mint green detailing on these bibs: subtle but stylish, and for me, a lot better than some of the ‘shrink it and pink it’ mentality you see from kit designers.
- The price
Before I got these shorts, I’d kinda resigned myself to not finding a comfy pair of shorts without splashing out £100+ on some Castelli or Rapha, so I am amazed at the comfort and fit of these shorts, as well as the thought that’s gone into them, for the price point they sit at- I think they perform a lot better than the price would suggest, and I’ve been heartily recommending them to everybody who has been admiring the polka dots on club rides.
So in summary, I’m really impressed by these shorts; they’re comfortable, flattering and I think, perform well beyond what their price tag would suggest. As my first item of Chapeau! kit, I am very impressed, and am eagerly awaiting the matching jersey to these bibs coming out- and their winter collection, which might be what empties my first paycheck out of my bank…
Chapeau! kindly sent me these bib shorts for free to try out. I have since ridden over 300 miles in them, and these are my unbiased opinions after cycling, sweating and scrambling to launder them to wear again.