Former pro cyclist Yanto Barker’s cycling apparel brand, Le Col, has steadily been making a name for itself since its inception in 2011, and while it’s not quite mainstream yet, with products like the Pro bib shorts, it’s surely only a matter of time.

The centrepiece of the any bib short is the pad – put simply, a rubbish pad adds up to a rubbish bib short in my view – and what a pad it is. It’s a Pro Dolomiti chamois that features silicone inserts alongside the usual dense foam. In fact, it does away with a lot of the foam, giving it a really dense spongy feel while remaining relatively thin compared to others on the market (Cytech, I’m looking at you).

The padding is graded in key areas for maximum pressure relief, especially in the perineal region, really allowing you to settle into your optimum position and stay there. The silicone also serves to give the chamois a really cool touch, and in tandem with the ventilation allow heat to dissipate effectively.

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

  • Specification

  • Price: £150
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Navy blue; black
  • Website: Le Col

I experienced this on Alpe d’Huez on a recent holiday, and despite the sweat pouring off me in the midday sun, one area I didn’t feel hot was around my sit bones. It was trend that continued throughout my test rides, and left me in no doubt that, whether I sat right on the nose of my saddle at full gas or further back taking in the scenery, this was one of the most comfortable pads I’ve ever used.

The rest of the shorts back up the excellent performance of the chamois, with a compressive ‘Sport Lycra’ that helps wrap your muscles without feeling restrictive, with a leg length that I’d describe as ‘medium’. It’s not long in the way Rapha’s Pro Team winter bib shorts are, or as short like you tend to find the likes of Alé tend to be.

Handily, the ‘Sport Lycra’ is also very good at getting rid of excess heat. Now, no bib shorts are really capable of compensating for the 35 degree-plus temperatures you can experience on an alpine road in the sun, but these were the equal of my own Rapha Lightweight bib shorts in this respect – praise I consider to be very high indeed.

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The grippers take the form of Le Col branded elastic with soft silicone blobs on the inside. With compressive legs such as these, I’m unconvinced the silicone is necessary here, and actually does nothing to improve overall comfort in this area, yet here the blobs are. The good thing is, they’re not too pronounced, which means you can easily forget about them and I never experienced chafing despite the cocktail of sun cream, salt, dampness and movement I was generating on warm rides.

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Up top, the bibs are also very good, featuring well made flat stitching to match the rest of the bibs, and laser cut holes to boost ventilation throughout. Make no mistake, the Pro bib shorts are absolutely ideal for summer use, or if you tend to run hot when working particularly hard.

What’s more is that they fit comfortably over the shoulders and cater well for my relatively long back, while the overall fit means that the shorts don’t feel like they are pulling up or overly tight in any area, not something I can say of every race-cut bib short I’ve tested in a medium (my usual size). And, that fit and quality is retained through the wash too, eradicating any worries about delicacy.

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Le Col Pro bib shorts (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

What’s more is that they fit comfortably over the shoulders and cater well for my relatively long back, while the overall fit means that the shorts don’t feel like they are pulling up or overly tight in any area, not something I can say of every race-cut bib short I’ve tested in a medium (my usual size). And, that fit and quality is retained through the wash too, eradicating any worries about delicacy.

Without anything bad to say about them – save to say that blue bib shorts seldom match many jerseys unless they’re blue themselves, and even then you can have these in black – they fully justify the £150 premium price tag.

Conclusion

The Le Col Pro bib shorts are genuinely ‘pro-level’, with a chamois that’s seriously impressive and an overall construction to match.

Pros

  • Ideal for summer use
  • Excellent Dolomiti chamois
  • Comfortable fit and cut
  • Available in blue and black

Cons

  • Silicone grippers around legs feel unnecessary