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Northwave Galaxy bib shorts – review

The Northwave Galaxy bib shorts sit towards the top end of the Italian firm's range at £94.99 and combine excellent technical performance with smart styling.

The shorts use Northwave’s ‘BioMap’ concept, which is a fancy way of saying they place different fabrics in the areas they perform the best, with ‘strategically position stitching’ to prevent any chafing or discomfort, which, frankly, is the last thing you want when cycling.

I normally wear a medium in most bib shorts, except for some Italian brands where I size up to a large. With these, however, a medium pair fit like a glove and the shorts feel very light and thin when on, making them a good choice for summer use.

One of the standout features of the Galaxy shorts is the ‘Microskin’- a 4.5cm-deep strip of elastic fabric which acts as the leg gripper, eliminating the need for any sort of silicone or similar grippers. From an aesthetic point of view, the band looks great as there is more fluid line from short to leg, and, in a practical sense, it removes any need for a hem, and so decreases the likelihood or it being too tight and restrictive, or too loose. The fabric itself is soft but robust and still grips effectively.

The rest of the lower half of the shorts is made from what Northwave call a ‘PowerPlus’ fabric, which in marketing speak claims to offer ‘extreme fluidity of movement and a great muscle containment’.  So, it’s a compressive yet stretchy fabric, then. It’s a fair claim. The stretchiness means the shorts follow the shape of the legs and body well, and provide a close all-round fit – significantly better than my usual, favoured, higher-end shorts. The panels curve smoothly around the thigh, onto the hip, and when on the bike, feel great.

Moving up, the top half of shorts are made from a super-light, perforated fabric on the front, which morphs into the excellent, wide and perforated bib straps. It’s a comfy combination, which is supportive, comfortable and well ventilated. The back of the top half of the shorts is made from a fabric which is even lighter and has excellent wicking properties.

Inside the shorts, the all-important ‘Comfort Plus Pad’ has an ‘open cell’ construction. Basically it uses a 120 kg/m3 density foam with 3mm holes covering the chamois, 8mm apart, in a bid to improve breathability and, like the rest of the shorts, it’s well suited to warm conditions. For me, the pad proved comfortable on long rides, with the construction of the chamois providing generous padding for the sit bones, and support for the central, erm, sensitive area.

These are shorts ideal for summer temperatures and they’re at home on warm rides thanks to the lightness of the fabrics and their excellent wicking properties, so doing a good job at moving moisture away. The shorts aren’t really for cold or wet days though, and a few rides in the rain left me hurrying home with chilly thighs. Anything above around 12 degrees and they’ll be fine, though.

Details include two reflective strips on the back of the legs and a loop on the right-hand bib strap, which could be used to thread a headphone cable through, or is otherwise just for styling. Speaking of which, the shorts are predominantly black, but the blue stitching adds a dash of colour, even if it might upset riders who want to colour-match their clothing throughout and so would prefer all-black shorts.

Conclusion

The Northwave Galaxy bib shorts justify their high-end price tag thanks to the use of top-quality, lightweight technical fabrics and a superb fit, making these excellent shorts for summer riding.

Pros

Lightweight
Excellent wicking properties
Very good fit and comfortable chamois

 

Cons

Best-suited to warmer rides

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