Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts are specifically designed to act as a featherweight second skin, which clings to the body in order to reduce drag, but also features clever perforated panels to regulate the core temperature during hot summer rides.
Granted, the panels become a a bit of pain when the colder months creep in, but these are specifically designed to last through the most popular cycling months. So if you’re in the market for something pro-grade and super cool, these could be the best bib shorts for you.
There are only a few ultra-premium players in the bib short market that can demand £150/$200 for a set of lycra shorts. These include the Rapha Men’s Classic Bib Short, as well as efforts from Assos, Castelli and, in this case Le Col. Not surprisingly, those brands also make some of the best cycling jerseys you can buy.
Le Col specialises in professional gear that graces the backs, legs and arms of many top athletes. A recent project of theirs, Le Col x McLaren – yes, the British supercar brand – resulted in a bespoke, wind tunnel-tested range of garments that pack about as much technology into their various fabrics as your average space shuttle.
That’s probably not true, but you can see why this brand charges such a premium on its products, purely because it uses cutting edge materials and invests heavily into R&D so you get a perfectly fitting garment that remains comfortable and performs over long, sweat-inducing miles on your road bike.
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Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts: price and availability
Le Col predominantly sells through its own website, where the Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts are priced at £160/$225/AU$310.
Le col also sells via sites like Wiggle, which can often be a cheaper option, as they sometimes offer sales and discounts throughout the seasons.
Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts: design and fit
Like so many pieces of pro cycling kit, these Le Col numbers fit very snugly indeed. They are made in Italy, so expect things to be as figure hugging as possible. That said, the legs are fairly long compared to rivals, which will please those who want to avoid burning the thighs in the hot sun, but might put off those who like to show off a nice set of quads.
As previously mentioned, there are special cooling panels on the side of the shorts in these lightweight variants, and they are a little bit see-through, but don’t stretch so high that they give anything personal away.
The rear of the shorts also rides fairly high, with the lycra back panel lacking any sort of cut-out or perforation. It’s superb for keeping everything in place but can make things particularly hot, especially if you opt for a longer jersey.
It’s better to pair the shorts with a shorter racing jersey, which means it won’t matter if things ride up slightly, as the lower back is always covered.
The gel pad chamois is also absolutely fantastic and I found it stayed in place perfectly, even over those longer and more strenuous rides. It’s certainly a pair of shorts that would happily cope with both race day and more casual schleps.
Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts: performance
It’s sometimes difficult to properly recommend a pair of bib shorts that cost £100 more than something that appears largely similar, but the extra dosh goes on the small things and it is those small things that add up if you are spending a lot of time in saddle.
For a start, the Pro Dolomiti Chamois is excellent and does a superb job of soaking up the bumps without ever really getting in the way. The exact fit will depend on your anatomy, but I found the pad sat in the optimum position without any need for awkward adjustment when out for a spin.
The high cut front and rear of the shorts allows for a bit of “ride-up” room where the jersey is concerned, but I found that there is quite a lot of material at the rear, which goes against the lightweight, perforated finish to the rest of the shorts. In essence, it feels a little unnecessary
That said, everything sits in place nicely and once adorned, you’d almost forget you were wearing a pair of shorts. Obviously don’t go out for a bike ride without any shorts on. That’s just wrong.
Above all else, they stay nice and cool. The lightweight fabric and perforated leg areas do a great job of allowing some air to flow to the important parts, while quick-wicking materials ensure you don’t get a nasty sweat build up on the really hot days.
Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts: verdict
Light, comfortable and understated, the Le Col Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts will make a great addition to any cyclists wardrobe. The brand scores serious style points with fellow riders too, although your willingness to pay what Le Col is asking will largely depend on whether you feel the extra comfort and coolness is worth it. I do.