GORE have unveiled their 2019 range of bib shorts, featuring a new design intended to keep the seatpad in place. The shorts were designed with input from former World and Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, and includes three models designed specifically for racing, long-distance comfort and ventilation on the hottest days.
Best known for their GORE-TEX brand of technical waterproof fabrics, GORE look to be expanding their cycling range - and with Fabian Cancellara onboard as a consultant and tester, the results look interesting.
At the core of the new shorts is a concept GORE call 'central torso architecture'. It's designed to ensure the seat pad stays in place even after out-of-the-saddle efforts, for maximum comfort and efficiency.
Head of Design at GORE Wear, Clemens Deilmann, came up with the idea several years ago: a bib shorts design that stems from the central torso and keeps the seat insert in the correct position no matter what. Unlike most bib shorts, which insert a chamois pad into an engineered "shell", the new design is built around a central core comprising the straps and seat pad - think of Borat's mankini, if that's not too off-putting an image - with the leg pieces attached.
While conventional bib short straps exert multi-directional tension on the seat insert and the stretchy fabric of the bib short, GORE claim that their 'central torso architecture' means "everything revolves around the seat insert and how it is connected to the body and the bib shorts."
"This design keeps the seat insert in the perfect position - and thus provides a stable but sensitive connection between rider and bike."
After much tweaking, improving and testing, the design has finally been launched in time for the Spring/Summer 2019 season - and there's a choice of three designs on offer, depending on what type of riding you do.
Shorts for every occasion
The collection comprises three purpose-built bib shorts designs - one for competitive racers, one for cyclists who spend a long time in the saddle, for example on all-day sportives or cycle touring, and one for hot weather conditions.
For racers, you'll be looking at the C7 Race Bib Shorts+. These use a new, extremely lightweight, non-abrasive and woven 4-way stretch material with a compact seat for optimum muscle support without limiting your range of motion - which, say GORE, is ideal for competitions and hard training: "The pre-formed Expert Race seat insert provides top-notch comfort through the use of open-cell foams paired with a very dense, pressure-resistant foam at the precise point where the bones meet the saddle in the extended racing position."
More into touring, or training hard for long days in the saddle on the Etape du Tour, Marmotte or Dragon Ride? The C7 Long Distance Bib Shorts+ are designed for endurance cycling.
Made from a non-abrasive knitted 4-way stretch material, GORE say they are ideal for longer rides:
"The straps are soft and do not dig in, the thick knit fabric is opaque, extremely comfortable and soft, and provides comfort and a safe seat even after many kilometres on the bike. The Expert Long Distance seat insert is the same design as the Expert Race seat insert but provides more comfort in various positions on the bike (normal on longer rides) thanks to the more generous use of pressure-resistant foam."
Finally, for those warm weather rides, GORE are offering the C7 Vent Bib Shorts+. Tailor-made for the hot and humid conditions of midsummer, these minimalist shorts feature a fast-drying, elastic fine-knit fabric which, say GORE, "feels pleasantly cool in the heat thanks to their heat and moisture-wicking properties."
Perforations add extra cooling, while the exclusive Expert Vent seat insert "provides the best blend of comfort and ventilation on hot days, thanks to its open-cell and simultaneously pressure-resistant foams across the entire seat."
The pad is also designed to absorb only a tiny amount of moisture and to dry quickly, for maximum comfort on hot summer rides.
Endorsed by Spartacus
Fabian Cancellara, current Olympic champion and GORE Wear ambassador, was involved in the development of the new range from an early stage and GORE say his input was particularl valuable when it came to the fit and details such as leg cuffs, seam placement or the degree of compression.
So, after giving the new shorts a test on the roads of Mallorca, what does he make of the results?
He is delighted, say GORE: "The best shorts throughout my professional career were always the ones I could barely feel," Cancellara comments.
"And these new Race Bib Shorts are so wonderfully unobtrusive that you could simply stay in the saddle forever."
We hope to have a pair of the new shorts in for testing when they're launched for sale in January, so stay tuned for a full review early in the new year.