The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 Review

If you want a short that is so well-made it might as well be tailored and you are allergic to silicone, the Fit Sensor will not disappoint.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $80 List | $55.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Beautifully constructed, reinforced seams, super-soft fabric, value
Cons:  Thicker fabric, sweat shows on gray, slow to dry
Manufacturer:   Louis Garneau
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 20, 2018
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The Skinny

Every once in a while, you stumble across the most comfortable thing ever, and you wonder, "How did I ever survive before this sweet thing?" The Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 short is the best thing to come along after inventions like the snuggy, yoga pants for work, and toe socks: obviously manufactured with care, the Fit Sensor offers a quality and thoughtful design, beautifully finished seams, and a fabric so soft, you'll wish all your all clothes were made out of it.

While this short offers the highest performance of all non-bib models reviewed, it isn't the most breathable, due to its thicker fabric. If you're looking for a hot weather pair of shorts, the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit will keep you cooler.

Available in Shorter Length
If 7.5 inches is too long for you, Louis Garneau also offers the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 5.5. As the name implies, its bottom inseam is 5.5 inches, offering more exposure for warmer days in the saddle.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Louis Garneau Fit Sensor was a surprisingly pleasant find: at less than $100, the short looks, feels, and performs like it should cost a lot more. We're happy it doesn't, however, and took this short on wide-ranging adventures through desert basins, up mountain peaks and found that its consistent performance got us through a variety of conditions and different kinds of rides.

We started out testing the gray version of this short, excited to move away from the all-too-common basic black look of bike shorts. We quickly realized, though, that the gray colorway shows sweat very readily. So, we purchased the black version to finish testing, which fixed the sweat-display problem.

Performance Comparison


The Fit Sensor 7.5 will take you wherever your adventure leads. Quality construction and value combine in this impressive short.
The Fit Sensor 7.5 will take you wherever your adventure leads. Quality construction and value combine in this impressive short.

Comfort and Fit


Our testers loved the fit and design of this short. For those allergic to silicone, the stitching around the legs sans chemical stickiness will be a welcome reprieve. Some testers thought the short was "a bit snug" and that ordering one size up than their usual wouldn't be a terrible idea.


However, the primary complaint in the comfort area had to do with the thickness of the fabric: on a hot summer day, these shorts are, well, hot. However, testers took this short on 120-mile rides, proclaiming them the ideal endurance short. If you tend to "run hot," you might want to reserve the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor for early morning rides, night rides or cooler weather conditions (think: Spring or Fall).

A look at the fit of the Fit Sensor.
A look at the fit of the Fit Sensor.

Padding and Protection


The Fit Sensor is constructed from a very soft, forgiving fabric that is kind to your skin, even after a lot of miles. In this respect, it is comparable to other top-of-the-line shorts, such as the Castelli Free Aero Short and the SUGOI RS Pro Bib.


Testers were so confident in the short's well-constructed chamois and overall protection that they took these shorts on rides over 100 miles, cross bike rides on bumpy jeep roads and reported that the shorts dampened off-road conditions just as well as it did on pavement. The chamois's 3D construction, reinforced seams, and high-quality foam protected testers, and after a wash, it was ready for another go.


Shorts rated with similar padding and protection are the Castelli Free Aero Short. If you don't mind spending a bit more - and wearing a bib short - the SUGOi RS Pro Bib offers more protection and comfort than the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor.

Breathability/Fabric


Our testers found only one fault with this short — its lack of breathability. Granted, it's better than old-school wool shorts on a hot day, but with so many lighter options available, the Fit Sensor is a more appropriate choice for cooler conditions: a ride in early spring or fall when you want a little extra fabric.


The short also fared dismally in the soak test. If you are caught in a downpour, your ride will be long over, and you'll be back at home before the shorts even start to dry out. This test metric is one of the very few where the Castelli Free Aero and Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit perform on a higher level than the Fit Sensor.


Durability


The high-quality fabric in this Louis Garneau model feels like it could last forever. Throughout our dedicated testing, the short showed zero signs of wear. The reinforced seams and "folded over" edges prevent fraying that usually occurs on shorts that use the raw edges of a silicone strap around the legs.


If, however, you do find a defective seam (unlikely, given the way this short is constructed) Louis Garneau will warranty the defect for up to one year after purchase.


Style


Nothing is more classic than a basic black cycling short. While we can't tout fancy colors or cuts, this short offers a classic look, like one Aubrey Hepburn might have worn, had she been a cyclist. With an athletic and sleek design, these shorts look great on a bike.


If you want to "mix it up," the company also offers this short in a super-soft gray, but beware — the gray shows sweat like nobody's business. Take a hard ride on a hot day in them, and it will look like you had some issues. Even so, our testers loved these shorts. They are beautifully made and made to last. And the black colorway resolves the issue of broadcasting your sweat.


Best Applications


The Fit Sensor 7.5 is an excellent all-around short and a very worthy recipient of our Best Buy Award. Its design, fabric, chamois and overall fit made it an extremely comfortable short that made long rides in the saddle enjoyable. This pair excelled especially in its quality construction that made our testers remark that they would have no reservations about taking this short on a ride over 100 miles - and then, they did.

Kudos to Louis Garneau for offering a cycling short in something other than basic black. While the gray short is innovative and incredibly soft  it shows sweat like nobody's business.
Kudos to Louis Garneau for offering a cycling short in something other than basic black. While the gray short is innovative and incredibly soft, it shows sweat like nobody's business.

While some online reviews suggested the chamois did not offer as much protection as they hoped, our testers found nothing lacking with the protection provided. The short performed excellently across all our metrics except for the soak-test, where it took an exceptionally long time to dry, indicating that these shorts aren't the best for handling rainy or wet conditions.

Value


As our Best Buy Award Recipient, the Fit Sensor is the best option if you are looking for a short under $100 that can still look and feel like a quality product. No other short included in this review performed as well across our review metrics with such an affordable price. In fact, it was only out-performed by the Editors' Choice winner, the SUGOi RS Pro Bib, which has a considerably heavier price tag.

Comparable shorts and bibs might include the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit or the Shebeest Petunia Bib - but honestly, neither offers the comfort or protection that the Louis Garneau provides, and they both cost much more.

The Castelli Free Aero (left) and Louis Garneau Fit Sensor (Right) both are made with extremely high-quality fabric and it shows.
The Castelli Free Aero (left) and Louis Garneau Fit Sensor (Right) both are made with extremely high-quality fabric and it shows.

Conclusion


We love everything about this high-quality short, especially the apparent care that went into its design. With high marks for its fabric, durability, comfort, fit, and style, the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 is your best option for short, medium and long rides. If you are riding in extremely hot or wet conditions, there are better shorts out there for those specific demands, but for a short that is built to go the miles, it's hard to find a better option than this model offered by Louis Garneau.


Rebecca Eckland