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Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 Review

If you want a short that feels tailored and you are allergic to silicone, this pair has you covered
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Price:  $90 List | $89.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Beautifully constructed, reinforced seams, super-soft fabric, value
Cons:  Thicker fabric, slow to dry
Manufacturer:   Louis Garneau
By Rebecca Eckland ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 9, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Padding and Protection - 25% 8
  • Breathability and Fabric - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Louis Garneau Fit Sensor is a surprisingly pleasant find. 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. Obviously manufactured with care, the Fit Sensor offers a quality and thoughtful design, beautifully finished seams, and fabric so soft, you'll wish all your all clothes were made out of it.

While this short is definitely a high-performer, it misses the mark on breathability due to its thicker fabric. Granted, this makes the short more resilient in case of a fall (the Louis Garneau website claims the thicker fabric makes the short appropriate for road or the dirt), but our testers are strictly roadies and for us, this short just felt a little too thick.

Product Updated

Louis Garneau has updated the Fit Sensor with some new material and a cuff along the bottom. Check out a comparison below.

April 2020

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Fit Sensor vs. Updated Fit Sensor 2


Louis Garneau released the Fit Sensor 2 short since our test period. The updated short features a new honeycomb patterned fabric on the side of the thighs that is designed to be stretchier and more durable. There is also a seamless cuff along the bottom, which is intended to avoid bunching. Compare the two models in the images below. The short we tested is pictured first, and the updated Fit Sensor 2 is pictured second.


We're linking to the Fit Sensor 2 now, but as we haven't actually tested that updated version, the review below is still our account of the original Fit Sensor.

Hands-On Review of the Fit Sensor 7.5


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. Also, for those who might feel chafing on their legs due to exposed seams, this short boasts "no seams inside the legs, and a Powerband compressive cuff," meaning this short is smooth inside and out. Some testers thought the short was "a bit snug" and that ordering one size up than their usual wouldn't be a terrible idea.

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.

However, the primary complaint in the comfort area had to do with the thickness of the fabric. Intended to be "abrasive-resistant," the thicker fabric can feel a bit much on a hot summer day. 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.

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.


This short ranked right up there with our top performers in terms of the performance of its chamois. Heat stitched with finished seams to hold it in place, the chamois wicked sweat away from the skin while adequately protecting the rider for 6+ hour rides.

Breathability/Fabric


So here's where the short faltered a bit. The double-face construction (intended to enhance the moisture-wicking and body heat thermoregulation) may do exactly that, but the short also feels "heavy." To us, it literally felt twice as thick as other shorts included in this review.

Granted, it's better than old-school wool shorts on a hot day, but with so many lighter options available, we thought that 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.

Last year, 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 readily, so we bought it a second time in black. Interestingly, Louis Garneau no longer carries this light gray color.

The double-face construction of the fabric does enhance moisture-wicking and body heat thermoregulation. This short also takes its sweet time to dry if you are caught in a downpour. So, while it may wick moisture away from the body, it seems to soak up moisture from the outside (from rain, water from a puddle, etc.) and hold onto it for a quite a while.


Durability


The high-quality fabric in this Louis Garneau model feels like it could last forever. In fact, that's one of the major selling points of this short-- that it is built to withstand minor falls and scraps more so than other, thinner shorts. 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 basic black for cycling shorts. While we can't tout fancy colors or cuts, this short offers a classic look, with simple lines and a no-nonsense all-business in the saddle look.

If you want to "mix it up," the company also offers this short in a dark blue and "shiraz" (like the wine) color. Unfortunately, our testers didn't try these colors out but rest assured: both are much darker than the light gray the company offered last year, which showed sweat like nobody's business.

Bottom line: these shorts are beautifully made and made to last.


Best Applications


The Fit Sensor 7.5 is an excellent all-around short. The 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-- with smiles after all those miles.

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 in breathability, where it took an exceptionally long time to dry, indicating that these shorts aren't the best for handling rainy or wet conditions.

Value


The Fit Sensor is a great option if you are looking for a short under the hundred dollar threshold that looks and feel like a quality product and that can stand up to a beating. It's also a great short if you are allergic to silicone (there's no trace of that anywhere on this short), or you like wearing a thicker garment in cooler conditions. While it didn't win any honorable mentions, we definitely think this short merits your attention, especially with its modest price tag and high quality.

Having fun in the saddle involves not thinking about your shorts. The Fit Sensor helps you focus on the fun.
Having fun in the saddle involves not thinking about your shorts. The Fit Sensor helps you focus on the fun.

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 Women's Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 is a solid short for medium and long rides. However, if you are riding in extremely hot or wet conditions, you might want to check out others in our bike short roster.

Rebecca Eckland