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Endura Pro SL Bib Short Review

The ideal meshing of performance, long-distance comfort, and reasonable affordability
Endura Pro SL Bib Short
Credit: Endura
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $200 List | $159.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Quick-drying, supportive, comfortable variable density chamois, three chamois size options, two inseam length options
Cons:  Waistline may feel uncomfortable, medium chamois may bunch, regular inseam may be long for some riders
Manufacturer:   Endura
By Ryan Baham ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Padding and Protection - 25% 9.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 9.0
  • Breathability - 15% 8.0
  • Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 15% 8.0
  • Style - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

After weeks in the saddle out in the elements and inside on the trainer, we found the Endura Pro SL to be the shorts we reached for most often. The decision to give them one of our Editor's Choice Awards was pretty obvious. It's because they're lean and supportive for hard tempo rides with lots of redlining in the drops, but comfortable enough for 5 and 6-hour days sitting up in the saddle, walking around coffee shops, and doing the start/stop relaxed buddy ride thing. Price was clearly a factor too. They sit below the premium tier, so they're within reach for most dedicated riders.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Quick-drying, supportive, comfortable variable density chamois, three chamois size options, two inseam length optionsComfortable, dries quickly and wicks away moisture on rides, reduces saddle chafe, affordableSupportive, targeted chamois padding, breathable, side pocketsAffordable, lean, supportive, coolVery affordable, low chafe, tough material, supportive
Cons Waistline may feel uncomfortable, medium chamois may bunch, regular inseam may be long for some ridersPouch seams can chafe, threading might come undoneGrippers may slip, can be too tight, chamois may chafe some ridersPadding may hold moisture, stitching may degrade, less comfort on long ridesLose comfort after a few hours, waist slips down, can be loose for some riders
Bottom Line The ideal meshing of performance, long-distance comfort, and reasonable affordabilityAwesome comfort and performance delivered at an easily accessible priceGood-looking endurance shorts that still perform on high-intensity ridesOne of the all-around best performing road bike shorts for its priceIt’s hard to find a better pair of starter shorts for the price
Rating Categories Endura Pro SL Bib S... SUGOi Evolution Bibs Sugoi RS Century Za... Castelli Competizio... Pearl Izumi Quest
Padding and Protection (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Breathability (15%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Style (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Endura Pro SL Bib S... SUGOi Evolution Bibs Sugoi RS Century Za... Castelli Competizio... Pearl Izumi Quest
Main Fabric Main: Elastane 22%, Nylon 78%. Trim: Elastane 20%, Nylon 25%, Polyester 55% Evo Plus (polyester/spandex blend) Ultra Aero, Mobil mesh Affinity Pro Lycra 80% recycled nylon, 20% spandex
Inseam Measurement 11" 9" 9" 10" (M) 9"
Number of panels 11 8 12 7 6
Fit Type Bib Bib Bib Bib Short
Chamois 700 Series PadEndura RC Pro Formula FX KISS Air2 Levitate
Weight 6.03 oz 7.08 oz 7.55 oz 5.68 oz 4.62 oz
Other Features Silicone grips, 50 UPF rating, 2 leg length options available on manu site. Compressive EvoPlus fabric, Powerband leg cuffs Stow pockets, Zap legband with silicone gripper, Mobil mesh Silicone grips, reflective details, flat-lock stitching, Vortex BLC textured fabric on legs BioViz reflective accents, silicone grips

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our approach to the Editor’s Choice isn’t always to go to the top shelf. We’re happy to select premium bike shorts when they make sense, but the aim is to find what’s both excellent quality and within reasonable buying range for our typical friends. That’s what you get with the Endura Pro SL bib shorts. You get the comfort needed for endurance rides and the supportive performance needed for hard, faster rides without feeling like it’s a giant financial commitment.

Performance Comparison


Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - the endura pro sl bib shorts ended up in our hands most often for...
The Endura Pro SL bib shorts ended up in our hands most often for our long rides.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Padding and Protection


The Pro SL bib shorts feature an updated 700 series chamois pad. It’s computer cut to Endura’s Continuously Variable Profile design, meant to reduce excess material where it’s not needed while improving material malleability to improve seated comfort and riding fit. This helps reduce hotspots a great deal in both crit-style rides cranked down hard in the saddle hammering for 90 minutes and on long relaxed rides sitting up, infrequently shifting position.


There were notes from some riders that bunching occurred, but one of the cool things about this line is that the chamois sizes come in narrow, medium and wide, so if a rider finds excess material is causing discomfort, they can just return and re-order a narrower pair. We didn’t experience this issue in our typical size medium.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - the endura chamois worked perfectly on our 4-6 hours rides. very...
The Endura chamois worked perfectly on our 4-6 hours rides. Very little bunching and few hotspots.
Credit: Ryan Baham

The pad is comprised of laminated multi-density open-cell foam with a soft anti-microbial Lycra cover to reduce both friction and the discomforts that arise from bacterial buildup. We didn’t find any unexpected friction or saddle sore-type issues or either long or short rides. In fact, they were the preferred shorts for long Sunday rides when we were putting in 5 or 6 steady hours on the bike.

Comfort and Fit


Endura employs a premium Italian Lycra treated with coldblack® for improved fit, feel, and UV protection. We haven’t noticed any undue burning or tanning under the material. Possibly the best quality of these cycling shorts is their tight, compressive fit. The main body is comprised of 22% elastane (spandex) and 78% polyamide (nylon). The nylon component keeps them strong and supportive while the spandex portion allows them to sculpt to the body. The unique lumbar support panel design aids in supporting the rider while taking some of the work away from the shoulder straps.


We found the lumbar support and waist design to be mostly helpful, but some riders might be less comfortable with its gentle squeeze around the sides. Certainly, on the post-beer and cruciferous vegetable days, it is a little less pleasant.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - even without scrunching up into the saddle, the endura pro sls are...
Even without scrunching up into the saddle, the Endura Pro SLs are fairly compressive, though not uncomfortably so.
Credit: Ryan Baham

The shoulder straps are comfortable too. There’s not much concern about getting rubbed raw anywhere that a strap might sit. Not only that, they’re effective suspenders too, keeping you locked in and feeling explosive.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - these robust suspenders do their job of keeping the shorts up and...
These robust suspenders do their job of keeping the shorts up and you locked in.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Leg grippers are noteworthy here. They’re so effective they’re actually an inconvenience when trying to put the shorts on. To say it another way: the grippers work really well with little to no slide and they feel fine after a day out on the bike.

We mentioned before that there are multiple inseam lengths, but we found that even the standard inseam length runs long, so you’re getting that Neopolitan ice cream frontier zone for tan lines if you swap between these and a few other pairs. Or else you’re pulling up a little slack somewhere near the crotch. It doesn’t really impact comfort or performance, but you get more wrinkles in the fabric. And only if you’re meticulous about maintaining a strict boundary of sun exposure on your mid-thigh.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - pristine tan lines might be a little tougher to maintain with these...
Pristine tan lines might be a little tougher to maintain with these slightly longer shorts.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Breathability


The most apparent aspect of breathability comes from the wader-style design. Almost the entirety of your back, stomach, and chest are left uncovered for improved aeration and reduced friction. Not only that, but the coldblack® treatment dramatically reduces radiation absorption, therefore limiting your heat exposure.


The chamois is also optimized to reduce heat and moisture. The Continuously Variable Profile design translates to an economical use of foam, cutting down on the mass of material able to hold heat and moisture, limiting the denser regions to small, concentrated areas directly under the heavy sitting spots. Not only that but the foam is bonded and laminated to help manage sweat. It’s all aided by a thinner mesh window at the front and a smooth nylon material covering the pad to help wick away excess moisture. Our testers, as heavy sweaters, are pretty confident that the design is effective.

Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness


When we look at this metric we tend to focus on wrinkles, type of fit, and how the padding rides. We did note earlier that there’s some degree of wrinkling that happens if you pull the legs up to maintain your tan line. Generally, we’re more concerned about loose material that might snag on your saddle or lack compressive qualities. That’s not a problem here. They’re sufficiently compressive to maintain enough squeeze to keep you feeling tight and ready. Importantly, they’re not so tight that you feel restricted in your movement. That’s likely owed to the high mix of nylon along with Endura’s pre-shaped panel design meant to move more naturally with the body.


The chamois is thankfully lean, so there’s not a lot of getting in the way when you’re hammering. We didn’t find any issues on any of our hard or long rides, but of course, if you do have an issue, you can always order the narrower version. This will be a hugely accommodating option for many riders.

We should also mention that the grippers did an excellent job of keeping the legs where we wanted them. It’s pretty distracting and sometimes uncomfortable when grippers fail and let the shorts ride up as your ride wears on. It can even allow material to bunch near the crotch and get caught on the saddle nose. No such issue with the Pro SL bib shorts.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - pedal friendliness usually presents itself when you're out hitting...
Pedal friendliness usually presents itself when you're out hitting that high, hard cadence. We had no problems in the Pro SLs.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Durability


We expect the Endura bib short to last a few good seasons without much degradation. The upper is 78% nylon, so it’s pretty tough (this is also what gives it so much supportive squeeze). You shouldn’t expect to see too much abrasion damage from the nose of your saddle with these.


The broad, sturdy shoulder straps are sufficiently robust to allay concerns of going ragged or losing their strength before a few years of regular riding. Maybe the most important area to consider is the chamois padding, which is a multi-density open-cell foam material with few signs of devolution and no reports that we could find. The same goes for the silicone grippers, though, like the logo lettering along the thigh, we suspect they’ll see some peeling and fraying at some point.

Style


There are two aspects of style with this particular model: slim, lean builds and supple builds. This might seem like a standard comment since bib shorts are necessarily revealing garments, but it has more to do with their specific design.


Pragmatic and ergonomic though they are, it’s somewhat unavoidable that squeezing into a pair of skin-tight compressive lederhosen-style waders will not produce the best public-facing presentation. Not all of us will look excellent in the mirror in these bib shorts. Consider the plight of the professional gear reviewer (that is, your average writer paid to read and write with 5 or 6 hours a week on the bike, not a pro athlete paid to be lean, to be competitive, and to pedal for 30 hours a week) who has to take pictures of himself in bib shorts, shirtless, for the internet to inspect and scrutinize. But that’s why we buy cool jerseys. If you’re buying these shorts, you shouldn’t be riding without a good jersey to soften the soft, unflattering outline sculpted by the shorts’ design.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - arguably one of our less flattering shots. good thing we're hitting...
Arguably one of our less flattering shots. Good thing we're hitting the brewery after the pictures today. You see what we mean about the overhang though.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Value


This area’s a clincher for these bib shorts. They’re steady performers with lots of support, long-distance comfort, and a wide range of customization that help them edge out other high-performing offerings. We think they’re a solid deal and feel comfortable giving them our Editor’s Choice.

Conclusion


When we choose our Editor’s Choice winners, we don’t just look for the most expensive, untouchable bike shorts out there this season. Sure, that’s something we generally want to try or use, but it’s more important that the shorts both stand out across our performance metrics and are reasonably affordable for the average rider. The Endura Pro SL bib shorts meet that expectation. And it’s not just that they’re comfortable, supportive, and good-looking. They also have a wider range of sizing options both for the two inseam length options and, crucially, three chamois sizes. We’re thrilled to see a brand offer more customization options to ensure shorts fit more body shapes and that goes into our decision to elevate these cycling shorts.

Endura Pro SL Bib Short bike shorts - climbing, spinning, cranking, or attacking rollers, the endura pro...
Climbing, spinning, cranking, or attacking rollers, the Endura Pro SLs are here for it and so are we.
Credit: Ryan Baham

Ryan Baham
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