Endura Pro SL Bib Short Review
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
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Endura Pro SL Bib Short
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|Pros||Quick-drying, supportive, comfortable variable density chamois, three chamois size options, two inseam length options||Comfortable, dries quickly and wicks away moisture on rides, reduces saddle chafe, affordable||Supportive, targeted chamois padding, breathable, side pockets||Affordable, lean, supportive, cool||Very affordable, low chafe, tough material, supportive|
|Cons||Waistline may feel uncomfortable, medium chamois may bunch, regular inseam may be long for some riders||Pouch seams can chafe, threading might come undone||Grippers may slip, can be too tight, chamois may chafe some riders||Padding may hold moisture, stitching may degrade, less comfort on long rides||Lose 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 affordability||Awesome comfort and performance delivered at an easily accessible price||Good-looking endurance shorts that still perform on high-intensity rides||One of the all-around best performing road bike shorts for its price||It’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%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness (15%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ryan Baham
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