The Power 3.0 Bibs did exceptionally well across the board. There were only a few spots where it could have improved to the point of earning our Editors' Choice, which went to the SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs last year and the Assos T Equipe Evo this year.
We felt that this was such a good buy because it had consistent performance and mainly because we thought it was a more durable product that we could depend on for longer than some of the products that were outstanding in other categories and its overall average performance tended to beat out other products' average performance.
The Power 3.0 Bibs were fairly plain, but the panels and segmented sections can bring some degree of visual appeal. For riders who enjoy the no-games look, its solid black option has some allure. The blue and red options have a sort of 1980s vintage running shorts look, but the kind you find in an old picture of your dad in uncomfortably short, fig leaf-esque pastel things, not in an endearing "Don't you miss Queen" kind of way.
We gave these a slightly above average score but found that last year's Editors' Choice, SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs to be a measure more appealing, being the most stylish among the bibs. The overall most stylish were the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts. If style is your aim and you don't mind wearing shorts, consider the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts. If you are looking for a pair of stylish bibs, consider the SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs.
Conducting side-by-side comparisons with the Gore Bike Wear Power 3.0 Bib Tight Short+.
Gore's elastic interface chamois claims that it has superior moisture transport and the "best breathability," and it seemed to have above-average breathability. We found that the chamois dried among the fastest in our cohort and they didn't seem to hold much sweat on longer rides - something that's appreciated on cold days when you stop at lights and realize that your shorts are soaked with sweat and now you're starting to freeze. We rated these bibs high up in our ranking and can solidly recommend them as breathable bibs.
But if breathability is your end-all, be-all, there are two others to consider. The Power 3.0 was just behind the SUGOi Evolution Pro. The SUGOi includes a high very high blend of polyester, which tends to be more hydrophobic than other clothing fibers.
Padding and Protection
Gore said of its Power Men seat insert that "extensive R&D" led to "the most comfortable cycling shorts ever." This claim seems to be a bit of hyperbole. The multi-density foam padding was pretty comfortable immediately upon sitting, but after warming up and really getting into a ride (you know the point in a hard ride where you're putting out the solid efforts and taking pulls just below threshold to psych your friends out and drop the weenies), they became noticeably less comfortable. At least some of this complaint can be explained by the size of the chamois. At least for this rider, it is a bit too wide, so the rider ends up sitting on folded material, which begins to feel like a cloth brick after 45 minutes of upper body weight grinding into a road saddle.
It's also worth pointing out that the chamois might be more comfortable for those closer to the Lightweight and Featherweight categories, rather than our reviewer/editor who's closer to a heavy Light Heavyweight. For those who do not fit the "well-fed" category or who have broader hips, this is probably a more comfortable chamois. There were no other pads that stuck out as exceptionally comfortable from this cohort, aside from the Zoot Active Tri shorts, which have only a fleece pad. The fleece was surprisingly cozy, but it is certainly not a long-distance pad. Other noteworthy pads were the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 chamois, and the SUGOi Evolution Pro chamois.
Top chamois/padding. Zoot Active Tri shorts (top), SUGOi Evolution Pro bib shorts (bottom, left), and Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts (right). Note the malleability of the Zoot fleece padding as well as the highly concentrated padding of the two chamois below, especially the narrow neck along perineal channel to prevent folded padding.
Eight panels and a shifted seam do make a difference with these. Some of the rougher bibs and shorts tend to rub and saw as you ride and hours of salt and lubricating sweat and oil tend to exasperate the matter. Gore did an interesting thing here, and it makes a positive difference. However, as mentioned in the portion about the padding, the chamois seemed to be a bit oversized while the overall yardage of the front of the crotch was limited, so it pinned matters down a bit too much and made adjusting uncomfortable, especially on longer rides. This issue might not be the experience of riders with different body configurations, but we felt it was enough to knock the score down to about average.
If this measure is your go-to, we recommend taking a look at the two top-scorers in this category, the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 and the SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs. Both pairs are supportive enough to help you keep your form but sufficiently flexible to allow for easy adjustment and free movement. We wholeheartedly recommend the SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs, given their broadly high scores across all our measures.
Gore Bike Wear Power 3.0 Bib Tight Short+.
Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness
The Power 3.0 made for a very sleek, smooth fit. These 8-paneled bibs with their interesting seam design were very flexible, despite the uncomfortable layout of the crotch/hip area. In terms bibs that worked with and for the rider, these were pretty close to the top. They rightly earned their high rank in this category, perhaps owing to their high mix of elastane (spandex). We ranked these bibs alongside the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts and Performance Elite bibs, both of which also had a lower mix of robust, unmalleable nylon. The highest scorer in this category was the SUGOi Evolution Pro, so those might be a better option if you are most concerned with this category.
Gore used a fairly straight forward 78% polyamide (Nylon), 22% elastane (Spandex) mix for the bottoms and 87% polyester, 13% elastane for the mesh top along with regular elastic for the wide leg gripper. However, elastic grippers tend to wear pretty quickly. Further, some reviews complained about seams, but there were very few of those, and our experience led us to conclude that these would get through quite a few seasons for avid riders.
We rated the Power 3.0 highly, scoring alongside the Performance Elite Bibs and the Zoot Active Tri shorts. While the Gore Power 3.0 shorts are not at the top of the durability scoresheet, they are still high scorers, and we stand by their placement as the Best Bang for the Buck because they did so well overall and have a reasonably high rating in this category.
The Gore Bike Wear Power 3.0 Bib Tight Short+ body is made up of 78% nylon and 22% spandex and the mesh is 87% polyester and 13% spandex.
The Power 3.0 are all-around good bib shorts. We tested them in spin classes and on the road, everything from quick hour rides to three hours in the saddle. We have to say that these are mid-distance workhorses that will serve you for many seasons. Rides over 2 hours might start to wear on your butt, but the chamois is a good bet for anything up to that point. They also do well in the cold because they do a good job of wicking away moisture, though their thinness lowers the threshold for having to add an outer layer once temperatures dip below about 55.
The author out testing the Power 3.0 bib shorts.
At $119, the Power 3.0 is well worth your money. Cycling bibs are generally expensive items, and it makes us cry when our expensive gear wears out quickly. These bibs are strong and well designed to last a good many seasons without needing to shell out for another pair. The SUGOi Evolution Bibs are comparably priced, but they will likely need replacement sooner. The Performance Elite Bibs are only $79.99, but because they don't deliver the same level of performance, we felt that it would be better to invest in the higher performance, but without paying a premium.
The Gore Power 3.0 had consistently above average scores along with their high durability. Their great durability was one of their biggest strengths and a major factor that went into such a high score and the assessment of their value. Some riders want showy clothes, some want high-performance material, and some want to sit on pillows, but these shorts find the optimal median between those factors. And the fact that they're able to last for longer than a season before threading comes out and the padding wears down, and the seat begins to sag, is just the cherry on top.
The tester conducting side-by-side comparisons with the Gore Bike Wear Power 3.0 Bib Tight Short+.