The Louis Garneau (LG) Equipe Bib is advertised as the perfect choice for long days in the saddle. It incorporates the AirGel chamois, LG's most comfortable insert. The 10-panel construction, UV protection, and compression fit are all items that LG did well. However, although it scored well in breathability, fit, and efficiency/pedal friendliness, the Equipe Bib doesn't have the padding or protection to keep you going on the long haul. Weighing in at 222g, it is also the heaviest of any bib/short we tested. If you are looking for a bib that will handle any ride you throw at it, check out our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Giordana Laser Bibshorts. If you want a cycling garment for the shorter rides, our Top Pick Award-winning Castelli Velocissimo Due Short might be for you.
Louis Garneau Equipe Bib Review
Cons: Not enough padding/protection on longer rides, numbness, hand wash only
Manufacturer: Louis Garneau
Our Analysis and Test Results
Designed as a high-end, long-distance cycling bib, we find the Louis Garneau Equipe Bib to be adequately breathable but lacks in comfort and padding.
Louis Garneau uses their AirGel chamois for the Equipe Bib, and it is supposed to be the most comfortable insert they have. It is made with Crabyon fabric, used in wound healing, and is designed for long rides. When we first tried on the Equipe bib and took it for a short test ride, the chamois felt great. However, when we tried it on our longer rides, we were in for soreness like we had never felt before. Sometimes a chamois takes a few rides to break in, and it is a good idea to work up to longer distances (some soreness comes with the sport), but our seasoned seats still felt the brunt of the road on distances over 40 miles — hardly a 'long' ride for experienced cyclists.
Although we felt soreness, we did not have any issues with hot spots, chafing, or saddle sores with the AirGel chamois. In addition, the Crabyon fabric did a good job wicking sweat away from the area, keeping us cool and dry.
The Equipe Bib does well in this category, matching the Giordana Laser Bib for the top score in efficiency/pedal friendliness. The compression fit, low-profile chamois, and 4-way stretch fabric all contribute to this. The compression of the Equipe Bib is from the Lycra Power material, and the stretch is from the Lycra Pro fabric. This combination keeps the whole bib contoured to your body during any and all movements. While in the saddle, this means increased efficiency while your legs are pedaling. The support of the compression material reduces fatigue from road vibration, which also increases efficiency. The low profile AirGel chamois never caught or misaligned when we came out of the saddle on a climb, or while accelerating, allowing us to focus on form instead of readjusting.
The LG Equipe Bib's 10 panels and compression fit make for a comfortable ride. The fit feels appropriate all around the legs, especially the extra large compression leg cuffs. The Lycra material is soft and moves smoothly with the body while pedaling. The cut of the bib is nice in that it doesn't come too high in the front, and leaves enough skin exposure in the back to let heat escape. The inner thighs of the bib are seamless, and the rest of the seams are flatlock stitched to reduce friction on the skin.
LG took consideration in the fit and cut of the Equipe Bib, but it is hard for us to overlook comfort while in the saddle. Although the short course felt great in these bibs, they were designed for the long haul, where they didn't perform well at all.
The Equipe Bib is made from LG's Lycra Power and Lycra Pro fabrics on the bottom, and Power Mesh on the top. The bib straps are very breathable, becoming more porous as the fabric is stretched over your body, but the straps not as breathable as our Editors' Choice Award winning Giordana Laser Bibshorts. However the Equipe bib is much more breathable than the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. In-R-Cool Bib. The straps didn't trap much heat, and when we did exert more power, heat quickly dissipated. The panels that run along the outside of the legs are thinner than the rest of the short, which increases breathability while riding as well. The Lycra Power and Pro do a good job wicking sweat to the outside of the short, which kept us dry in the saddle.
The Equipe Bib strays from the all-black standard in road cycling garments. It is still about 50% black, but there are large swatches of red and white along the side panels of the legs, as well as having white mesh uppers. This is visually appealing, especially if you have a jersey that follows a similar color range (we do!). The cut of the bib stays just below the belly button in the front and has a 'Y' shaped cut in the back. The Equipe Bib is the most branded of the shorts/bibs we tested, with the Garneau logo quite large on each leg cuff and again, much smaller, on each side panel. There is an 'LG' mark above the back left glute and another Garneau logo on a small pocket on the lower back. This sounds like a lot, but the logos are incorporated nicely into the different shapes of the short and they don't stand out as much as the graphics on the Castelli Velocissimo Due Short.
The LG Equipe Bib is touted as the solution for long distance riding. In our testing, we found the opposite to be true – the Equipe Bib is better for low to mid distances in the saddle.
For the $150 price tag, we think you can do better. You are better off saving $15 and buying the Craft Performance Short, which can take you any distance, as well as cover you on your training rides.
While this bib is advertised as high-end and has careful fit considerations incorporated in the design, we think that other models of bibs are more comfortable and perform better. These bibs are only comfortable on short rides, and won't take you a full day's distance.
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Most recent review: March 22, 2014
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