Review: Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Apparel

gore-bibs gore-bibs-back

Subtle compression on the legs and mesh venting along the spine are two key features of the Gore Xenon Race Bibtights.

Why You Want

You’re looking for a high-end, lightweight pair of race-ready bib shorts designed specifically for long road rides — and you’re not scared off by the $220 price tag.

Pros

The best thing you can say about a pair of cycling bib shorts is nothing at all, as in I rode all day and never thought about them. With Gore’s top-tier Xenon Race Bibtights, mum is indeed the word. During several months of springtime testing in a variety of weather conditions (hot, cold, wet, on road, off road) there was no chafing, no numbness, no flapping, no digging, no binding and almost no complaints.

Subtle printing on the inside of the hem keeps the shorts in place without pinching or trapping sweat. Mesh around the abdomen and up the middle of the back improves moisture management and increases ventilation. Gently compressive fabric provides support without being constrictive. Reflective graphics on the sides, front and back improve visibility.

The shorts’ centerpiece is a well-placed male-specific chamois (sorry, ladies) which features a channel running down the center of the pad. This isn’t necessarily a revolutionary idea, but it’s executed well and kept numbness at bay. Gore also claims the shorts, with their three foam densities, actually helps dissipate road vibration. I can’t say whether there’s much truth to that claim. More likely credit goes to IsoSpeed decoupler on the Trek Domane Classic Edition road bike we rode during much of this test session. But there’s no denying the comfort of these bib shorts. And by using a multi-density pad versus something thicker, there’s less heat build up and they dry quicker.

gore-bibs-leg-gripper gore-bibs-chamois-channel

Legs are held in place via patterned grippers on the inside of the hem. A channel through the center of the men’s-specific chamois keeps numbness at bay.

Cons

I wont go so far as to call these shorts ugly, but there’s something undeniably plain about the look of our test pair. Flat black with basic red print and simple graphics just doesn’t grab the eye. (Gore also offers a slightly more inspired red/black/white version which you can view in the photo gallery below). But buying bib shorts on looks alone is like choosing a house because you like the mailbox. I also struggled to get the straps to lay flat. But again this was more an aesthetic nuisance than a comfort issue. Even when slightly twisted, the straps didn’t dig into my skin.

Finally, the $220 price tag can’t be ignored. While in line with comparable offerings from Assos, Pearl Izumi and Castelli, it’s still a significant chunk of change. My advice here is simply to ask yourself what need you’re trying to fill. If your longest rides are 1-2-hour spins, you could probably get away with a less expensive option and never know the difference. But if you’re a serious cyclist who logs big miles, there’s no denying the value of a top-flight pair of bib shorts, and the Gore Xenon Race Bibtights are top-tier in every way.

RoadBikeReview Final Take

Gore’s marketing spin asserts that they spent two years in the lab to create a bib short perfect for five-plus hour rides. We can’t confirm that lab time, but can confidently say these shorts deliver on their promise of all-day ride comfort and performance.

Rating 4 out of 5
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Black with red; Black, red, white
Price: $220
More Info: www.goreapparel.com

Review: Gore Xenon Race Bibtights Gallery
1
of
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Reflective accents on the subtly compressive legs.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Mesh along the back helps keep you cool.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

The multi-density men's-specific chamois.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

The center channel helps alleviate numbness.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

The shorts come with a wash bag.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Chamois placement is spot on.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

No binding at the legs. We like the longer length, too.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Grippers hold things in place, but don't trap sweat.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

A variety of materials are used.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Function trumps fashion with these top-tier bibs.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

The vented back is a one of our favorite features.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

Also available in red/black/white.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

The Gore Xenon Race Bibtights. MSRP $220.
×

Gore Xenon Race Bibtights

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


Related Articles


NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*