Women’s Test Team: Women’s Bibshorts Review Part 1

Apparel Pro Review

Assos T.Lady_S5

Sizes: XS to XL
Color: Black
MSRP: $279
More Info: www.Assos.com

What The Manufacturer Says

The T.Lady is the new standard of performance in bibshorts, specifically tailored to fit the female body. The T.Lady has two lady-specific Assos innovations, the ABC Closure System specifically engineered to fit a woman’s body, creating the perfect female fit solution for bib construction. Providing total wearing comfort, by means of the Y-panel design that contours in between instead of over the breasts, it incorporates the ABC Closure System, which allows you to tailor the bib length to your liking and to more easily dress and undress.

The second patent is for the construction of the leg grippers. Instead of full-circumference leg grippers, Assos developed a sewing construction that allows half-circumference grip without losing stability, because the female body naturally stores bit more fat in the thighs, and the leg grippers on female shorts often provoke an esthetically unpleasing picture. Now women can enjoy a proper leg fit without the unflattering skin impressions.

Tester: Lisa Sumner (Size Tested: Medium)

Fit: The size medium was perfect for me and the straps were a good length. The straps come up the center of the chest and V’s out at the neck. Like the Hincapie shorts, the strap did end up fitting right around my neck when I was riding but this didn’t bother me. The leg length was good, just slightly above mid-thigh and the leg bands were of adequate tightness.

Function: The chamois was well placed and was a good thickness all around. It was very comfortable while riding. The front part of the chamois was about a half inch wider than the other chamois and fit my body type well. The buckle feature at the bottom of the strap is well constructed and has three different inserts allowing the straps to be adjustable. I also found this the easiest of the three bibs with “restroom capabilities” to use. It takes a bit of skill to get the strap up the back side of the jersey but once it’s over your neck it’s really easy to reconnect to make bib whole again.

Materials: Nice, smooth feel on the skin and no chaffing. But the material is thick, so on a really hot days it wouldn’t be my first choice. There is a lot of extra material that made me feel hot. But it also wicked away sweat really well.

Fashion: The bibs are black and sleek. They have contoured seam lines which I think is more flattering than straight lines and makes the bibs look really nice.

Additional Comments: I thought the chamois was really comfortable. Instead of just flat padding, the padding has small divots all throughout the chamois, which felt comfortable while riding. There was also a small sticky area only on the back of the leg bands for when needing knee/leg warmers. I like this aspect because it makes the leg bands more comfortable without the sticky material on your skin all over, but still allows for the functionality of holding up knee/leg warmers

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tester: Kate Powlison (Size Tested: Small)

Fit: I’ve always heard Assos has a reputation for tight-fitting clothing, so I was surprised when I tried on these bibs. They were some of the larger bibs I’ve worn lately. At first I was skeptical, but then I grew to appreciate how these bibs show very little thigh bulge around the grippers. The longish, slightly looser fit is flattering, sleek, and comfortable.

Function: I really wanted to like these bibs. On my hour-long lunch rides, they were easy, breezy, and beautiful. But two hours into a five-hour weekend jaunt, I was literally clawing the chamois away from my nethers. It’s much too thick, and the interior chamois seam is an X-marks-the-spot for saddle sores.

The Assos shorts share an adjustable, between-the-chest bib strap design with the Hincapie bibs. To me, the main benefit of this design isn’t avoiding large boobs — it’s the adjustable strap length. For women with an upright riding position, the shrunken bib straps of racing-oriented designs can feel too tight. For women with short torsos or aggressive bike positions, loose bib straps can slide and get in the way. I appreciate the adjustability of this design. However, the design also makes it a major pain to put the bibs on. For me, it brings back all sorts of bad memories of when overalls were in style. I ended up twisting the Assos straps or stretching them awkwardly over my head.

The way the bib strap falls in the center of my chest feels a bit stifling, though it doesn’t get wildly hot or uncomfortable on long summer climbs. Still, I’d prefer to be able to unzip my jersey and have the full breeze on my décolletage.

Materials: From first glance, it’s obvious these materials are luxurious and top of the line. I just wish the chamois wasn’t so thick.

Fashion: These bibs are both high-end and flattering. The minimal branding is a welcomed touch.

Additional Comments: Great bibs for an hour ride. Leave them at home on longer expeditions

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tester: Liz Barcheck (Size Tested: Medium)

Fit: I liked the length and overall fit of these shorts. The straps also fit well and were relatively easy to put on.

Function: I rode a few longer rides with these shorts (one ride 5+hours) and the chamois was really comfortable. It isn’t too big or bulky, and it stays in place. The weirdest/hardest part to use on these shorts are the straps. I basically needed to undress totally if I wanted to go to the bathroom. I did like that the straps had three different adjustable lengths, and the clasp stayed in place and was comfortable when riding.

Materials: I really liked the material, soft and comfortable. Seams are clean and on long rides I felt like these shorts were doing their job. The mesh on the back of the bibs helped keep me cool.

Fashion: I like the way these shorts looks, clean lines and appropriate leg length complimented my body type. Fellow riders also complimented me on the way these shorts look. The base of the shorts have the same elastic band as the Pearl shorts, but they didn’t give me sausage legs because the elastic only went around half of the base. I think this is a great design because it helped the shorts stay in place, but didn’t suck my legs in to create that “too tight” look.

Additional Comments: They fit well, stayed in place where I needed them to, and were flattering. The only downside to me was the design of the bib, and perhaps it’s just because I’m not used to the single strap between the boobs. I don’t personally like this design, and also find it extremely annoying that I have a circle of fabric that fits so closely around my neck rather than over my shoulders more.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Tester: Elizabeth Train (Size Tested: Small)

Fit: The overall fit was good, though the straps were a bit tight for me even on the longest setting. Nice leg length, good support.

Function: Getting into these bibs was a bit of a chore. I couldn’t push the little hook thing through the small narrow fitting … and in my haste to get it done, I punched the hook right through the fabric. It seemed to get easier after a few rides, but it still takes a little concentration. While it’s easy get these bibs off in a pit-stop without removing your jersey, it’s difficult to get them back on without taking off your top. Also unless you have a friend to help you out, it’s hard to tell if the back is twisted or not.

Materials: Aside from the aforementioned hooking issue, these bibs felt like they are made from high quality materials. They breathe well, offer great support, and are extremely comfortable. Nothing chafes or rubs. However, the chamois is too thick for my tastes. I’ve never had to lower my saddle to accommodate a pair of shorts, but that might have been the right move in this case. After my first ride in these bibs (a four-hour mountain bike ride) my hip flexors felt strained due to the unusual bulk, and I noticed slight discomfort on shorter rides, as well. For me it’s just too thick and too wide — especially through the crotch. However, the material and breathability of the chamois were great.

Fashion: These are solid looking bibs. Nothing too visually fancy, but there’s something nice — even elegant — about them.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5, which could be upped to 4 if the chamois packs out over time.

Next: Meet the Testers »
About the author: RoadBikeReview Womens Test Team

In order to better serve our readership, RoadBikeReview has launched a Women’s Test Team that’s tasked with reviewing gear and apparel made expressly for women. Our quartet of testers are all experienced cyclists, who each bring a unique set of perspectives and needs to the conversation. If you have questions for our testers or suggestions on gear you would like to see featured here, leave us a note in the comments section below or send an email to WomensTestTeam@roadbikereview.com.


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  • jay says:

    Don’t want to piss off Hincapie, he’ll rat you out.

  • Ashok Captain says:

    Greetings from India.
    I’m a guy, but ladies, a salute to all of you and roadbikereview for publishing such an honest review (instead of the usual ‘laterally stiff, but vertically compliant’ one usually reads).
    I have a bunch of women friends who cycle (racing to randonneuring) and will definitely send em this link.
    A review of women specific saddles (pl include Selle SMP, and the Selle Italia womens versions) with a mention of the testers sit-bone distance would definitely be worth doing.
    Happy, safe cycling,

    Ashok

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