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Le Col Aqua Zero Therma bibshorts review

23 Oct 2017

An almost flawless pair of bibshorts that will see you through most of the year

Cyclist Rating: 
Comfortable, well-fitted and, most importantly, warm
Breathable straps could make this the perfect winter bibshort

A good pair of bibshorts are worth their weight in gold. Ask most experienced cyclists and they will tell you that if you are going to invest in a good piece of kit, you should probably start with your bottom half.

This is no surprise considering your backside is the main contact point between your body and the bike and it is your legs, after all, that get you moving.

Buy a cheap pair of bibshorts or tights and you will soon realise this.

On the other hand, just a few rides in the Le Col Aqua Zero Therma bibshorts was enough to convince me that this is one pair of bibshorts worth investing in.

Water-resistant, of thermal thickness and perfectly comfortable, these bibshorts from former pro Yanto Barker's ever-growing company are amongst the best I have tried.

The first thing that springs to mind is just how warm they truly keep you. 

When you first handle the shorts, it is noticeable that these are much thicker than usual, with the interior having more of a fleece-like feel as opposed to the usual lycra texture.

Put them on and start riding, and Le Col's promise that these will keep 'the chill off the upper leg during colder mornings' is quickly realised.

Luckily, my calves seem immune to the cold, so wearing these bibshorts without leg warmers, on a couple of rides where the temperature was flirting with single figures, I was left plenty warm and at no point wishing I had opted for tights. 

The top of my legs felt hugged by the fleece material and the Aqua Zero Therma bibshort kept me just as warm as a pair of heavy-duty, thick deep winter bibtights.

Of course, for those who want to keep their knees covered, Le Col's bibshort can easily be partnered with some leg warmers, keeping you warm from hip to ankle.

This leads me to the only area where I feel there's room for improvement. The fleece material continues up the high back and into the straps.

I appreciate the warm high back and the extra layer it provides but for me, more breathable straps would be an improvement, especially considering you usually have plenty of layers on your top half.

To partner the warm interior of these bibshorts, their exterior is a water-resistant Aqua Zero material that keeps the moisture off your body whilst also being fast-drying.

It goes without saying that water-resistant is not waterproof and if you ride in heavy enough rain you are more than likely to get a little damp. 

Yet, riding around in a downpour of fine rain, the likes of which Peter Kay promised will soak you through, I was kept dry, warm and most importantly happy.

A product that does such an impressive job of keeping you warm and dry often achieves this at the cost of comfort and performance. But not in this case.

In fact, far from being an area of compromise, just how comfortable these bibshorts stands as an actual strength. 

The relatively large Dolomiti Stelvio gel pad protrudes noticeably when sitting in the cafe but is perfectly comfortable on the bike, and comes into its own on a long three- or four-hour ride. 

The silicone leg grippers keep the shorts sitting just above the knees, at what I would argue is the perfect length, neither causing irritation nor riding up during frantic efforts.

Snug against the leg, these have been designed for racing outside of summer, and have no noticeable drawbacks that will prevent you going hard and fast for long periods.

At £150 for a pair of bibshorts, these are definitely towards the upper end of the market, but without doubt they have earned their spot in the top tier. 

Le Col has produced a bibshort that I will undoubtedly wear from now until next April, when the temperatures start to become more respectable again.

To be truly perfect is practically impossible, but as a product that will see me through over half the year and gives me a racier alternate to bulky bibtights, the Le Col Aqua Zero Therma bibshorts come pretty close.

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