While some brands of shorts allow the chamois to float or have multiple articulated panels, the padding in the Endura PRO SL bib shorts is available in different widths, for each size. And this feature proved to be noticeable and comfortable, even for someone with average proportions.
low-cut front and flat-laying, stretchy straps makes nature breaks easy; light compression at the low back and waist
compressive leg grippers are almost too snug and too sticky
The Endura PRO SL bibs’ differentiating feature is the three different chamois width options for each of six different sizes. The only quibble is the overly compressive and sticky leg grippers. Overall, I recommend these bib shorts for their chamois fit and lay-flat straps.
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There are so many high-quality bib short options available, that sorting out where to start finding the most comfortable pair can be a task in itself. While style might edge out performance for some, I value comfort and function over any other attributes for cycling shorts. And this is where the Endura PRO SL bib shorts distinguish themselves from the rest.
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Like many other brands these race-cut bib shorts are available in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL, but for each size, the Endura PRO SL bib shorts are available with one of three different chamois widths: narrow, medium, and wide, depending on the distance between one’s sit bones. Having previously had a bike fit which included this measurement, I knew I fell within the 135mm – 145mm range of the medium width chamois. If this measurement been less than 135mm, or greater than 145mm, the appropriate size would have been narrow or wide, respectively.
Endura Pro SL construction
The design of the chamois had me slightly apprehensive at first, as the material which is at the front-top-center of the pad looked to be anything but comfortable, especially in contrast with how Assos has executed the chamois in their shorts. But, just a few minutes into my first ride I had completely forgotten about this detail. And, having a chamois that was the right size is great, especially for longer rides.
There was no material to fold down the insides of my legs which would have me adjusting the shorts, nor messing with a chamois that is too narrow, forcing me to wiggle on my saddle to get the pad into just the right place. I even risked not using any anti-chafe to see how these bibs would perform, even when saturated with sweat: and the answer was no chafe during a two-hour sweat-fest. With an appropriate size chamois, there was enough pad for my needs, without extra to collect unnecessary moisture.
I expect race cut shorts to be compressive, to stay put once on and in place, and the Endura PRO SL did not disappoint. True to size, these performance-oriented bibs have quite the compressive fit, in line with what I’ve experienced with other brands at this price point. (Note: I’m 5’10”, just over 162 lbs, 31” waist, with a 30” inseam, so right in line with size M).
According to Endura, the PRO SL bibs were designed with additional lumbar support. The panels that wrapped my lower back and waist never felt overly constrictive. Important mid-ride nature breaks were easy to manage just by pulling down the front of the bibs.
I place great importance on bib strap comfort and function. I want the straps to have absolutely the lowest profile, stitching at attachment points must feel non-existent, and I prefer less material between the straps where they cover my shoulder blades. The elastic straps on the Endura PRO SL bibs provide plenty of stretch, and do not feel as though they are restrictive or have a “heavy” feeling—which sits really well over a repaired collarbone that gets “cranky” from time to time. While there is more material between the straps on the backside, it was not noticeable, even while riding indoors in less-than-optimal ventilation.
My only real quibble with the Endura PRO SL bibs are the leg grippers. While I like compression, I had to slightly adjust my expectations when wearing these bib shorts, as the cuffless ends of the leg panels with silicone grippers were pretty snug. While I do like the cuffless end of the leg panels, the size and tackiness of the grippers in these shorts were more than ample to keep them in place. And while this was not an issue that dominated my thoughts while I was wearing these shorts, I was aware of this when putting them on.
No matter the temperature or conditions in which I wore the Endura PRO SL bibs, they performed admirably. In cool weather, when knee warmers were appropriate, they didn’t allow any noticeable chill. And whether I was Zwifting inside and getting pretty sweaty, or on the road for a few hours in warm conditions, these bottoms did a great job keeping me dry and comfortable. And, just like the previous version of the Endura PRO SL bibs, these have been treated with Coldblack, and are SPF50+, to stay cool and protected from the sun in hot conditions.
The Endura PRO SL shorts have a few features which set them apart from others I’ve tried in the $175-$200 price range: smooth, lay-flat straps, light compression at the waist, and low-back, and an appropriately-sized chamois. And while I’m still getting used to more material between the straps, I’ll certainly plan on wearing these bibs to further my comfort level experience with this feature. After I stopped tugging at the leg grippers, and let the shorts settle into place, I found them comfortable for rides of varying length, across a variety of cool to hot conditions.