The 2XU – Cycle Bib Shorts are part of 2XU’s winter range. While they have a standard weighted fabric (220 grams per square metre) they are promoted as providing “maximum warmth”. They’re also claimed to provide “muscle support” though are not labelled as “compression shorts” and in fact use a different fabric than is usually used for compression.
First and firmost, the chamois is 2XU’s “Fusion PRO”. It is their top of the range chamois and has different thicknesses of foam throughout. The thickness is actually labeled on each part, just in case you were overly interested in what’s going on down there.
The chamois is quite firm, so it provides good support and is very comfortable, even on long rides. Because of this firmness, it resists bending and stays flat and stiff while out of the saddle. What that means is that it’s very unlikely to get creases in it while riding. This is particularly important as those creases provide a pressure point on which a saddle sore can develop. Although it’s a very subjective thing, the “Fusion PRO” chamois competes with all but the very highest quality foam-based items.
The rest is a mixed bag. The fit is generally quite good. As you would expect from a high quality pair of bibknicks, the braces are designed for the riding position and definitely not for walking around in.
Unfortunately, the brace material does not have a lot of elasticity. What this means is that if they fit you perfectly, then that’s great, you’ll be very impressed. If you’re proportionally tall and skinny in the legs, you’ll find them digging hard into your shoulders. Conversely, if you’re proportionally short, you may struggle to get them tight enough. This is a shame, because 2XU spend a lot of time espousing the benefits of compression wear and in this case, your sizing decision has to be based on the length of the knicks, not the fit of that compression. The standard length shorts have the same issue.
In our opinion, if you can try on a pair that fit your lower half well, you can get away with a pair that are a bit loose on the shoulders (if you’re lucky enough to have those proportions). This is because the rest of the material holds its shape well and actually feels quite supportive even without the braces on.
The ? style does provide what 2XU describe as “muscle support” and 2XU branded ? length cycle shorts will likely trigger the word “compression” in just about anyone’s mind – after all, this is what 2XU has built their brand on.
The actual benefits of compression as far as improved performance on the bike may be debatable*, but they do feel good. In fact, the relatively firm fabric compression through the knee area feels pleasantly supportive – it makes you feel more efficient. It’s a bit like wearing a new pair of socks. It feels good but heaven help you if you try to describe it.
*On the other hand, compression wear has been proven to have an effect on recovery, but please don’t go wearing your cycle shorts for 3 hours after a ride, it’s just not healthy from a bacteria perspective and it’s definitely not euro-cool.
The 2XU – Cycle Bib Shorts are a high quality pair of bibknicks from a technical point of view. For the price (RRP $240), you’d expect that. Are there other shorts that provide the same level of quality and performance for less money? Maybe. Though do yourself a favour and get the right size and fit because in the premium segment for cycling wear, the size of your investment will not make ill-fitting gear magically perfect.
2XU gear is available in 2XU Stores and bike shops across Australia as well from the 2XU online shop. www.2XU.com