ROAD TEST: ENDURA Womens FS260-Pro Bibshort DS
As a female triathlete one of my biggest pet peeves when cycling has got to be, having to go to the toilet in the middle of a ride. Not because I have to stop, potentially slowing my average time on Strava, but because it generally means that I have to strip off every possible layer before I can finally use the toilet. Yes, it means effectively sitting on the toilet in the nude. Freezing temps make this worse in winter, and generally mean you’re peeling off 101 layers, from your wind vest, then your jersey, followed by your undershirt, and hoorah! You’re finally at your knicks! What a process! Exhausting just thinking about it.
I’ve never been one to opt for non-bibbed knicks. I much prefer bib knicks because they’re much more comfortable, in my opinion. I’ve had a few fun adventures with different styles. From men’s knicks, which while comfortable have never really sat as nicely or were as flattering to the female form as most women’s specific bib knicks are, to female specific bib knicks with mesh bibs that crossed over the bust area (your boobs!) in some sort of porn-inspired design. Not to mention the aforementioned toilet factor.
So when asked to try the new Endura Bib short DS, with a drop-seat (DS) I was instantly excited! That’s right – A. DROP. SEAT. This is effectively an inner zipper, which sits across your lower back, allowing you imply to unzip the drop-seat when you need to go to the toilet. Ladies, say goodbye to peeling off every piece of clothing before being able to use the toilet. Finally, a very clever answer to the toilet issue!
To road test the knicks, I wore them during a few of my long training rides. My main goal was to test out the drop-seat. I was also keen to check out the comfort factor too. Just imagine, if knicks that allowed you to go to the toilet in comfort, while also being comfortable, supportive, durable and flattering – sold! Where’s my credit card?
I’ll admit, heading out on that first ride in the knicks made me a little anxious. A zip anywhere near the nether regions when you’re commando underneath is a little nerve wrecking. I was worried there would be a full moon out! I did also say a little prayer for the zip not to catch or get stuck during a toilet stop 30km from home, but the knicks are quality.
The Drop-Seat (DS):
This is one of the best features of the knicks. In fact, why hasn’t somebody thought of this sooner? You wonder if the zip catches and gets stuck or if it pinches your skin. Well, I’m happy to report the inner zip is hidden, cleverly disguised and unobtrusive. In fact, just looking at the knicks you can’t tell that there’s a zipper there. The zip also sits higher, across your lower back. This means that it doesn’t move while you’re out riding so there’s no friction and chaffing. What’s more, the zipper is so well made that it doesn’t cause chaffing on the inside near the seam and has a flap of soft material at the end of the zipper, which keeps it from rubbing.
While I haven’t pinched my skin at this point when using the zipper of the drop-seat, common sense and care needs to prevail when zipping and unzipping the shorts. Clearly, if you’re not taking care, you may pinch your skin with the zipper but only a minor potential issue.
A non-cycling or triathlete friend once asked me – ‘why do cyclists knicks?’ My answer: ‘comfort’. When you’ve got hundreds of kilometers to ride, you want to be comfortable. There’s a reason knicks were invented. If things didn’t get nasty out on the bike sometimes (hello welts!), we’d all be wearing gym gear.
When looking for knicks, comfort is one of the most important factors I look out for. Who hasn’t put on a new pair of knicks, with a new, well-padded chamois and felt amazing? The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS does not disappoint in the comfort factor.
They are also not too short. I find knicks that are too short unflattering especially when I’m in peak training and my thighs have become muscly machines. They fit well, the broad silicone leg grippers aren’t too tight around the thigh and are flattering; there are no unwanted lumps and bumps and blood circulation does not get cut off – perfect for the female rider.
Next to comfort, another factor I look for when buying knicks is durability. The stretch fabric feels durable. It’s like you can wear it and put it through the washing machine time and time again without it sagging, fading and common wear and tear. This is great for anyone cycling multiple times a week! I’ve had knicks before that have fallen apart only months after purchasing. A quality garment is so important. Not only for comfort but also for durability. When you pay a hefty price for a product you expect it to last. After multiple uses and washes, these knicks are still like brand new. Well-done Endura.
While most new chamois are comfortable, sometimes they can have poor stitching, too little or too much padding and they might not be positioned right. I’ve had knicks that came with chamois positioned largely to the back. I mean really, who needs that much padding back there, unless you’re sitting up for the entire ride? This then meant as soon as I was in my TT position I was left with very minimal padding at the front. Ouch!
According to bicycling.com a ‘good chamois should prevent chaffing, moving with you on the seat (so it should stay in place – fit well) so your skin doesn’t rub’. The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS certainly meets this criterion.
The site also suggests that the ideal level of chamois thickness “depends on how you sit on the bike. Prefer an upright position? Look for a multi thickness pad with extra rear cushioning. If you ride more stretched out, try a pad with even thickness and multi density foam”.
The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS chamois is almost like a panel of padding, meaning that there’s padding in places you’ll need padding, and no padding where you don’t need any. This further adds to the comfort factor – the chamois doesn’t rub or ride up inappropriate places and there’s also a good amount of padding both at the back and the front.
Lastly, the seamless stitching means that there is no potential cause of unwanted rubbing and chaffing. It may also mean that the knicks will potentially last longer too.
The bib is lightweight with a mesh upper, making it super comfortable. It has a high cut back, which helps the straps stay in place, which means the bib is secure. The straps are positioned down the side of the torso, over the arms and don’t cross the bust. I find this much better and more comfortable compared to bibs that cross the bust. It’s also a lot more comfortable and flattering to the female form. The bib armholes are bound with Lycra. This adds to the comfort factor and prevents the material cutting-in or chaffing. I certainly found this to be true.
Looking good on the bike is just as important as feeling good – right? While some cycling kits available on the market are a little, unflattering to say the least, the design of the Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS is fashionable and sleek with neat reflective logos on the thighs. I think they look great! I paired the knicks with Endura Wms FS260-Pro Jetstream Jersey in white (also comes in red). It’s lightweight, wind blocking and fits well. It has good-sized back pockets for gels, spare tubes and canisters. One pocket is zipped – a great, secure place to put your keys! This jersey is goes perfectly with the knicks.
So really, I’m a fan! The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS have become my new benchmark for cycling knicks. The design is great; the shorts are sleek, flattering, comfortable and fit well. Best of all, there is no more peeling off 101 layers to go to the toilet!
Photos: Supplied by ENDURA