Best VFM high end summer shorts

Hi guys,

My 2015 Castelli Free Aero Race Bibshorts are giving up the ghost after 7 years of good service. Rather too many thin looking patches in inappropriate places.

I thought they were fine, 7/10. The pad is smaller than your rapha/la passione equivalents. Comfy, though it dipped a little too low for me on the front.

I'm a bit disappointed they've given up the ghost; that'll only be the second pair of shorts I've had to throw away for being too knackered.

Obviously the world has moved on since then and shorts are eyewateringly expensive nowadays so I'm looking for the same level of short, but ideally without a 3 figure price tag.


TL:DR: what's the best value for money high end shorts, and are there any really good ones for under £100?

I've seen some le col shorts that with the various discounts come under that, and they get good write ups, but I've read they are very long in the leg which doesn't suit me at all.
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Comments

  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    New high end Castelli in the Merlin sale at middle end prices?
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,165

    ...

    I've seen some le col shorts that with the various discounts come under that, and they get good write ups, but I've read they are very long in the leg which doesn't suit me at all.

    I'd say my Le Col shorts were priced correctly when on sale and with a Strava £50 off.
    I'd put them on par with Rapha Core, on a good day, and certainly no better.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,653
    https://www.pactimo.co.uk/collections/mens-cycling-bibs

    Best I've tried are Pactimo and they have some good discounts at present. The Ascent Vectors and Summit Raptors are both excellent.
  • I am a big fan of Endura Pro SL. You can easily get them online for under £100.

    https://sigmasports.com/item/Endura/Pro-SL-Bib-Short/PMGZ

    They come in two leg lengths and 3 pad widths, so a good range of options to suit different shapes and sizes.

    Think I bought two pairs in 2019, so got through 50,000km+ in them and hundreds of washes and still got life left in them.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,897
    edited October 2022
    https://www.merlincycles.com/castelli-free-aero-rc-bib-shorts-ss22-253064.html @ £85?

    I bought Free Aero 4s last year in XL, one size bigger than the L Endurace 3s bought a month previous, sizing was probably right except the leg grippers naturally wanted to be a bit slack.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
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  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,600

    I am a big fan of Endura Pro SL. You can easily get them online for under £100.

    https://sigmasports.com/item/Endura/Pro-SL-Bib-Short/PMGZ

    They come in two leg lengths and 3 pad widths, so a good range of options to suit different shapes and sizes.

    Think I bought two pairs in 2019, so got through 50,000km+ in them and hundreds of washes and still got life left in them.

    I've heard really good things about these. Any view on which width pad to get? Is it as simple as , big-wide, small-narrow?
  • I've heard really good things about these. Any view on which width pad to get? Is it as simple as , big-wide, small-narrow?

    Pretty much. It is done via matching pad width to saddle width. A link to the fit tool is below.

    https://padfit.endurasport.com/
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,181
    I think you'll struggle to beat the Free Aero Race from Merlin at £85 at the moment. There really isn't much better out there at any price and that's a great price for them.

    I really love my DHB Aeron Labs - not as good as the best of the best but as good as some of the other suggestions here - and they were £50 a month or so ago, but alas now up to £100.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,651

    I am a big fan of Endura Pro SL. You can easily get them online for under £100.

    https://sigmasports.com/item/Endura/Pro-SL-Bib-Short/PMGZ

    They come in two leg lengths and 3 pad widths, so a good range of options to suit different shapes and sizes.

    Think I bought two pairs in 2019, so got through 50,000km+ in them and hundreds of washes and still got life left in them.

    These are excellent shorts, I have a glut of them, from a time when somewhere (Rutland cycles possibly) had them for around £40 a pop, I kid you not.

    Mine generally get hammered on the turbo, and being of a certain weight, and using a narrow saddle, I went for the narrow pad, and long leg length, as the normal' ones were like hotpants - that may have changed by now.

    I've had issues with the grippers detaching, and also the pad giving up, and seperating in the middle, but these shorts get used the most on the turbo, so I don't really begrudge them that.
    Fair to say I still continue wearing them in this state, and they aren't causing me any issues.

    And it may well be that in 2022 the pad and gripper issues I have experienced have been sorted out.

    For me, vfm with a top quality pad, I would like to say La Passione, as I have a few pairs of the then 'classic' shorts that they made, but that was when they made 2 or 3 models.
    That one no longer exists now, so I can't hand on heart say that about any of their current range, as I don't own any of them.

    I tried Assos way back in the mists of time, and never got on with the cut of their shorts, or the ridiculously large nappy like pad - it's so long ago I can't recall the model, but I've never been back since, and have found ample other avenues for a very comfortable posterior.

    Generally if I want a easy choice of what to wear, it's likely to be a Castelli bib with a Progetto X2 pad, as they work for me very well.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
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  • https://www.merlincycles.com/castelli-free-aero-rc-bib-shorts-ss22-253064.html @ £85?

    I bought Free Aero 4s last year in XL, one size bigger than the L Endurace 3s bought a month previous, sizing was probably right except the leg grippers naturally wanted to be a bit slack.

    The SS21 version is £75 if you are of a fuller figure and want to save £10

    https://www.merlincycles.com/castelli-free-aero-race-4-bib-shorts-ss21-134942.html

    Not sure what the difference is, new ones are probably stiffer and lighter or something :D
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,600
    Do the castelli logos still flake off after 10 washes?
  • One can only hope so as they are hideous
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,600
    I dunno, the cracking on them and the gradual fade looks even worse.
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,181

    Do the castelli logos still flake off after 10 washes?

    Nope, on the AeroRace RC it's a sewn on rubber badge (and only one, which is small and discrete). Big improvement over older models.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,124

    I've heard really good things about these. Any view on which width pad to get? Is it as simple as , big-wide, small-narrow?

    Pretty much. It is done via matching pad width to saddle width. A link to the fit tool is below.

    https://padfit.endurasport.com/
    Endura keep messing with the sizing and fit. The longs are now stupidly long and the normal leg length the same as the longs used to be. And the straps are designed for people with fewer than the normal number of vertebrae.

    But the pads are in the right place for me, and that's the deciding factor. Suspect 90% of sames are medium width, just like the saddles themselves.
  • These are excellent shorts, I have a glut of them, from a time when somewhere (Rutland cycles possibly) had them for around £40 a pop, I kid you not.


    I have a recollection I actually bought mine based on your recommendation Dan!

    Some of the red rubber grippers have peeled away on mine but there is still plenty of grip to keep them in place. Bearing in mind the amount of use they are in good nick still.
  • Endura keep messing with the sizing and fit. The longs are now stupidly long and the normal leg length the same as the longs used to be. And the straps are designed for people with fewer than the normal number of vertebrae.


    That's handy to know, I wear the longer leg length in the older version. I noticed the strap change, they also look as though they are cut a little lower at the front than previous versions?

    Will bear that in mind when I come to replace mine.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,651

    These are excellent shorts, I have a glut of them, from a time when somewhere (Rutland cycles possibly) had them for around £40 a pop, I kid you not.


    I have a recollection I actually bought mine based on your recommendation Dan!

    Some of the red rubber grippers have peeled away on mine but there is still plenty of grip to keep them in place. Bearing in mind the amount of use they are in good nick still.
    That's nice to know :)

    I have some older ones with red grippers, and some newer ones with white grippers, and have had instance of both disintegrating, and more so in the red ones, spreading themselves all over the wash - a minor inconvenience I suppose, but it's a shame it could be better.

    Interesting to know the new long is even longer, as I am someone with long thighs I guess, fitting such shorts as the now sadly departed Castelli Omloop :-(
    Having said that, cut lower at the front is not a positive to my mind.

    I think I have about 4 in rotation for commuting/turbo/training duties, and I'm virtually certain I have at least 2 nos ones stashed in a box under my bed awaiting use, which will surprise plenty on here I am sure :D
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Top of the range Merlin own brand are very good and for 50 quid a bargain!

    https://www.merlincycles.com/merlin-wear-elite-cycling-bib-shorts-78605.html
  • Endura FS Pro 260, only £55. I bought a second pair after trying them and the blue looks nicer than the black IMHO
    https://www.wiggle.co.uk/endura-fs260-pro-bib-shorts-1?sku=109758602
  • I've got a few pairs of Le Col shorts, as they usually seem good value when on offer. Currently own x1 pair of Pro bibs (1st gen), x1 pair of Hors Cat bibs (1st gen), and x1 pair Pro bibs (2nd gen).

    First pair of Pro bibs, I found the leg "grippers" awfully inadequate and went baggy after a few rides. Stitching on inner thing also came undone.

    Pair of HC bibs- absolutely awful. Stitching again coming undone on inner thigh, AND outer thigh. Le Col gave me a 50% discount against these on another pair of shorts, so I got a pair of the later gen' Pro bibs. Haven't worn these yet, but at least the leg grippers seem better.

    I think generally their shorts are pretty poor with regards build quality, which is a shame as I like the insert in the Pro bibs. I've also got a cpl of their jerseys (1st gen Climbers s/s and long sleeve Aqua Pro thingy), and the quality of the upper garments seems much better than their shorts.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,165

    ... I've also got a cpl of their jerseys (1st gen Climbers s/s and long sleeve Aqua Pro thingy), and the quality of the upper garments seems much better than their shorts.

    I would concur. Good quality and fit.
    That said, upper garment suffer much less from wear and tear in the first place.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,491
    edited October 2022

    Endura FS Pro 260, only £55. I bought a second pair after trying them and the blue looks nicer than the black IMHO
    https://www.wiggle.co.uk/endura-fs260-pro-bib-shorts-1?sku=109758602

    Got 2 pairs of these which can always be found for a decent price. The pad isn’t quite as substantial as castelli for example but I find the fit more comfortable. Good value bibs.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • hpaul
    hpaul Posts: 114
    Giordana frc Pro is good value, guy on ebay does them. Good pad and low cut on bib.

    Castelli in merlin probably as good as you will get currently. I really like rapha core pads, not keen on bibs. Assos bib and pads are great but I hate the grippers. I also have the endura sl pro in medium pad, but my hole isn't dying about them past the 2 hour mark.
  • Wheelspinner
    Wheelspinner Posts: 6,591
    hpaul said:

    Giordana frc Pro is good value, guy on ebay does them. Good pad and low cut on bib.

    Castelli in merlin probably as good as you will get currently. I really like rapha core pads, not keen on bibs. Assos bib and pads are great but I hate the grippers. I also have the endura sl pro in medium pad, but my hole isn't dying about them past the 2 hour mark.

    I do not understand this phrase at all.

    Moreover, I am fairly certain I *do not want* to know. 😬
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  • seanoconn
    seanoconn Posts: 11,491

    hpaul said:

    Giordana frc Pro is good value, guy on ebay does them. Good pad and low cut on bib.

    Castelli in merlin probably as good as you will get currently. I really like rapha core pads, not keen on bibs. Assos bib and pads are great but I hate the grippers. I also have the endura sl pro in medium pad, but my hole isn't dying about them past the 2 hour mark.

    I do not understand this phrase at all.

    Moreover, I am fairly certain I *do not want* to know. 😬
    I think he rides without a saddle!
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    seanoconn said:

    hpaul said:

    Giordana frc Pro is good value, guy on ebay does them. Good pad and low cut on bib.

    Castelli in merlin probably as good as you will get currently. I really like rapha core pads, not keen on bibs. Assos bib and pads are great but I hate the grippers. I also have the endura sl pro in medium pad, but my hole isn't dying about them past the 2 hour mark.

    I do not understand this phrase at all.

    Moreover, I am fairly certain I *do not want* to know. 😬
    I think he rides without a saddle!
    Then I'd recommend the narrow pad.
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    Been using the LenCol Sport bibs and have no problems with quality. Lasting well in the wash, no issues with grippers or stitching coming undone. Legs seem slightly longer than some but not overly long. Think they're better than the Enduras, which were good but died on the turbo - frequent washing took the ping out of the lycra. Currently using 54 Degree shorts on the trainer and they've been quite resilient. Quite cheap through PBK and better than just for turbo use.
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,181
    The Castelli at Merlin that were on sale are now insanely good value with an extra 10% off.

    Endurance 3 would tick all the boxes and are £58.50. The Free Race RC are £76.50. If you're after VFM then I would go for the Endurance - loses out on the fancy aero fabric but has the Progetto pad and would be just as good for long summer rides in the UK.

    Only problem is they are Saville Blue rather than black, but it's a pretty dark and smart colour.