I have been using my 2010 Gore Xenon Sonic Bib Shorts (Bib Tights) since April 2011 so I thought it was time to write an update on how I have found them. I purchased the shorts from ProBikeKit in March 2011 for $138 dollars delivered to Australia. I ride pretty much daily and have three pairs of bibs on rotation so these bids have seen a fair bit of use over the past six months; enough for a review for sure.
First, the manufacturer’s Description:
The XENON SONIC seat insert is so thin it can scarcely be felt and yet if offers maximum saddle comfort due to state-of-the-art gel foam positioned at critical pressure points in varying degrees of density and thickness. For example, in the sciatic area the foam is extremely dense and perforated to allow maximum breathability and moisture transportation. This area also needs special cushioning which is provided by the new gel-foam inserts with their open cell structure and 35 million microcells per cubic metre. The new structure and materials in the XENON SONIC Insert not only ensure rapid moisture transportation and superb heat distribution but also reduce friction and provide total freedom of movement, while the special 3D ergonomic cut fits the male anatomy perfectly. These short bibtights have a highly sophisticated insert for long training or competitive rides.
Okay but how do they perform?
Well, I was attracted to these bib shorts as I prefer to wear bibs designed for longer rides, 100 km + as tour at these sorts of distances and ride Audax rides again often over 100 km in length. Â These bib shorts have met my expectations in respect to my riding comfort and are one of two pair of bibs that I have in rotation that I prefer to go to. The other pair are my Castelli Velocissimo bib shorts. The Gore bibs are good but I do feel that the Castelli edge them.
My bib shorts are 2XL and I have found the sizing pretty much spot on for me. I used the Gore Bike Wear sizing chart to confirm my sizing choice. I should clarify that I seem to “fit” pretty much comfortably in sizing ranges so don’t generally have an issue getting the size right, which means my experience may not be an accurate reflection of Gore Bikewear’s sizing chart. I do find these bib shorts a slightly looser fit than my Castelli Velocissimos.
The chamois or seat insert as Gore Bikewear like to refer to it, (where do they get these marketing people from?) is well red. It works. It is not too thin and not too think in my experience. It sits comfortably, does not shift around, does not chaff and I don’t find I get hot and sweaty from it. I do use chamois cream with it but, but then I use chamois cream with all my bib shorts. They are for sure a comfortable chamois and it works well on my ~ 100 km and longer rides.
Other Aspects of the Shorts
The shorts are a two tone with the upper portion of the shorts being white in colour with the lower portion being black. The upper (chest, shoulders. back) is made of a mesh material to assist in breathability. The side panels running down the side of the body are also of a fine mesh type of material (not see through) to again allow for ventilation.
On the side of the legs and on the bike there are reflective aspects as per the photos.
The legs have gripper materials to stop the shorts pulling up. These seem to be quite effective and I find I have no issues with the shorts riding up.
Wear and Durability
The care instructions provided by Gore Bike Wear are pretty standard:
- Warm machine wash
- Wash inside out
- Do not use fabric softener
- Do not tumble dry
- Dry or steam iron low
- Dry cleaning is okay as long as the solvent used is not trichloroethylene
I pretty much follow these washing instructions, washing my shorts in Vanish (formally Napisan) and washing powder in a front loader. I don’t use fabric softener and always line dry my shorts. The result is that after six months of use there has been no shrinkage or deformation in the shape of the shorts. All the threads are looking good and overall the shorts are wearing well.
In closing I am very happy with the shorts, they are comfortable, they are wearing well. Would I buy another pair? They would be on the short list for sure but I suspect I would probably go with another pair of Castelli Velocissimo over these unless the price was really good. I cannot quite put my finger on it but the Castelli’s just seem that more right than the Xenon. That said these are a good product and I feel I have got good value for money.