Cool Gear: Lemond Bib Shorts By DeFeet
The package arrived just before I left for the Tour- very nice indeed – a pair of the all new Lemond bib shorts made by DeFeet. Of course I knew Lemond bikes, but admit I wasn’t so familiar with the Lemond apparel line. For sure I was keen to test ‘em, as what lay ahead were some of the best climbs of this year’s Tour…
The first thing I noticed about these “new” shorts was the daring low cut in the bib. Let’s face it, style is a personal thing, so all I can tell you is what I think, but I liked this low cut for a several reasons –
1. It looks better. I’m tired of wearing bib shorts that look like grampa’s pants hiked up the armpits, aren’t you?
2. They’re functional – now this may only apply to the men out there, but trying to maneuver extra inches of lyrca out of the way to find relief often results in misdirected spray (I think you know what I’m talking about here..). The lower cut offered much easier – and cleaner – access to your plumbing.
3. They’re cooler – feeling that is. Less fabric means less coverage = better ventilation = more comfort. No where was this more appreciated by moi than hauling my carcass (love that expression) uf Al;pe d’Huez in 37 degree Celsius heat. Granted, I felt terrible, but I don’t even want to know how bad it would’ve been with traditional-cut shorts.
Instead of sewing the short and adding the padding after, DeFeet starts with the one piece Air-E-aitor chamois. It’s based on their famous sock technology that has been keeping our tootsies cool for years, and is in fact patent-pending. The material itself is designed to move the moisture away from you’re sweaty spots in a hurry – which is a good thing.
Next they sew the short around the chamois – thus eliminating the boil-busting seams we’ve come to accept as a necessary evil of riding shorts, and resulting in an overall better fitting short.
The length is pro-cut – so shorter legs for a better tan and better heat dissipation.
Look- it’s me on the Tourmalet! Don’t laugh at my bike – you try lugging a laptop & 2 digital cameras around the Tour, then decide if you want to worry about your best bike too… And my 39×28 gearing was juuust fine!
So they sound great on paper but how do they work? I wore them on 6 rides during the Tour, in heat most of us never experience. Shorts are a bit like shoes – they all fit a little differently, so depending on your own shape, you usually gotta look for a brand that fits you. Now, at 5’8” and 135 lbs, I’m pretty standard for a cyclist, so finding comfy shorts is usually not a problem, and neither was the fit on the Lemonds’. I was wearing a medium, and initially found the chamois a bit bulky, wondering if a size-smalls was a better choice for a little guy like myself, but after a couple of hours in the saddle, I never thought about it again. The chamois stayed in place like it’s supposed to, and I did notice some refreshingly cool air sensations in the nether regions throughout my rides – more so at higher speeds. The low cut front performed beautifully under a number of conditions, ranging from standing behind trees, attempting to look inconspicuous beside a parked car, and even in a good ol’ fashioned euro-potty.
I even got a couple of admiring comments from fellow riders – which is never a bad thing. So if you need some new shorts – I say these are worth a look.