Panache Eleven bib short review£158.64

Shorts that can stand the heat

BikeRadar score4/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Panache Cyclewear’s Eleven bib shorts are purpose-built for scorching summer heat. They feature a Lycra Power body and mesh side panels with additional perforated panels down by the leg openings and for the bib section. 

Out in the heat, the combination allows a considerable amount of cooling air to flow right through and the mesh construction lends a decidedly light feel – just what you want when the sweat starts to flow.

On the flipside, this is definitely a hot-weather-only garment. Unlike most other shorts on the market, the Panache Eleven bibs are so meshy and airy that additional layers are an absolute requirement for temperatures significantly below ‘Africa hot’.

The Elevens fall squarely in the premium end of the pricing spectrum – well into Assos territory, in fact – and will likely be a tough sell given Panache’s newcomer status and unproven label, and the somewhat derivative styling.

But that price buys you true ‘made in Italy’ quality plus some particularly well thought-out details. For example, rather than sew a separate layer of gripper tape on the leg openings, Panache owner and designer Don Powell simply stitches it onto the end of the panel to minimise overall thickness on the front half. 

In addition, the grippers are little more than a sparse array of extra-shallow silicone dots for a feel that is noticeably freer than most conventional banded construction.

On the back of the leg, a paper-thin layer of silicone is laminated onto the panel and the whole thing is cut clean for the utmost in minimalism.

About the only downside we’ve discovered over nearly half a year of testing is that the laminated gripper section is best left to line- rather than machine-drying lest you run the risk of peeling at the edges.

Long-term comfort is superb as well thanks to a Cytech EIT (Elastic Interface Technology) stretch chamois with just the right amount of padding and coverage.

Powell admits that he chooses one of Cytech’s mid-range inserts, preferring the supposed extra elasticity that comes with stitched – rather than laminated – construction. We couldn’t notice the difference, but we’re not about to argue after logging countless hours without a single saddle sore.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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