Search and State S1-S bib shorts £136

Luxury bibs handmade in the US

BikeRadar score 3/5

Search and State's S1-S bib shorts are sewn in small batches in the garment district of New York City. Riders who pine for how things used to be done will find a lot to like in the excellent build quality and classic styling, but racers constantly in search of the cutting edge will probably want to look elsewhere.

  • Pros: Superb construction quality, made-in-NYC pride, comfy chamois, smart gripper construction
  • Cons: Unrefined cut doesn't reflect the price

High handmade quality means rigorous stitching, neatly finished edges, and carefully matched fabric pieces throughout. After two months of regular use (plus frequent washes in a 30-year-old machine that isn't exactly kind on delicates), our bibs still look and feel new.

Moreover, the S1-S shorts are extremely comfortable, with a notably silky, barely there feel to the US-milled fabric. Leg grippers are backed with a fuzzy surface, and instead of a continuous string of silicone – which can feel clammy on warm days – there's a line of rubber dots. Likewise, the bib straps are made of very open mesh to help keep your upper half cooler in hot weather.

Down below, the multi-thickness stretch chamois is wisely sourced from Cytech. Though it's not the most flattering off the bike, it's a pleasant place to spend a day in the saddle, with ample padding and good placement for road riding.

The Cytech stretch chamois is well placed but not flattering off the bike

Unfortunately, we're not huge fans of the S1-S' fit. Despite falling toward the upper end of the stated range for a medium, we found the feel to be looser than we would have preferred, with virtually no compression to the fabric or pattern. The legs also seem a touch short. Going down a size would have helped with the former problem but exacerbated the latter.

Riders who aren't big fans of ultra-tight cycling shorts will probably be perfectly happy with the Search and State S1-S bibs. But we'd like a more refined fit that better reflects the premium pricing.

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