Search and State S1-S bib shorts£136.00

Luxury bibs handmade in the US

BikeRadar score3/5

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 and very comfortable for all-day rides, but be warned - its look is anything but flattering when you're off the bike:

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.

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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