Try as we might, we couldn't find anything significant wrong with Descente's impressive Strata Endurance bib shorts over six months of testing both on and off-road – but an awful lot that we really liked.
Fit is spot-on with a perfectly snug and appropriately cycling-specific cut that's slightly tight up front and loose out back when upright but right at home when in cruising position on the bike, just as it should be.
Flat-locked seams are intelligently placed to prevent any skin irritation and airy, lightweight materials throughout plus a fairly minimal mesh bib section provide great breathability in hot conditions.
Descente's multi-thickness, seamless stretch Infinity chamois has also proven to be a hit, virtually disappearing beneath you on long rides without being excessively big or thick. In addition, fore-aft placement is just right for road and cross-country riding.
Countless machine washing and drying cycles have had virtually no ill effects, either. Aside from a bit of peeling on the hot-patch Descente logos, our test shorts still look good as new with no fabric fraying or seam degradation whatsoever.
About the only possible negative we found was the use of old-school grippers around the legs in contrast to the wide-banded gripper-free design Descente have used in years past. Though undoubtedly effective – and notably more breathable than many fancier designs – some might find they dig into their skin too much.
Otherwise, these are a definite winner and we've no reservations recommending them as a top pick. the US$160 price tag is still in the premium range of things but very reasonable considering what you get in return.