Saddles come in different width fittings, so why not padded shorts? That’s the thinking behind the new Wms FS260-Pro SL bib shorts from Endura. These new women’s bib shorts (men’s versions also available) come with either narrow, medium or wide chamois pads, designed to complement the saddle you ride with.
Endura hasn’t just taken one of its existing chamois and played with the widths: this is a new product from the ground up, designed for purpose. But does it work in practice? Well, so far so good.
The chamois itself is a soft, stretchy pad with various densities across the profile, and thankfully no deep creases.
I measure up as a medium fitting in the Wms FS260-Pro SL women’s cycling shorts, and it does seem to work exceptionally well with my usual saddle and general riding position. Where I sometimes find that the chamois doesn’t entirely bridge the gap between me and the saddle, with the new chamois pad the coverage was complete and my rides felt all the more comfortable for it.
Of course, the chamois is only one element that makes up a good pair of cycling shorts, and the Wms FS260-Pro SL shorts deliver in other areas too.
The Italian Power Lycra fabric is firm and supportive without being restrictive, and there are softer mesh panels at the stomach and back that also aid breathability. Endura has opted for a racer-back style arrangement for the bib straps, which sit to the outside of the breasts on the front. Personally, I found this comfortable, with the cut around the neckline low enough so as not to pull on the shoulders or neck excessively.
One element that’s hard to miss is the zip. Endura’s drop-seat feature means you can pull the shorts down for comfort breaks without completely stripping off. It’s an interesting idea and one that, when I tried an earlier incarnation of the FS260-Pro shorts (which sit one level below these shorts) I had a few niggles with because of the zip, which pulled at the seams and across my lower back.
These seem to have been ironed out with the new FS260-Pro SL shorts, at least for the most part. The back on the zip is not the softest feeling against the skin, and the location of the zip and the fact it doesn’t of course stretch means that it can pull in against the flesh of your rear end. However, in practice it didn’t chafe, was easy to open and close one handed, and was highly appreciated during some cold, raining comfort breaks on wintry rides.
The fit is pre-formed to suit the forwards riding position, with the legs sitting smoothly thanks to the wide elastic hems which have an asymmetric shape and silicone grip strips to keep them in place. A pocket at the lower back is well positioned for a radio or stashing small bits and pieces.
If you want to ensure you get the best fit, then head to an Endura PadFit centre where you’ll be fitted using a system developed with gebioMized (a custom garment fit expert) where someone knowledgable will assess your derriere using a measuring mat and match you to a pad, taking into account your riding style and physiology. For anyone who can’t make it to a fit centre, Endura also has a PadFit chart online.
Endura garments fit fairly true to size, so a large would equate to a UK14 to 16 / US12 to 14. The shorts run from XS to XL. Australian pricing was TBC at time of writing; we’ll add this when we have it.