Specialized was one of the first to refine the quick release rear strap to make comfort breaks that much easier and over the years the design used on these SL Expert Women’s Bib Shorts has been refined.
It’s a drop tail design that uses a Y-shaped strap: two straps at the front and one at the rear. This rear strap has a magnetic popper clasp that can be opened and the rear of the shorts pulled down, so you can nip to the loo without having to remove your jersey.
Specialized shorts come with a good long leg length, reaching just above the knees, though other versions do have shorter leg length options. Immediate Media Co
The magnetic poppers are discreet and flat, and click into place themselves without having to be pressed or hooked together. That said, reaching up your back to retrieve the wayward upper strap can involve some physical contortion. Other than that, it’s a quick and efficient system.
Long panels on the side of the legs reach up over the hips to the waist to give a good, smooth fit without digging in. However, the stomach area has a lower cut with a mesh panel and a horizontal seam, which does dig in a little on my belly when leaning forward. This probably won’t be an issue for the flat-stomached riders out there though.
The Specialized SL Expert women’s bib shorts have a catch on the rear to help make comfort breaks easier. Immediate Media Co
On the leg, the cut is long, about three quarters down the thigh with a fairly wide leg cuff that grips securely without digging in or causing sausage leg.
While the Lycra has plenty of stretch and is light and comfortable in hot weather, it’s also not quite as supportive or figure hugging as other similarly priced bibs.
Different thicknesses and densities of foam on the chamois pad provide support under the sit bones, and less thickness with minimal contour creases under the frontal soft tissue avoid friction.
However, I found those contour creases did end up catching parts of my soft tissue occasionally, which was distracting and uncomfortable. Aside from that, the medium thickness chamois provided good padding for my undercarriage and was well positioned.
Specialized SL Expert Women’s Bib Shorts pricing, sizing and availability
Price: £110 / $150 / AU$210
Sizes: XS to XL