MAAP's kit has been turning heads here at the Sigma Sport office since its arrival so I decided to see if their Team Bib Short lived up to its "six-plus hours of comfort" claim by putting it through its paces at one of the toughest events on the spring calendar.
I headed over to the Ardenne in Belgium for a long weekend of tough riding in conditions varying from pleasant spring-like weather to a snowy tundra normally reserved for the landscape beyond The Wall in The Game of Thrones. If you watched the 2016 version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege then you know what I'm referring to.
The first stop of the trip was an attempt of the iconic and ultra-steep Mur de Huy, which is renowned for being the final climb of the Fleche-Wallone Spring Classic.
What will strike you first when pulling on the MAAP Team Bib Shorts is their length. They are a tad longer than most other bib shorts, which, despite messing with your razor-sharp tan lines, performs a beneficiary function when it comes to compression. The highly compressive main material acts to support your leg muscles, reduce vibration and enhance blood flow.
This feature would be especially useful the following day as I tackled the startlingly long Liege-Bastogne-Liege course. While other bib shorts certainly offer compression, the MAAP Team Bib Short combines this with a superb fit. It boasts just the right thickness of material to provide comfort and lasting compression on especially long rides.
Another feature that is immediately striking about the shorts is the lack of leg hem grippers. Surprisingly these are not missed whilst out riding. The shorts have an especially wide hem that spreads the pressure out over a wide area of your leg. Furthermore, the lack of a silicone gripper means you do not suffer through any uncomfortable pulling of your leg hair, (if you have not shaved it off).
Possibly the only detraction from the gripper-free leg hem is when it comes to wearing leg warmers. This gripless design means the hems have a tough time of gripping the leg warmer fabric and they can ride up slightly. This, however, is barely noticeable, especially if the shorts are sized correctly.
Where the MAAP Team Bib Shorts really separate themselves in terms of quality and comfort is with the seat pad. The 3D Endurance seat pad lives up to the promise of six-plus hours of comfort as I can attest from my 6-hour 39-minute ride in the Ardenne forests.
While almost every other part of my body was squealing in pain and exhaustion, my posterior remained comfortable. The pad feels very thick but due to the way it is constructed, I found this does not cause chafing.
The pad is also effective at wicking moisture away from the surface of your skin - especially useful in the event of wheel-spray-induced sogginess or an especially hot and sweaty climb.
An often overlooked part of any top-quality shorts, the MAAP Team Bib Short's straps lie comfortably underneath your jersey and they are just wide enough that they do not cut into your shoulders. The lower cut front section makes natural breaks less acrobatic and the reflective elements on the back, although being very small, boost your visibility out on the road.
After a baptism of fire in Belgium and several other rides in France and the UK, it is safe to say that these are some of the most comfortable shorts on the market. At 6'1" and 80kg I wore a medium pair, which initially felt a little tight but the feeling of compression is certainly welcomed on longer rides.
The leg panelling and 3D Endurance seat pad are second-to-none and comprehensively live up to MAAP's “six plus hours of comfort” proclamation. On top of the comfort, the short's appeal is boosted by MAAP's subtle but stylish detailing. If you are looking for a pair of bib shorts for your epic summer excursions you will be hard put to find a better all-round offering than the MAAP Team Bib Short.
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