By Paul Norman published
Gore Wear has released details of its latest C7 bibshorts, part of its spring/summer 2019 range. They’re based on what Gore calls its Central Torso Architecture. That’s the combination of new custom pads and straps.
Developed with input from Gore Wear Ambassador Fabian Cancellara, the new shorts are designed for different rider types. So the C7 Race shorts are developed for performance in a race position, the C7 Long Distance shorts are – as the name says – designed for the endurance rider and the C7 Vent shorts for hot and humid summer weather.
The usual process for designing bibshorts is to develop the shorts, then add the pad to the completed shell. But Gore Wear has turned this around with its Central Torso Architecture, by working out how to hold the pad in position before designing the rest of the shorts.
Looking rather like a mankini, this central part of the shorts supports the new custom designed pad, developed along with top end manufacturer Cytech. It’s 3D shaped to the torso, with a soft cover foam covering a thin, perforated mid-density foam layer. There are two additional high density inserts under the sitbones.
Since a road cyclist sits on the front of the pelvis, in the top end C7 Race bibshorts, the extra padding is concentrated there and the pad is narrower than, say, an MTB seatpad. Road cycling also involves keeping a static, forward-leaning position on the bike for an extended period, so Gore has high density padding under the sitbones and removed it from the rear of the pad, where it isn’t needed.
Rather than extending the foam over the groin area at the front of the pad, there’s a flap of Gore Windstopper fabric here. Gore Wear says that this results in less pressure on the groin and is three times more breathable than foam padding. So it’s more comfortable for summer riding, while the Windstopper material stops chills on high altitude descents.
Having sorted the core of the shorts, Gore Wear has turned its attention to the leg fabric. It uses a four-way stretch fabric that is aerodynamic, lightweight, robust and breathable. At the launch in London, we were able to stretch out a piece of the fabric to around twice its size, so it is impressively stretchy.
Cancellara was keen to reduce the number of seams in the new C7 bibshorts, so there’s just one on the inner leg. And he wanted to avoid sausage leg from the hem grippers.
The fabric used cannot be raw cut, so Gore Wear has turned and welded the bottom seam. Like the Castelli Velocissimo bibshorts, the C7 Race shorts have grippers made from vertically arranged strips a bit like piano keys, rather than a continuous band, so that the natural stretch of the fabric is not prevented.
Gore Wear has also applied a reflective ribbon strip that extends from the rear of the shorts down the outside of the leg, as well as reflective logos, to help ensure visibility.
The new shorts get Cancellara’s seal of approval: “The best shorts throughout my professional career were always the ones I could barely feel. And these new Race Bib Shorts are so wonderfully unobtrusive that you could simply stay in the saddle forever,” he says.
C7 Long Distance and C7 Vent shorts and C7 jersey
Whereas the C7 Race shorts use a woven fabric, Gore Wear has used a softer, less compressive, slightly heavier, knitted fabric for the C7 Long Distance shorts. They have a different pad too, with a broader profile for its dense foam areas, to let you shift your weight around more as you ride. The knit fabric means that a raw edge can be used at the hem and there’s a different gripper design.
Finally, the hot weather C7 Vent shorts are made from a different leg fabric again, which is fast drying and lightweight. There’s a different pad too, with a more open cell structure for increased cooling and minimal moisture absorption for quick drying.
There are perforations in the outer leg fabric for extra cooling and a mesh panel in the central back, an area which quickly gets sweaty in hot conditions. Gore Wear also suggests the C7 Vent shorts as a comfortable option when training on the turbo.
Alongside its C7 bibshorts, Gore Wear has a new C7 jersey. Again, it’s been designed to have minimal seams. The fabric on the rear and sides is lower density to add ventilation.
The sleeves have smooth ends without hems and Gore Wear has paid attention to the position and material of the pockets, to ensure that they don’t bounce but that the load pushes the pockets outwards rather than into your back. There’s a zipped valuables pocket too. Since it’s made in black fabric, Gore Wear has added reflective strips and logos to up visibility.
Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.