The Champion System Apex bibshorts are comfortable and well made. Although not the most sophisticated, they give you a reasonably priced option for a small run of custom kit.
Custom design options
Low custom run sizes
Not the most sophisticated seat pad
It may lack the name recognition of Rapha or Castelli, but Taiwan-based Champion System has been around a while, sponsoring its own pro team in the US between 2010 and 2013. This year, it’s the clothing supplier to the UAE Team Emirates pro team of Dan Martin, who won stage six of the Tour de France up the Mur de Bretagne in the brand’s innovative zipperless jersey.
Champion System focuses on custom kit, with the ability to cater for runs from 10 pieces upwards. That's the garment total, so you can for example order three sets of shorts, three summer jerseys, three jackets and a skinsuit to make up the minimum. There’s a web portal that allows you to configure and design your kit and the process is described in this video.
The Champion System Apex bibshorts are one of the items you can customise, but we’ve tested a generic colour scheme of the brand’s higher-end offering.
The Champion System Apex bibshorts are well made, with a variety of different fabrics used and flatlocked stitching joining them up. There are quite a number of panels for a good fit, although this isn’t quite as close as some competitors', particularly many Italian brands. Champion System says that its Apex range is a tighter fit than its regular range, so you might want to size down if not choosing Apex products.
In contrast, I found the wide, single-layer, raw-edge leg grippers quite tight around my thighs – not uncomfortably so, though. Along with their tight fit, there are a range of silicone dots and a silicone band along the bottom of the leg aperture so that they stay in place well.
The hemmed mesh bibs are comfortable and include a race radio pocket towards the top of the back, should you need to stay in touch with your directeur sportif in your following car.
Champion System offers a choice of three Italian-made seat pads. The Granfondo model in our test pair of shorts doesn’t feel as dense or as sophisticated as many competitors’ products. Nevertheless, it’s comfortable enough for mid-length rides on and off UK roads.
There’s a lighter-weight Veloce pad available as well as the Donna Forte women’s-specific pad. All Champion System clothing is available in women’s fit as well as men’s and in sizes from XS to 4XL. In addition, you can choose between two leg-length options for the Champion System Apex shorts.
At £99 each when part of the minimum run size, the Champion System Apex bibshorts are good value and give you an easy option to fly the flag for your club or event, or if you just fancy a unique look for yourself. Champion System makes custom kit for running, triathlon and netball as well as cycling.
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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.
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