A very comfortable chamois paired with soft, luxurious fabric. You do pay for what you get, though - and the price tag here could be a turn-off for some.
No comfort break solution
Gore's C7 women's long distance bib shorts are designed for riders seeking performance that will go the extra mile.
Like the men's version - which received a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice award - it's the chamois/short interface which sets these bib shorts apart. Gore wanted to offer a pad that would stay put as the rider moved, so it began its design process with the chamois, adding the rest of the fabric later - as opposed to stitching the 3D 'Expert long distance' pad into a pre designed construction.
The brand calls this 'Central Core Architecture' tech. The chamois itself is dual density, meaning the padding thickness varies so there's more where you need it, and I found it comfortable both on long and short rides.
At the front, where most brands would continue the pad, Gore has added a slice of its Windstopper fabric, this serves to ward off cold breezes without adding bulk, and was a welcome addition on early spring rides.
The body fabric used contains a high percentage of Elastane and these shorts are designed to offer a 'slim fit', which is Gore's more race orientated offering which cuts down on bulk and unnecessary drag.
The material certainly does have a luxury quality with it - snapping well to fit against the skin and with a lovely soft feel against the skin. Gore has gone for a 20cm inseam length, and these came in just above my knee, which is a nice compromise between the 'pro' but - in my opinion - not always flattering knee length options and the hot pant aesthetic at the other end of the extreme.
The legs are held in place via a slim piece of silicone, creating a snug fit without digging in, and I found this to be very effective. I tested these shorts in a size small, which is typically my go-to size and they fitted well.
On each quad, the brand has stamped a 'Gore' logo in a distinctive reflective fabric. Aesthetically, I do like this, though it did actually leave an indent of the letters on my legs shortly after a ride - so I was literally stamped with the 'Gore' emblem for around 15 minutes. Of course this faded but did leave me wondering if my post-ride attire needed to be Gore marked to save from breaking any Velominati style rules regards cross branding.
The upper on these Gore shorts is simple, but not basic. The fabric is light and breathable, with a radio pocket embedded into the rear should you have need for it. The straps were quite loose but a high and well fitting waist kept the shorts in place, meaning the functionality of the upper was limited in a way which reduced the chance of any unwanted pressure. There isn't any 'comfort break' provision, which at this price point is a shame.
It's impossible to review these shorts without noting that the swing tag attached could be quite a detraction for potential shoppers. At £179.99, they're not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The quality is high, however, and several washes in they do still look like new.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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