The Gore Wear Long Distance Bib Short+ has a design meant for long days in the saddle. The chamois is exceptional, it features a great fit, and the fabrics are a joy to handle
Soft-to-the-touch fabrics feel great against your legs
Design details do a good job creating visual interest
Well-designed gripper at the end of the leg
Straps with enough structure that they lay flat and stay put
Windstopper cup makes little sense for summer bibs
Chamois is narrow at the sit bones
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The Gore Long Distance Bib Shorts+ was introduced in 2019 and was the pinnacle of the C7 series range. At the time, the C7 series comprised a race option, a hot weather vent option, and a long-distance option with a tailored torso band to keep the shorts in place, a windstopper, and minimal seams. C7 Long Distance Bib Shorts build on these traits as well as include a series of small changes.
Depending on where your research takes you, you may still find references to the original C7 series from 2019. This year, however, brought some significant changes: the C7 moniker got dropped and, in the US, only the long-distance specialty remained an option. Despite this, the key attributes that make these bib shorts great haven't changed.
We spent some time with them to see where they excel as well as how they compare to the best cycling shorts on the market, so keep reading to see our thoughts.
Design and aesthetics
Each leg uses two panels of soft-touch fabric. It contains a generous 30 per cent Elastane, otherwise known as Spandex or Lycra, for a size and fit that falls into the tightest category Gore offers.
The arrangement of the panels that make up each leg is an unusual one. It's not totally unusual to see a two-panel design but, in most cases, there's an outside and inside panel. Gore has used two panels that wrap around the legs with a top and bottom arrangement. There is no separate gripper panel. Instead, you get a raw cut end with two small pieces of silicone on the inner surface. The silicone occupies the front and back with gaps on the sides.
This design makes for a lot of visual detail. The wrapped panels mean there's a seam that angles out from the lower thigh and arcs its way up to the low back. On the outside, near the front, of each leg there is a large reflective Gore logo that adds more visual interest. It all comes together and does a great job suggesting movement and giving the eye plenty to focus on.
The area between each leg, which Gore refers to as the central torso area, comes together with four panels. There are two in the rear that continues up onto the back and end where the straps begin. These panels are made from the same material as the legs. In the front is a new type of fabric comprising mesh with 9 per cent less Elastane. This means less stretch but it's also a lower density. The combination of lower stretch and lower density means it’s actually easier to stretch it.
The groin area, where this new fabric resides, is one of the more unique areas of all Gore bibs. In the case of the Long Distance Bib Shorts+ it's designed for extra ventilation but also includes a very clever fleece-lined "Windstopper Cup." The fleece and the chamois form a floating unit that's only attached to the exterior around the edges. Keeping the chamois separate from the exterior fabric allows for independent movement. The chamois can stay with your body while the exterior fabric moves separately.
The chamois itself is one of the best I've sampled. It's not overly complex and features only a single break down the center. The chamois density is superb and is up long hours in the saddle.
Another high point of the Gore Long Distance Bib Short+ design is the straps. Getting straps just right is a delicate balance and Gore has nailed it here. The inside of the straps has a high-friction design that resists movement. They aren't heavy but they are wide enough for structure. The attachment in the front uses four solid zigzag stitches. In the rear the straps follow a narrow path through the center of the back and remain connected, with a light mesh between them, until high on the back.
At the base of the straps, there's a radio pocket. Radio pockets are already unlikely to see much use outside of the pro peloton but this one is very narrow at the top. There's no way you'd be able to get a phone into it and I think you'd struggle with even a single gel. If you are old enough to remember a second-generation iPod nano that might fit in there. I expect this feature will get little use.
To properly put the Gore Long Distance Bib Shorts+ to the test I picked out a route that charts 54 miles climbing before eventually topping out at the ski lodge at the top of Mt Hood: 108 miles, half of that climbing, and all of it on a race bike seemed like the perfect test bed.
Gore revised its fit this year to better conform with industry norms and they naturally feel great and supportive. The new fit meant that I went from a small to an extra small - the sizing is very similar to Rapha. To add some context, the Gore C5 Cancellara bib short+ feels oddly loose on me even in an XS.
Of course, what matters when it comes to bibs is the chamois. Gore uses an Elastic Interface branded chamois in these bibs, and it's a good one. Pinch it between your fingers and you can feel how dense it is. Even in the thinnest areas, you can feel a level of cushion that you don't find on cheaper chamois.
My only criticism of these bibs also stems from the chamois though. It lacks a tapered design from rear to front meaning I often found myself moving around in search of the sweet spot - an area only found when in the drops and an aggressive position where the density is at its greatest. When sitting up, the support and density spread isn't as comprehensive and comfort can be adversely affected as a result.
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The Gore Long Distance Bib Shorts+ are quite easily one of the best cycling shorts on the market - both in terms of fit and fabrics used. The chamois is also really good with the only caveat being that it's not going to work for everyone. The windstopper cup design makes very little sense on a summer bib short but also isn't a huge issue. That fabric is also cut low and doesn't always do its best to flatter every body type. It does make it easy to pull down when needed though.
Take the whole design into consideration and this is a product that is better than many rivals on the market and a worthy consideration in my opinion.
Tech Specs: Gore Long Distance Bib Shorts+
- Price: $200 / £199
- Materials: 70% Polyamide, 30% Elastane MESH: 79% Polyamide, 21% Elastane
- Size availability: XS-XL
- Weight: 175g (XS)
- Inseam length: 23 cm / 9 inches
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