Nashbar S2 Bib Short: A Quick First Look
Ironically, though I’m calling this post “A Quick First Look,” I didn’t think to take a picture of these bibs. D’oh. We’ll just have to do without for now.
After much debate (I have probably by now far and away blitzed my cycling budget for about the next three years), I decided recently to snag a third pair of bibs. My Fox bibs are starting to show some wear, and my Pearl Izumi bibs are less than ideal for rides over 20 miles (mainly because they’re too big).
I really wanted to try Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. shorts with the Super-Awesomeness Transfer Fabric that magically makes you feel like you’re riding your bike amid mint-flavored glaciers, but I could only find them either at full price — so not doable right now, since I am in the process of replacing the drive train on the Fearsome Fuji starting with its crankset — or in a small (not even gonna try) or an X-large (which would be fine if I wanted to have plenty of room to carry 47 water bottles in my shorts).
As such, I decided to back down from the high-performance fabrics tree and poke around out there to see what’s available.
Among the options in my price range, Nashbar’s S2 bib proved a standout for two reasons: first, it had promising reviews; second, there were no leg grippers. I figured that last bit could be either great or terrible: like, “OMG I AM FIFTY MILES FROM HOME AND MY SHORTS ARE IN A GIANT WAD,” terrible.
Reviews reassured me of the unlikeliness of the latter outcome, so I bit the bullet and ordered a pair in a size medium.
It turns out that the lack of leg grippers is, in fact, great. My thighs are kind of epic. Not quite German-track-racer epic, but pretty freaking big. Even when I weighed 135 lbs, they were big. At 166, they’re even bigger. I don’t feel self-conscious about them — they’re mostly solid muscle, and they get me up the hills — but the leg-grippers on the only other pair of size-medium shorts I own are, well, a little restrictive.
The Nashbar shorts don’t squeeze my legs like they’re attempting to make sausage links from them. Nor do they ride up. In fact, they stay nicely in place and look pretty darned sharp. I can go for that.
Edit! Pix are in! (Clicky to enlarge.)
The best part, though, is the chamois.
In the end, it is the chamois that makes or breaks a pair of shorts. It either works for you or it doesn’t.
The chamois in Nashbar’s S2 bibs is about ideal — not too wide (probably because I didn’t order a size up to avoid overly enthusiastic leg grippers) nor too narrow; neither too “bumpy” nor too flat. It offers a couple of nicely-placed pads for the ischial tuberosities and a bunch of other lower-relief 3D elements to channel sweat and to help … erm … keep, um, everything … well, you know, in its place.
The Nashbar S2 bibs’ chamois handles this latter job quite well even for an intersexed guy of what one might call, um, tastefully restrained proportions. In fact, it is the first one that has worked perfectly for me. To be fair, I can’t really directly assess how they’d do for someone with, um, the opposite situation. I suspect, though, that they’d do well thanks to their supportive fabric and supple chamois.
I can say that the S2 bibs are great for hot weather. I gave them their inaugural trial run in 97F heat and full sun and felt quite comfortable all the while.
Moreover, today’s ride involved tarmac, gravel, dirt, and grass, so I feel pretty comfortable stating that these shorts are suitable for any terrain. It also involved McDonald’s bar-height stools, for which they proved a bit slippery. Good to know. Ladies and gentlemen, when you don your Nashbar S2 bibs, make sure that you launch yourself onto potentially-slippery furniture gently.
I would go so far as to say that these are the sharpest-looking shorts I currently own. The contrast stitching is a nice touch.
Obviously, I can’t comment on durability yet. I’ll keep y’all posted. So far, though, Nashbar’s S2 shorts are winners.
That’s it for now.
Rubber side down!