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Bicycling Magazine's Q36.5 L1 Salopette Bibshort Review

Anthony Little |

We are really excited about this weeks 'Products We Love'...and not just because it is about one of our favorite all time products in the Q36.5 Salopette L1 Essential Bib. What we're most excited about is that this review has been written by Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Magazine. Joe, a respected cycling journalist who has tested more products than most of the pro-teams put together, recently put the shorts to the test and wrote that they provided 'Incredible comfort from the first moment on'. Here's what he wrote...

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If you’ve ridden long enough, you know that one of the unspoken rules of our sport is that you don’t try out new stuff on a big ride without testing it a bit first. If you’ve ridden long enough, you also know that you’ve violated that rule enough times to have it reinforced, and to know that, every now and then, you also get away with it. When you do, it’s probably because the stuff in question is just that good.

That was my experience with the new Salopette L1 Essential bibs from Q36.5. On our fourth day of BICYCLING magazine’s annual road bike testing trip—this year, in Solvang, California—we headed out on the Figueroa Mountain loop. It’s not terribly long–not quite 50 miles. And it climbs a fair bit–some 5,000 feet. It’s not a gran fondo or anything, but a rule of bike testing for a magazine is that any time you set out with 12 riders and a pro photographer, it’s gonna be a long day. There’s a physiological cost to just being out that long that makes a six-hour day feel like a six-hour day no matter what your average speed or total distance was.

Q36.5 is a newish company from Luigi Bergamo. He’s not a well-known name like a Dario Pegoretti but, if you wore anything from Assos in about the last 20 years, where he headed R&D, his work touched you.

I’d never worn the Salopette L1 Essential. In fact, I had no experience at all with the brand. Q36.5 is a newish company from Luigi Bergamo. He’s not a well-known name like a Dario Pegoretti but, if you wore anything from Assos in about the last 20 years, where he headed R&D, his work touched you. The name stands for the body’s core temperature in Celsius; the idea is that the clothing helps keep you as close to that comfortable homeostasis as possible, no matter the road or the weather.


The first things you notice about the Salopette L1s are that they’re almost mistakenly light—as in, did they forget to stitch in the pad?—and that the fabric is almost rough to the touch.

Pull them on and they’re definitely snug; they have little of the super-elastic, relaxed feel of shorts like Rapha’s Classic bibs. But they never constrict; it’s just firmly supportive. That’s a neat trick in an almost seamless short, which comes via the use of four varying densities to the fabric weave.

On the bike, that rough texture keeps you planted in the saddle. You can still shift around as needed but it doesn’t have that slippery feel that some materials do. The chamois pad is superb: not too thick, not too thin, not too much going on in terms of variable densities and edges that sell really well on the showroom floor but don’t feel so hot three hours in.


On a test bike, on strange roads, the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable. I never was—not on climbs, not when we stopped, not even when leading a paceline home into the setting sun, ticking over a steady tempo and trying to stay as still as possible in the saddle to be a steady wheel. On a long day, I counted my blessings that I picked a short I’d never worn before over even some tried and true favorites from my closet.

The Salopettes are not cheap, and I don’t yet have a sense of their durability. But Chad at Above Category Cycling, the importer, raves about these shorts. He tested a single pair last year, riding and washing them almost daily for 10 months, and says his L1s had no seams unraveling or pilling or shiny spots from where the saddle contacts you. The experience was enough to spur him to import a bunch of Q36.5’s line, including some fantastic ergonomically cut arm and knee warmers and the craziest baselayer I’ve ever worn. He says the shorts break in, after about 10 rides and washings, and become comfortable like your favorite jeans. I’m not there yet; but I’m looking forward to it.

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Want a pair for yourself? View and purchase the shorts HERE

This article has been reproduced with thanks to both Joe and Bicycling Magazine.

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