Mavic’s Ultimate Merino bib shorts mix traditional and modern materials for a super-warm and supportive fit on those days where full tights are too much but you’ll freeze in normal shorts. Mavic’s super-fat memory foam seat pad is a real opinion-divider, too. So how do they stack up against the best cycling shorts on today's market?
We’re big fans of longer-legged, heavier-weight shorts for cold-but-high-energy rides and these Mavic UItimate Merino bib shorts nail the fit. The inseam is only listed as 24cm but the broad hem gripper keeps it sitting longer in reality. A super-stretchy soft knit fabric gives a great fit up the inside of the legs, crotch and seat and they’re high enough to stop your bladder getting frozen, too. Thick bib straps also keep them in place when you’re dancing in and out of the saddle. A more water-shrugging, fleece-backed fabric is then used up the side panels and for the back of the bibs.
A 35% Merino wool content slows down wicking but means they stay warm when wet, so the overall effect is extremely cosy on long, mixed-weather days. However, the fact that the weatherproof fabric is on the sides - rather than front and back where you get more windchill and water spray - is a counter intuitive choice that’s startlingly apparent if you’re riding through icy puddles or descending with serious windchill.
Mavic has also fitted the same triple-density Ergo 3D Pro Endurance Ortholite memory foam seat pad that divided opinions in our recent Mavic Allroad bib shorts review. We found the 15mm thick pad very diaper-like both in terms of bulk and dampness if it was wet under wheel or we were working hard.
If you like fat pads and fabric that stays warm whatever the weather, then Mavic’s Ultimate Merino bib shorts should be on your, ahem, shortlist. They’d be a lot nearer Ultimate for us if the weatherproofed panels were moved around for better protection though. The massive diaper pad could well be an issue for riders who prefer less plushy, faster drying seating, too.
Tech specs: Mavic Ultimate Merino bib shorts