The Altura Peloton II ProGel bib shorts offer a very comfortable ride and fit when on the bike for a sensible outlay, so it's such a shame that the high-fronted design makes them an absolute pig to get on and off. If you can get them on without ripping them then you're doing well.
The front of most bib shorts sits either just below the stomach or comes midway up, which I must admit is my preferred style, but these Pelotons come up much higher, covering the stomach entirely. Great for chilly conditions, yes, but on a pair of summer shorts it's a little bit overboard.
The biggest issue, though, is that because the body comes up so high, the bib straps are really quite short and makes it feel like you're trying to get into a really tight vest as they don't offer a whole lot of give. No matter what shape you contort your upper body into, getting these on is an absolute faff and the first two times I put them on I managed to rip the stitching between the outer edging and the mesh on the straps. You could hear it tearing as I was fighting to get my arms through, and I'm not a particularly big build (it's not me in the photos).
Another issue with this high front is that toilet stops are a complete pain unless you are a fan of taking a pee at some sort of right-angled, crunched up posture purely to avoid taking them off again.
All of this is a real shame because, once in position, the Pelotons are really comfortable. Altura's Dry technology fabric is good at keeping you feel fresh even when the weather conditions are hot and sticky, plus it offers a decent feeling of support and mild compression.
The sizing is spot on, too, with the medium tested here fitting really well without any bunching of the fabric, and the silicone gripper attached to the skin side of the heavy knitted leg band making sure the shorts stay in place.
The star of the show is the ProGel 3D chamois pad which uses varying thicknesses to offer support and relief when sat in the saddle. The central saddle shaped section has various channels to remove pressure, and even though the whole pad is quite soft you don't get any hotspots or rucking up of the material as you move around on the saddle.
Without the bib issues I would happily say that the Pelotons offer decent value for money thanks to their comfort, overall fit and feel from the Dry fabric. In all of those elements they stand up well against some of my favourites, dhb's Aerons, which are priced just a little higher at £70.
For me, though, the upper body of the Pelotons cancels all of this out – it just seems like poor design. If I'd had to buy these I'd be left with a pair of shorts that have torn at the bibs after just one wear, and I really wouldn't bother wearing them as they are such a pain to get on and off. It's a real shame, because when you are on the bike they're a really good pair of shorts.
Comfortable bib shorts once you're on the bike, but an absolute faff to get on and off
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Altura Peloton II ProGel bib shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Altura says: "Our most popular waist shorts with a multi-density ProGel™ 3D pad delivering ultimate comfort in the saddle, keeping you riding longer."
The shorts are very comfortable to wear but the short, non-stretchy bib straps are a cause for concern.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Altura lists these features:
*Altura Dry™ technology is engineered to move excess moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable
* Altura ProGel™ 3D mold construction pad. Featuring ProGel™ and Altura Dry™ technology
* Body mapping mesh zones for enhanced breathability
* Integrated silicon grip detailing delivers enhanced fit
* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility
* Sizes - S to 2XL
Weak seams around the bib straps not helped by poor design.
When you finally get them on they are very comfortable.
Once they're on...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A 30-degree wash with no fabric softener saw them wash up fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In use they are very comfortable, but getting them on is a faff.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The chamois is good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The front sits too high, which makes the bib straps too short.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
If it wasn't for the issue with getting these on and off, I'd happily give these a 7 or 8, because when in place they are very comfortable; it's such a shame that their design means I couldn't recommend them.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.