The Chapeau! Pave Bibshorts are well made, good looking and perform really well. The Red Pad version tested kept the pressure in the right places and was comfortable after several hours in the saddle.
The Pave shorts are Chapeau!'s top of the range design and come with three different pad variants – green, red and blue. The red on test is designed for racers, with more padding towards the front; green is for more casual/relaxed riding, and blue is more for long distance riders.
The pad – from Elastic Interface – did everything I expected from it, providing decent comfort to the more sensitive areas when in a stretched out riding position. The extra padding towards the front is certainly a nice thing to have in the latter hours of a longer ride. It is also relatively good at wicking away sweat, meaning it was comfortable to use even in higher temperatures. I used the shorts for a hilly 100km ride in about 28-degree heat and didn't get any kind of chafing or irritation from excessive sweat build-up.
Chapeau! has used an eight-panel design, all held together by zig-zag stitching which it claims allows the fabric to stretch more than flatlock stitching would. I can't say I noticed a huge amount of difference, especially as the material itself doesn't have too much stretch in it anyway – a deliberate move to hold your muscles in place more firmly in order to reduce fatigue over time – presumably countered slightly by the zigzag stitching... Again, not something I could accurately judge.
Up top, the shorts have comfortable mesh straps with hems to prevent twisting. The back is also a mesh construction which helps with ventilation. The straps are comfortable, and although not the stretchiest will suit riders of various sizes.
Ventilation and heat management throughout the shorts is pretty good and I never found myself wishing for more. Wicking is pretty good and they also dry fairly quickly once they get wet, which was particularly useful in some of the changeable weather we've seen over the last couple of months. Comfort is also helped by the external labels, meaning fewer things to cause chafing.
Everything stays in place well thanks to both the close fit of the shorts and the silicone dot grippers at the bottom of the leg. They are subtle, too, so you don't end up with them pulling on the skin too much – something I have noticed on other shorts. Sizing is about what I would expect from a British brand – I suspect the medium I tested would be a large in Italian sizing.
I think the shorts look really good too, with an understated design throughout. Mainly black, they have just a few subtle design features such as the white line and Chapeau! hat logo around the hem, a small reflective logo just above the bum, and a small reflective tag on each leg.
RRP is £139.99, which isn't a bad price given the quality of the pad, the workmanship and fit. The material choice is very good and similar to what you would find in more expensive pairs. That said, there are some very good options out there for a lot less – check out our buyer's guide below.
Overall I was impressed with the Paves. They bring together good looks, technical elements and a strong performance in a package that is relatively good value for money.
A well made and fairly priced pair of performance bib shorts
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chapeau! Pave Bibshort Red Pad
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?
A pair of performance bib shorts, designed for racers or those who like to ride in a more racy position.
Chapeau! says: 'Featuring a multi-panel design and a full mesh back, the Pavé's snug fit provides stability and essential ventilation. Designed and tested on our famously rough British roads the Topazio fabric has less elasticity than regular lycra to hold tired leg muscles more firmly and reduce fatigue.'
I couldn't test the fatigue elements given my lack of scientific equipment (and cognitive quality) but this seems pretty accurate, they have decent ventilation and are very comfortable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Chapeau! lists these features:
Well made with a good material choice combined with strong stitching and a comfortable pad.
Performed well, used in multiple terrains and temperatures.
Decent material so they are unlikely to rip, and a lack of printed logos means they will take longer to show their age.
Nice close fit, no bagginess when wearing, and enough stretch in the straps to suit most people.
About what I would expect for a medium from a British company.
184g is neither particularly heavy nor particularly light.
Really comfortable thanks to a well thought out pad, lack of labels throughout, and good heat and moisture management.
For a pair of high-performing shorts £140 isn't cheap, but it's more affordable than many.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very well – washed at 30 several times without any adverse effect.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well throughout the review, whether on short, punchy rides or longer, slower slogs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look great, with subtle design features meaning they work well with a wide variety of different jerseys, shoes, socks and so on.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really jumps out.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A well made and fairly priced pair of bib shorts that were comfortable in every situation I put them in.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.