Machines for Freedom Endurance Cycling Bibs
Every once a while, a piece of cycling gear comes onto the market and that takes the scene by storm. When Machines for Freedom announced their latest Endurance Cycling Bibs, my attention was acutely piqued. It's not often that a female-centric & female-operated cycling company makes that big of a stir, but we LOVE IT when they do (Shout out to Shebeest & Shredly)!
"We create high-performance cycling apparel for women who put in serious miles. (Or silly ones!) Each piece is designed thoughtfully by women who ride. Inspired by the intersection of athleticism and femininity, we strive for a balance between technical performance and streamlined, flattering shapes." These are the words the women at Machines for Freedom chose to describe themselves in the 'About' section of their website.
But the reviews were good! The company boasts on their website that the bibs feature an ultra high-density foam padding, micro-fiber carbon-fiber materials to prevent bacterial build up, and leg bands that keep the fabric in place without squeezing the flesh. The bibs come in sizes for all shapes, they conform well to the body, and all the reviews I could find claimed them to be incredibly durable.
To me, that was an unrealistically tall order to fill. I wanted to know how they would perform.
My first ride in these bibs was a mid-sized MTB ride - 15 miles of shreddy singletrack - and I was pleasantly surprised. My butt was never a cause of concern, which is basically the best thing you could hope for in a chamois pad.
Being a woman with relatively beefy legs, I usually don’t wear bibs, fearing the appearance of the ever dreaded ‘sausage legs.’ You know what I’m talking about. Fortunately, with this pair of bibs, there wasn’t a squeeze when I first put them on. I was elated. I had found the holy grail.
Then, I got out onto a really aggressive climb where I was working hard and stomping on the pedals. Perhaps I was even rubbing my thighs up against the seat while I was out of the saddle, working my way to the peak. I got momentarily distracted from my battle with the ground by the rolling of the elastic bands up my legs. While I would normally welcome any distraction from a steep climb, this one was not particularly choice.
While I was sad that the perfect bib had again evaded me, overall I remain satisfied with this pair. The mesh straps rest comfortably on my shoulders. The unique stitching on the front make them identifiable in even the tallest piles of laundry. The chamois pad is comfortable on long rides (I have, since that initial ride, tested the bibs on a metric century ride and have absolutely no complaints in regards to comfortably). The Endurance cycling bibs have quickly become my go-to pair of padded lycra.
While I would appreciate a bib that’s geared specifically towards women with disproportionately large thighs, I can continue breathing while I wait for the future to arrive and humbly recommend ordering a size larger in these bibs in the meantime.
Bibs for chicks with big thighs…. it just might be a million dollar idea. *Cough* *Cough* Machines for Freedom, are you listening?