Review: Louis Garneau Mondo Bibs

The Mondo Bibs match with practically any jersey.

The Mondo Bibs match with practically any jersey. Photo Credit: Matt Gutowski

Overview: New for 2011, the Mondo Bibs and Jersey come together for a technologically advanced kit that looks, fits and performs at the highest level.

Price: Mondo Bibs $189.99, Mondo Jersey: $159.99

Louis Garneau is an established brand in the cycling world with nearly three decades of relevancy in the industry, no small feat considering how much cycling in general has changed since Louis Garneau started manufacturing apparel in his father’s garage in 1983. The 2011 Spring apparel collection looks to be one of the brand’s best ever, with an all-encompassing range of products, from high-end options to cheap, entry-level items.

While Louis Garneau has always turned out quality product, the brand wasn’t exactly known for producing the hippest looking or most stylish apparel out there. Consumers typically turned to more fashion-forward companies like  Castelli or Capoforma when looking for a unique, Italian influenced kit.

That started to change in 2009 when Louis Garneau came out with the Equipe Bibs and Jersey, which were huge hits. We had trouble keeping product in stock and LG scrambled to meet demand around the country.  The Equipe Bib achieved a bold look with team-inspired graphics that appealed to all kinds of riders. In 2010, the Equipe Bib ranked as one of our best-sellers.

The Equipe Bibs are likely to be a best seller again in 2011 along with the Mondo.

The Equipe Bibs are likely to be a best seller again in 2011 along with the Mondo.

Recognizing the popularity of the team-inspired kit, Louis Garneau has several kit options for 2011. I’m excited to see the Crosa Bibs and Jersey, which are the priciest in the catalog. We should receive those around March.

The Mondo Bib replaces the popular Speed Matrix Bib. The Mondo retains the compressive fit and second-skin feel of its predecessor, and matches up well graphically with many jerseys in the collection.

My first ride in these bibs was an hour long trainer workout. The fit was on par with the most compressive bibs I’ve tested previously – the Skins 400 Bibs. The front and back panels of the shorts are made from Power Lycra, which offers muscle compression and increases blood circulation. The side panels are constructed from Ceratek, a material with ceramic particles that resist abrasion and won’t stretch out over time, making these shorts as durable as they are comfortable.

The 4-Motion chamois is vented and moves well with your body.

The 4-Motion chamois is vented and moves well with your body.

The new 4-Motion Chamois utilizes pre-shaped wings that stretch and move with your body. I have never ridden in a pair of shorts where the chamois was so seamlessly integrated into the short. As your legs pump up and down, the chamois bends and twists with your body. The internal padding consists of multi-thickness, perforated high-density foam that absorbs shock and evacuates moisture while a bacteriostatic carbon top sheet kills bacteria and eliminates odor.

The thickness of the chamois is right in my wheelhouse – not too bulky, but enough cushion for long rides. I generally prefer my chamois on thethin side, and this pad perfectly suits my preference.

The seamless, compressive Aero Lazer Band.

The seamless, compressive Aero Lazer Band. Photo Credit: Matt Gutowski

There’s no leg gripper on these shorts. A seamless, compressive Aero Lazer band holds them in place. I love the feel of this design, mainly because you can’t feel the hem at all. Many of Louis Garneau’s high-end bibs and shorts are utilizing the power band construction, and other manufacturers are continuing the trend. I can’t imagine riding in shorts with a traditional silicone gripper after using these. My only concern was that they’d ride up when I wore knee warmers, but the band is compressive enough that it held them perfectly in place.

Summary: Louis Garneau has dialed in the Mondo Bib perfectly. Everything about it – the fit, the materials, the chamois and the looks make it one of my favorite apparel pieces coming out this year. At $189.99, the Mondo is reasonable when compared to other high-end bibs that are well over $200. My closet is bursting with shorts and bibs. I can tell you that from now on, the Mondo will be at the top of my pile. If  bibs aren’t your thing, check out the Mondo Shorts.