Cytech chamois; silicone leg grippers; two types of mesh to combine structure and support with heaps of ventilation
Awesome color; comfortable chamois; snug but soft feel throughout
Expensive; bib straps tend to bunch up over the shoulders; leg hem pinches, causing sausage leg
Café du Cycliste
Of all the bibs I’ve tested recently, the Marinette bib shorts from Café du Cycliste almost certainly have the most interesting fit. These bibs look and feel high-end, and they’re supportive, yet they also feel strangely soft and forgiving. It’s as though the Marinettes hope you don’t notice them snugging up around you, by loosening its hug in the hips and lower back. The sensation is ultimately a good one, but certainly different than a pure race short.
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Marinette details and construction
Café du Cycliste builds the Marinette around a Cytech chamois. It’s not bulky by any stretch, and it certainly feels supportive. It’s the biggest highlight of these bibs and I was quite happy with it even after several hours in the saddle.
The hems are laser-cut and feature silicone grippers around the leg opening to keep the shorts in place. This creates a clean look, though the silicone gripper does squeeze a bit, causing a bit of the sausage-casing look. it doesn’t distract much on the ride, but it’s certainly an aesthetic consideration.
The Marinette uppers are constructed from two different types of mesh to combine lots of ventilation with structure and support to keep the bibs in place while you’re riding. The bib straps are made from a mesh material as well.
Riding in the Marinettes
I did most of my riding in the Marinettes on the pavement, though I also ventured off-road on a gravel ride. The type of terrain I rode on didn’t change my impressions of the shorts that much; the Marinettes performed just fine in both situations. That’s an endorsement of a good chamois that provides ample support without feeling bulky.
Perhaps most impressively, the Marinette bibs felt impressively airy on a hot ride (90+ degrees). The mesh upper helps quite a lot in that regard, and I wouldn’t hesitate to grab these off the hanger if I knew the day was going to be a broiler.
That said, there is a trade-off. If you’ve read any of my other bib reviews, you know I’m a bit precious about bib straps, and I much prefer lay-flat straps (laser-cut? Even better!) because they don’t bunch up and dig into my shoulders. The Marinette bib straps are not a lay-flat style and do feature seams on either side of the mesh, which means they do bunch up a bit.
However, the straps also didn’t cut into my shoulders like so many other straps in this style have a tendency to do. Perhaps that’s because the weight of the bibs are distributed more evenly throughout the back panel, which means the bib straps themselves aren’t doing the heavy lifting here. Normally I would ding a pair of shorts for this sort of bib strap design, but the Marinettes didn’t cause me enough discomfort on my ride to warrant that.
I like the bold color a lot, and overall the Marinette bibs are airy and comfortable, with a unique fit that stays put without squeezing you bear-hug style. The mesh bib straps probably keep me from loving these shorts, as does the silicone leg gripper that pinches just a bit too much around the leg hem, which are refinements I feel should be addressed at this price range. Otherwise, the Marinettes are impressive bib shorts, and I like them especially on very hot days.