Gore's C5 bib shorts get a redesign to honor Fabian Cancellara's career; Windstopper cup; slim fit
Lay-flat straps; blue color looks great; comfortable chamois; high-end look and feel at a decent price
Thigh gripper panels cause a little bit of sausage-casing leg; a few seams could stand to be lower-profile
The C5 Cancellara bib shorts honor one of the greats with subtle graphic touches, but the real benefit here is the comfortable fit that results from lay-flat straps, a well-cushioned race-oriented chamois, and notable breathability. These are excellent shorts for the price.
Fabian Cancellara’s relationship with Gore started not long after he retired in 2016. So it should come as no surprise that he should get his own signature line with the company. The C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+ pair with the Cancellara Race Jersey, not to mention the matching gloves and socks. These bibs feature a C5 chamois insert, but otherwise, the C5 Cancellara shorts feature a design all their own. For the money, Gore has created an excellent pair of shorts to honor one of the greats.
Same same, but Fabs
While the C5 Cancellara shorts share a name with the Gore C5 shorts, Fabs’s version seems to be a completely unique bibshort. The C5 indicates both shorts share the same chamois insert.
Of course, the aesthetics are completely different, and it’s so, so refreshing to get a pair of bibs that isn’t plain black. Don’t get me wrong, I like me some black bibs; they go with any jersey and it’s pretty much impossible to screw up plain black. But the shade of blue Gore has chosen for the C5 Cancellara bibs is spot-on stylish. It matches the color of the jersey, and as a pair, the two garments look awesome.
As for the Cancellara-specific touches, sure, it’s pretty cool that the lay-flat bib straps feature the names of some of Cancellara’s greatest feats. And the C5 Cancellara bibs get bedecked with subtle Cancellara logos. But really, unless you’re a Cancellara superfan, those touches are nothing more than superficial. Fortunately, the underlying product is pretty darn great, with just a few nitpicks to hem and haw about.
C5 Cancellara straps and support
I’m a little ridiculous about my bib straps. After riding so many bib shorts over the years, I’ve decided it’s really not worth investing in a pair of shorts that doesn’t feature lay-flat straps. Perhaps it’s simply the way my shoulders are shaped, but any straps with seams tend to rub and chafe, and even bunch up and essentially start sawing my skin.
The C5 Cancellara straps are cut flat and feature a mesh-style material that helps improve breathability. They are mated to a mesh panel on the back, again to help keep you cool while riding. The straps are excellent; they stay in place, don’t bunch up, and all but disappear while you’re riding. The mesh panel on the back feels fairly light, and even though it has a hem with a seam, I didn’t notice it while riding.
Notably, the straps on the C5 Cancellara straps are also supportive. They hold up the back of the shorts strongly so they don’t sag or bunch. That probably also has something to do with the mesh back panel, which adds structure and therefore support for the back panels of the shorts.
Here is where we arrive at my only significant nitpick on the C5 Cancellara shorts. The leg hems are quite wide, which should help even out pressure on your leg just above the knee. That’s largely the case, except that the there’s a fairly substantial seam on the inside of the thigh that caused some discomfort. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to such seams and rubbing causing problems. I’m also not wild about the massive Gore logo here, but again, that’s a minor nitpick.
Riding the C5 Cancellara shorts
I rode the C5 Cancellara shorts primarily on road rides; the longest ride I did in them was just over 3 hours. I also did a couple gravel rides on them to see how they held up on chunkier terrain.
The C5 chamois isn’t bulky-diaper thick. It feels more like a race-oriented chamois, with just the right amount of padding spread out carefully. The opposite would of course be a bulky-diaper style chamois more oriented toward endurance riding. The C5 Cancellara shorts felt just right for my longest rides; if I was out all day, I would probably want a thicker chamois, but for all of my road rides I felt as though the Chamois felt supportive without announcing itself.
On gravel, I did find myself wishing for a bit more thickness in the chamois, which ultimately wasn’t too surprising. The C5 Cancellara shorts seem to be oriented toward svelteness, a racer’s short through and through. So it should come as no surprise that luxurious padding wasn’t a priority here. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to wear these shorts on gravel rides that last 3 hours or less.
Having ridden the C7 Race Bib Shorts as well, I can tell you that the C5 Cancellara shorts feel much more breathable and far less stifling on hot days. The C7 Shorts are quite comfortable, but I would choose the C5 Cancellara shorts over them any day, if for nothing else than the breathability factor. Not bad for a pair of shorts that touts a price tag less than half as big.
C5 Cancellara bib shorts verdict
Gore has a great pair of bibs on its hands here. The C5 Cancellara bib shorts offer all the features I get excited about, like lay-flat straps, breathability, a minimal but comfortable chamois, and a great color. For the price, the C5 Cancellara bibs feel just as comfortable and high-end as shorts twice the price.