The Apex MTB shorts are a home run; the Apex bib liners are a solid base hit. Wear them together and you’ve got a comfortable package ideal for the XC rider who prefers a slimmer fit.
Let’s start with the bibs. Pactimo has made a name for itself by creating well-fitting shorts with a comfortable chamois at a reasonable price point, and these bibs fit that narrative well. I like the chamois and the wrap-around, race-inspired snugness of the bibs, and they stay in place all ride long.
The bib straps, however, had a tendency to bunch up and cut into my shoulders, which was compounded by the straps’ relatively short length; some lay-flat straps would be ideal here.
Pactimo includes two water bottle pockets on the back of the bib, which is a clever idea and a good location for stowing a jacket or some snacks. They’re located a bit too high on the bibs, though, making it difficult to pull items out of the pocket on-the-go. Still, the extra stowage is convenient and keeps weight out of the pockets on the baggy shorts.
Speaking of the Apex MTB baggy shorts, they also fit the simple design narrative. They look good, fit well — not too baggy, not too tight thanks to a semi-stretch construction, and are shaped just right around the knees to stay in place without the swish-swish noise — and eschew Velcro in favor of snaps and buttons. That sounds like a throwaway feature, but you’ll appreciate it when you pull them out of the washing machine and no socks are stuck to them. The buttons hold position better anyway, and the baggies didn’t creep down much on my rides. Some connector straps between the bibs and the shorts would still be handy, though.
Two traditional front pockets are less a ride feature and more a pre- and post-ride stowage, when you just need a place to tuck your keys and phone. It’s an oft-overlooked feature that I was glad to see on the Pactimo shorts. The rear zip-pocket is much more convenient for stowing food or even your phone during your ride. It’s located perfectly so you don’t feel the contents of the pocket rubbing on your leg as you pedal. These shorts are easy to reach for on daily rides if simplicity and comfort are high priority.