Elite level cycling gear with an emphasis on aerodynamics.
A little more inseam length added to the bibs.
About as good as it gets, but dig deep, all this goodness doesn't come cheap.
If you're one of those triathletes that's still riding in your tri shorts and singlet for your cycling duties you may want to pay attention to this review. If you are riding as much as you should be, you really owe it to yourself to invest in some quality cycling apparel. We all know you're a triathlete, and we're impressed (the compression socks and aero helmet were a dead giveaway)...save the tri gear for race day.
The all new Course line from Louis Garneau is their attempt to raise the bar when it comes to elite level cycling apparel. The new top end offering from Garneau is all about a minimal approach to kick ass cycling apparel. While a minimal approach can at times be difficult to appreciate or pull off. When it's minimal done right, as in minimal seams, minimal bulk, and minimal BS we're all about that approach.
One thing is evident with the Course apparel, it was designed by people who know cycling and have obsessed over every little detail. We'd sum it up as a race inspired fit that places an emphasis on aerodynamics by refining every seam and skin to fabric transition for maximum slipperiness. So if nothing else, you'll at least feel fast :)
The Course Jersey combines multiple fabrics in strategically placed areas, with minimal seams, to give you a very comfortable fit. The pre-shaped shoulders are are also a nice touch and make the jersey look like it was popped out of a mold rather than sewn together.
Cool looks aside, the approach actually makes for a more comfortable fit, especially when in a cycling or even an aero position. The Course Jersey is one of the thinnest and lightest weight jerseys we've tested, and manages to move with you pretty flawlessly. The body of the jersey is made from the soft and stretchy Mondo fabric. The material at the sleeves and shoulders is Speedtech, which Garneau calls the most aerodynamic fabric on the market. While we don't have windtunnel data on this fabric compared to that of the competition, or your favorite pair of underwear for that matter. We can tell you it's super comfortable, very thin and breathable. Even better is the way it transitions seamlessly to your skin without any type of interruption.
The lazer cut edges finish off the sleeves.
The jersey also offers UPF/SPF 50 sun protection and features a coldblack© finish which is designed to reflect heat, rather than absorbing it, making it more comfortable in the heat compared to traditional dark fabrics.
Plenty of onboard ventilation built into the Course jersey with panels at the underarm.
Super thin, almost transparent mesh material flanks each side of the jersey
There's a standard three pocket setup out back including a multimedia pocket which has a port for routing headphone wires. Below the pockets there's an oversized elastic band that keeps the jersey in place nicely.
The inside of the wide elastic band has a good bit of grip thanks in part to the silicone grippers.
Course Race Bibs
We're not sure that LG could pack more technology and cool sounding marketing mumbo jumbo into a pair of bibs, but these seem to have it all. The good news for anyone willing to pay the high price of admission to don a pair of these bibs is that all these things combine to form some of the best bibs we've ever tested.
The outer skin of the Course Bibs are built for speed plain and simple. Next to skin fit, absence of seams, and LG's coldblack© Lazer Rev fabric combine to produce a no nonsense kind of get the hell out of my way attitude that would be (and is) at home among the pro peloton. The material is not as soft as some of the bibs you may be used to. This is due mainly to the compression qualities and high tolerance to snags and abrasions of the Lazer Rev material. We are totally impressed with the fabric's ability to withstand abrasions, especially in the areas that constantly contact the saddle. These bibs have also withstood many a cycle in the washer without issue.
One of the things we obsess (or bitch) about is the old school grippers that many shorts use. This has thankfully given way to the compression band that many shorts are now incorporating. The Course Bib takes it a step further and does away with all of that stuff and the material just stops for a smooth and seamless transition. The Course bibs use a lazer-finished edge at the thigh. This was intended to help maximize aerodynamics, it also maximizes comfort in our opinion and best of all it stays in place just as well, if not better, than the old school silicone style.
The overall length is fine, although we wouldn't mind a bit more length to the inseam.
The lower areas of the bib straps are soft and stretchy along the top of the shorts for more freedom of movement and comfort. The top of the straps are of a more substantial Carbon X-Mesh which also has an anti-static effect.
Obviously one of, if not the most important aspects of any pair of bibs is where your junk and your saddle meet...the chamois. The Course line of bibs has not skimped on this piece of the puzzle. This chamois is among the best arse protecting armour we've tested. The 5 Motion Chamois is pretty much a badass and you'll no doubt appreciate the level of comfort and protection it provides.
We've also noticed that there are no areas that pinch or bind even with long stints in the saddle. The smooth transition across the pad and the stretch it provides are excellent. Another nice touch from an actual riding perspective is the absence of a seam in the inner leg area. LG has moved this seam away from the inner thigh and moved it more toward the top of the thigh where it will be out of the way, and far less likely to rub or chafe. It also removes a great deal of the bulk in that area that can lead to problems with material bunching up around the saddle area. A true test for any chamois is a 2-3 hour trainer session. Anyone who has enjoyed this type of 'fun' knows that an inferior pad will quickly make its presence felt when grinding the day away indoors.
Who cares about a nice looking pair of bibs if your junk goes unprotected? The Course bibs feature a substantial pad that manages to not feel overly bulky.
Minimal seams in this key area help make sure these bibs won't rub you the wrong way...or hopefully not at all
Up close you can see the cutout or groove that is built into this pad designed to relieve some of the pressure in the manly area.
Vented mesh notches in the front and rear of the chamois help provide a bit more flexibility and comfort.
Not unlike the rest of the Course gear there's all sorts of bells and whistles incorporated into this little piece of cushion. Which is all fine and good as long as it translates into a comfy spot hours into a ride. This is one of the best examples of cushion for the pushin' we've tested.
Again, it's always nice to wear cycling apparel that was actually designed by people who understand what's important. We've logged a ton of miles in the Course Bibs and it's hard not to reach for these anytime they're clean, it's just one of those pieces that you want to wear.
Definitely one of our favorite pieces of the new Course lineup is the Speedzone Vest.
This handy little piece of cycling goodness is done right, all the way around. The vest uses an extremely lightweight polyester material which yields a very fitted feel without any added bulk, and a good bit of wind resistance. The fit and cut of the vest are spot on.
The best part of the Speedzone Vest from a cycling standpoint is the back of the vest. The very large opening provides completely unobstructed access to the rear pockets of the jersey that you'll be wearing underneath.
LG developed this design for pro cycling teams that need to not only have access to the pockets of their jerseys but also have race numbers be visible. This design works great and also keeps you from having to transfer your jersey contents if/when you decide to come out of the vest. The vest uses a pretty wide open back and a large elastic band at the bottom. The inside of the band has plenty of grippers to help keep it in place.
We like this vest so much that we've found ourselves using it as a running vest as well on several occasions. The lightweight design, wind-resistance, and the race cut fit make it a great companion for those cold and windy days when a little extra protection from the elements is necessary.
A nice height to the collar to make those chilly rides a little more tolerable.
The full length zipper is well concealed to keep your jersey snag free.
A vented panel to let heat escape flanked by reflective accents finish out the back of the vest.
As you can see from the above graphic the fit of the Course gear is of the very snug, no hiding the off season fat variety. You might call it an extreme race fit, and trust us there's no room for error here...fluffy cyclists need not apply. We're talking you can spot a tic tac in your shorts at 100 yards kind of tight...ok you get the picture. While skin tight, the overall fit of the Course gear is excellent in our opinion. It's not just tight for the sake of being tight, but every seam and every extra bit of fabric has been reduced to the absolute bare minimum.
The Course apparel is also some of the most comfortable gear we've tested. When you find yourself digging it out of the laundry every time it's clean (over all the other choices) you know you have a winner. We find that we are doing just that with the Course stuff.
Certainly won't find this in the thrift shop. If you've got the coin, this is one of the best examples of elite level cycling gear we've tested.
TriBomb Bottom Line
Without a doubt, some of the nicest cycling apparel that has come through the TriBomb shop.