PRIMAL DAWN MEN'S BIB KNICKERS
68g Medium as Tested £75.99
The Primal Dawn Men’s Bib Knickers are an extremely well executed design and at this price, represent seriously good value for money. Though arguably a road biased garment, they’ve shrugged at the thrills and occasional spills, of unmade roads and forest trails.
Pros: Great fit and pad, Solid construction. Deliver on and off road.
Cons: Not really a con but some would welcome bolder retro-reflective logos/detailing.
A women's specific version is available.
The main fabric is called “Traverso”; which in real terms is a decent 245gsm weight, polyester/Spandex mix. They’re an eight-panel design, which optimises freedom of movement. Mechanically brushed, fleeced linings, and flat seams are pretty standard. What we’d expect from a winter biased long, especially at this end of the market.
However, I was surprised to note Primal citing operating temperatures between -7 and +24 degrees. At the lower end and with extremities shielded by longer socks/similar, certainly but when temperatures swing toward the higher teens, I’m donning bib shorts! Talking of bibs, these are white, while the lower fabric is dyed black, to prevent, or, at least, reduce “grin through” i.e. that slight translucency that can strike, once the fabric stretches a bit.
Silicone cuffs hold the bottoms in situ without being intrusive, or leaving tell-tale branding.
These are another contact point that can be music or misery to one’s derriere. The APX is Primal’s top drawer model, which features three density foam layers for comfort. Then there’s Visigrid to wick sweat and odour, while a silver ION lining ensures things stay hygienic. Compared with some, the pad feels like the proverbial slab of steak but a very compliant one.
According to Primal’s sizing guide, my measurements aligned with their medium. This proved so in the real world, gracing my 1m81, 70 kilo frame perfectly, without bunching. Key, when it comes to comfort, at least over longer distances and at a decent pace.
Most of my riding has been between +2 and +8 degrees and I’ve been delighted by their performance, in every respect. Cut and panelling facilitate an efficient, unhampered cadence, while the tactile, fleece lining provided ample warmth, even when I was battling some bitter cross winds.
The bibs also allowed unhindered movement, perfect for alternating between tops, hoods and drops. Oh, and those roadside comfort stops. In most instances, save for wetter outings (Where a micro jacket/similar was employed) I’d felt perfectly temperate with a polyamide base layer and jersey-cum-jacket.
I’d originally started with a few 20, 25, and 30mile runs. Showery, sometimes icy, rain tended to sit on the surface. More intense/persistent stuff slowly seeps in, the fleece component retains warmth. I’ve never felt cold, or indeed, uncomfortable.
However, comfort remained superlative, even on 70-mile outings. Despite the decent weight, wicking prowess was alsoimpressive, especially when the mercury fluctuated, teetering on the teens, in some instances. Crotches can also get rather feted and humid. However, the pad also delivered in this respect.
Though not text book practice, I deliberately wore ours on three consecutive, 50 mile outings, just to see if I could cook up a funk. Admittedly, by time I’d peeled them off, after the third outing, things were borderline but still socially acceptable. Pad contours and density were absolutely bang on.
Though it felt like the proverbial steak, leaving me feeling a little self-conscious to start with. Hopping between different saddles (including those slightly shorter/ narrower/broader than my road 265x 143mm default) and it was music to my derriere. Some pads can shift, inducing chafing, soreness or worse.
Their arrival coincided with Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyre testing. My Univega’s more upright stance places (slightly) increased weight upon the saddle. Bombing along the backroads, and indeed, unmade sections, comfort remained sublime.
Given their build and materials, I wasn’t surprised by how well they’ve held up. Outings/detours along forest trails and overgrown bridle path, have been frequent. Frisking from thorns and similar foliage have failed to make any impression. Admittedly (and thankfully) I’ve only had a couple of slow speed slide-offs but five weeks and over 500 miles in, wear is negligible. They also wash extremely well at 30 degrees.
I have some very competent workhorse offerings commanding £20 less. However, the Dawn represent much better value and have delivered, in every respect. Whether I’d want to wear them in late Spring remains to be seen. Nonetheless, I’d recommend them to riders seeking a capable, rugged and extremely comfortable ¾ without blowing the budget.