Decathlons own B’Twin range has had my eye for a little while now, they have been punting out lines with fabrics and features comparable to rival brands at twice their price. The 700 shorts are not an exception. They are touted on Decathlons website to be the shorts that team FDJ use for professional events, their confidence in their product is high. My previous choices in shorts have been with Northwave, Biemme, Castelli, and Altura. All with their pros and cons, but the Castelli Free Aero Race with Progetto X2 pad has been my go to short for the last year. I’m 5’10” and 164kg, 32 inch waist and going by Decathlons website size guide I opted for the medium, I personally prefer the tighter fit akin to compression wear.
Before the shorts go on, you will notice the feel of the materials is quite high quality with a fine technical aero style fabric used. Both the leg grippers and the straps are very low profile, making for a very sleek fit and something not normally found at this money. I noticed when pulled up over your shoulders the straps tend to roll up and don’t lay flat first time. This is due to the fabric being so thin. I found the best technique is to get the strap between your finger and thumb where it joins the short and run them up to your shoulders to lay them flat. The huge benefit of the slim material is when the straps are on you barely notice them. The cut of the short is good, the shape of the panels make for a tighter more uneven fit when stood up but evens out well when on the bike. This is great for me as I have had shorts that continually try to pull the pad fore or aft of the saddle, and don’t get me started on saddle/pad/sitbone combos! The pad is gel with three different thickness’s, 15mm for your sitbones, 9mm for perineum, and 3mm for surrounding areas. The look of the shorts is relatively low key, black front and rear with graded grey side panels and white/pink/blue rings around the gripper on the right leg. They also have the obligatory B’Twin branding across the rear panel of the shorts. The 700s are a good looking short and will match most kit you have in your wardrobe.
I have covered roughly 150 miles in these now, both with and without chamois cream, and I am very impressed. With no sores from pad movement, no skin reaction to the grippers on the legs, and no creases/pinches left across my shoulders from the straps. On the initial two rides I felt the front of the pad was a little wide but since being washed its softened up and become more comfortable, as have the rest of the shorts, but they still retain that compression feel. These shorts were retailing at £45, and even at that price I would say they were fair comparison to my Castelli bibs, but Decathlon now have them on sale at £25. This was the tipping point for purchasing another pair of shorts! So in summary a great pair of mid level shorts and at a price where anyone should be able to get over brand snobbery. B’Twin 700 Aero Fit Shorts.