LEATT BIB LINER MTB 4.0 REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam McGuire
For some riders, the difference between a joyous and downright painful time in the saddle can be made by a chamois. These come in a few different forms, but the preferred option is usually the classic bibshort, keeping things firmly in place when laying down the seated Watts. There’s an increasing number of “utility bibs” on the market, offering riders with some valuable storage solutions to utilize the bibshort material and allow for packs to be left at home. Leatt provided us with their Bib Liner MTB 4.0 to put to work, and we came away rather impressed.
The Bib Liner MTB 4.0 is the singular Leatt bibshort offering, so they threw the works at it to offer the best performance they could. Compatible with the full range of Leatt shorts and pants, and indeed any other brand, the Italian made bibs are produced with a lightweight 4-way stretch ECO X-Tract material designed to wick moisture and breathe well. The all-important padding is provided by a quad density “performance” unit, which is claimed to offer Perineal and Ischiatic protection when seated. The cut is tailored to provide space to run knee pads, and silicone grippers help to keep the bibs in place as you move. There’s a horizontal fly opening to make life easier, and a plethora of storage options to equip yourself while you ride. On the legs are storage pockets ideal for a phone, with silicone grip to prevent items moving around or falling out. On the back are 4 pockets in total: 3 storage pockets for various items including a water bottle that have the same silicone treatment as the leg pockets; and a larger cargo pocket designed to be used with the Hydrapak horizontal bladder. All is tied together with a stretch stitch thread, ensuring the seams can handle the abuse of a life in the saddle. The Bib Liner MTB 4.0 is available in sizes XS-3XL to suit riders from 28” to 40” waists, and retails for $119.99/£89.99.
There’s no denying the comfort of the Leatt 4.0 bib liner from the get-go, with the stretchy ECO X-Tract material conforming well to my body and the quad density padding feeling cushy on the saddle without being overly bulky. The proof is in the riding though, so I’ve been logging as many miles as I can to figure out how they stand the test of time.
The pocket options are very useful as a rider who’s increasingly keen to ditch the restrictions of a pack. I’m a huge fan of the bladder integration: though it’s uncomfortable to put a particularly cold bladder in there, and the water will warm up quicker than when in a pack, it’s a neat way of keeping the weight as close to the body as possible and avoiding any form of flopping around. The smaller central pocket will do a good job at holding a bottle safe and sound, but the pockets further out need to be well stuffed to avoid the chance of items falling out as you bounce your way down the trail. Luckily, I didn’t have to find this out the hard way, but I did have an indication early on as a bar found its way around to the front of my jersey and fell out at the bottom of a descent. Fill these pockets with caution, to save the dreaded situation of a lost key or multi tool when you need it the most. The leg pockets didn’t share the same issue, holding a phone safe and secure, though are certainly harder to access due to the need to undo your shorts and so wouldn’t be my go-to storage area for quick-grab items.
The ECO X-Tract material has proved to be comfortable, durable, and impressively breathable for the duration of the test, and when combined with the stretch stitching has led to a test period absent of any build quality issues. The slight stick of the leg cuffs kept the bibs firmly in place without restricting blood flow or causing irritation, and the fly setup makes emergency stops a breeze. I can’t say I’m a chamois connoisseur, but the comfort on offer with the unit fitted to the Leatt bib has allowed me to go on several all-day rides on the trot without any complaints, so it must be doing something good.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Save for the slightly loose flank pockets out back, the Leatt bib liner MTB 4.0 has been a pleasurable addition to my ride apparel, offering a seemingly high quality chamois with some extremely useful cargo capacity to sustain mid-length rides without a pack.