Conation Collective is a Colorado-born clothing company dedicated to delivering gear that’s high performance, super stylish
and made with the finest materials available. The brand’s founder,
“Mohawk” Matt, is a hard-core rider and racer who simply didn’t
want to wear any of the flashed-out team jerseys and ultra-tech-nical kits that were on the market. Instead, he decided to make
his own gear, which is a representation of his personality and his
identity as a pure-bred trail rider from the Colorado Rockies. You
won’t find any NASCAR-style logos or flashy colors on his gear.
You will find technical and high-performance fabrics sewn into
clothes you won’t be embarrassed to wear if you’re seen by your
We set out to test one of his most interesting products—the
bib shorts. While bibs have been around for many years, they’ve
been worn almost exclusively by roadies until recently. Bib shorts
are one of those products you may scoff at initially—until you try
Tech features: Conation’s bibs come in two distinct versions
with identical construction. The first is made from a synthetic
material, and the second is made from Merino wool. The synthetic short features a super-light, stretchable fabric on top and
lightweight but supportive fabric on the bottom. The wool short is
made from breathable Merino mesh fabric
designed to keep you dry and comfortable.
Both shorts feature a front opening
that’s lowered to make it easier when
nature calls. Both also have pockets on
the back that are large enough to fit a
tube, CO2, multi-tool and some food—
in case you want to skip the hydration
pack on a shorter ride but still need the
essentials. As an added bonus every
bit of these shorts is made in the USA.
Both shorts retail for $120
and are available through
Field test results: There’s
no getting around it. Bib
shorts look a little silly. Yet,
all of our testers here at
MBA use them. Simply
put, they work better
than a standard liner
because they stay
in place, support more of your body and will permanently eliminate
the dreaded plumber’s crack when you’re in the riding position.
When Conation approached us with the new Merino wool short,
we were skeptical. Bottom line, though, it works remarkably well.
The material breathed much better than we expected and didn’t
cause any itching. These shorts are comfortable and soft with an
excellent chamois that is slightly larger than those in most “road-
ie” bibs, providing plenty of shock absorption and comfort. The
lowered front is also a nice touch, as the shorts won’t pinch your
stomach. Since these shorts are designed to be worn with bag-
gies, the lowered front cut won’t show any extra skin, either.
The synthetic short provides the same features as the Merino
short but with a lighter fabric. The fit is also slightly more snug,
which makes it feel more like a conventional bib.
These bibs work as they were designed to—as a mountain
bike-specific bib short. The fit is spot-on, and the choice between
materials comes down to personal preference. We have a slight
preference for the synthetic version, mainly because it seemed
to breathe a little better and the snug fit felt a little more tailored.
Then again, there will be plenty of material purists who will opt for
the wool version, and they won’t be disappointed. ❏
Which material should you be using?
CONATION MERINO VS.
SYNTHETIC BIB SHORTS