The perfect Bib-Short : Q36.5 Dottore X

   Words by Dave Butcher

   on 14/11/2019 08:02:09

In 2013 after 20 years at the pinnacle of cycle clothing design (much of which was spent developing ASSOS), Luigi Bergamo began his own cycling clothing venture. At the launch of his company – Q36.5 – he released his Essential collection. The Essential collection is just that : a range of cycling clothing that he believes is requisite for the job of cycling but that are more than just pieces of clothing, more than equipment and that act as trusted companions on your ride, each critical in helping you deliver your best.

Dottore X Schem

The benchmark short that came to define the brand at the time, was the L1 Essential. Unique in its construction, it was woven rather than knitted and constructed from varying densities of Polyamide rather than the more widely employed polyester. It delivered compression, muscular support, supreme comfort and unrivalled durability. More importantly – as was Luigi’s goal – the L1 Essential was a short designed not for a specific situation, but rather for a broad range of cycling applications : an all-purpose, all-day, any-day, any ride, high performance cycling bib short, and this was in part a function of the key design ethos of the brand: to maintain a stable body temperature.

I was impressed.

q365l1essentialbib

After several years of success, Luigi wowed again with the release of the Dottore.

To some, the Dottore was little more than a revision of the L1, but in reality the difference was huge and took the pleasure of cycling up another level. The Dottore, like the L1, is of polyamide construction and followed the company’s Ergonenic cuts, that aim to deliver greater comfort and targeted support of the body through careful fabric pattern design and variable densities of material. The Dottore also features the Lumbar Support panel on the lower rear that helps stabilise the body through the pedal stroke. Like the L1, the Dottore utilises Q36.5’s world-first FUSION Chamois pad – one that takes the best elements of the 2 long standing designs : the elastic interface and the thermo molded foam pad.

The Dottore was further tweaked over the L1 with the addition of the woven “Y-pattern” found across the surface of the leg panels. This “y-pattern” serves both Aerodynamically, reducing drag - specifically in the context of limbs which are in constant movement - while also delivering a more tailored, graduated compression – something that was less refined in the L1 and which lent a more comfortable, less restrictive feel in motion. A change in the leg opening removed the need for a restrictive gripper and the Dottore delivered greater breathability and lower weight too.  The introduction of Silver Thread into the weft also lifted the Dottore above both the L1 and the competition, allowing for even greater thermal stability of the muscles.

The Dottore has become the King of the range and the most successful bib-short for a whole host of riders. Regardless of discipline and situations, whether hot or mild, Time-Trialing, stage racing or just riding for fun; the performance, comfort and unrivalled durability of the Q36.5 Dottore sets it apart.

For 4 years – the usual development cycle for Q36.5 – The Dottore has remained our most popular cycling bib short, both for men and women, regardless of their perceived level within the sport or their particular way of enjoying cycling – testament to the quality, versatility and comfort of the DOTTORE.

Never one to rest, and taking advantage of new technologies and fabric development, Luigi is set to raise the bar once again.

Over the last 4 years, Q36.5 have been hard at work re-researching Thermoregulation and Variable Sweat Rate Mapping – the studies into how the body perspires, the rates at which that happens and where; all in the context of cycling. Moreover, Q36.5 have also been looking to improve their already impressive fabrics and  patterns and their application on the body while riding.

The result is the new DOTTORE X. The difference is much more than just a single letter though.

Dottore Original          Dottore New

Dottore Classic vs New Dottore X

What’s New?

Originally scheduled for release in early Spring 2020, Q36.5 have decided that this one-man-web-scribbler needs more to write about and have brought forward the release in time for Christmas. Wisely so – you’re going to want these and you might as well get the jolly fat man to deposit them under your tree, ready for early deployment next year.

As you can see from the above images, there is a visible difference between the original and X versions but it is more than just skin deep. Q36.5 are adamant that the Dottore X be presented as an entirely new product and when you dig into the minutiae it is clear that this is because they have effectively started over : from R&D, to fabrics, ergogenics to construction; the Dottore X is a new bib short that is set to become the benchmark cycling short – again.

To give you an overview, the Dottore X is a lighter, more breathable, more robust  (which is amazing, and I’ll get to that) bib short that delivers even more comfort and support to the rider.

The bulk of that last – and arguably most critical element, comfort - comes not only from the continued use of the supremely consistent Fusion Chamois pad but the way in which it is integrated into the short.

The crotch  - what Q36.5 term the C-Interface - features a new proprietary cut with real consideration given to the placement of the chamois. The introduction of an anti-stress cut for the genital area, allows more freedom of movement as well as increased comfort-in-contact to a degree missing in many similarly priced shorts. Critically, Q36.5 have entirely removed the central stitching that is present in most other shorts on the market and that joins the short together along the undercarriage. Understandably, the central placement of this stitching has never been ideal and can be responsible for irritation and discomfort in lesser shorts. The final piece of the ‘’undercarriage’’ puzzle is the use of a Dyneema panel. Dyneema fibres are insanely strong – 15 times stronger than steel for the same weight – and offer the obvious benefit of drastically increased abrasion resistance in a short that is already outstanding in this arena. The more significant reason for its application at the C-Interface is to do with the fabric’s ability to breathe and move moisture: adding greater thermal stability and improved moisture management in this critical area is obviously a healthy benefit from a reproductive, hygienic and comfort perspective.

C-Interface

Each separate aspect of the C-Interface combines to dramatically improve the rider’s overall well-being and will be of particular benefit on longer rides.

One of the immediately striking features of Q36.5 clothing is its remarkable low weight. The classic Dottore weighs just 167g (Medium) but the company’s continued quest for perfection has led to the development of a new, high density proprietary fabric that’s 15% lighter still, yet it maintains all of the characteristics that defined the Dottore: the raw cut and a surface finish that grips without the use of silicon; the graduated compression stimulating blood flow; real silver thread introduced into the weft of the fabric offering not only antibacterial and conductivity advantages but which shields the muscles from electro-magnetic smog and thus reduces fatigue. Most impressive of all though, is that despite this incredible low weight (149g in a medium), the Dottore X is more robust than ever thanks to a finer thread that is more densely woven than before.

This new fabric is woven in a brand new ergogenic pattern – the result of continued research and based on the principle of using minimal seams and strategically placed panels for added pedal stroke support, reduction of muscular fatigue and increased proprioception – key to delivering your best as it plays a big role in the brain, subconsciously guiding coordination, posture and body awareness.

Dottore_X_Fabric

The density of the new fabric combines with a fibre-level DWR treatment to deliver remarkable water resistance that – unlike fabric-level proofing treatments – does not affect the breathability of the shorts. The benefits are 3-fold : enhanced water resistance, superfast drying times and far better thermal stability.

The final revision over the classic Dottore is a redevelopment of the bibs themselves.

Already innovative in their tubular construction, Q36.5 have refined the straps on the Dottore X in order to stop the braces from ‘rolling’ and bunching. While for most, the very nature of the construction meant that this was not an issue, Q36.5 were not entirely happy that they weren’t perfect and as such took steps to eliminate the apparent problem.

The top of the bibs are now braced with a super comfortable, flat-sitting and ultra lightweight panel (made from the same fabric that they now employ for the soft collars on their Hybrid Que X jersey) that keeps the tubular brace from turning in on itself when the rider adopts the normal hood or drop cycling position. In addition the new straps feature a Reverse Tubular construction that sees the seam moved to the inside of the tube and eliminates its contact with the body completely. Less obvious is the modification of the bib’s attachment at the rear. Now following the contours of the musculature of the lower back more closely, the bibs affix more broadly and deeper into the short for optimum lumbar support and even tension throughout the short, for incredible overall hold.

Dottore_X_Bib

All the new developments that have gone into the Dottore X Bib shorts are purposeful – as you would expect from Q36.5. The overall feeling on the body is one of minimal intrusion with obvious but un-invasive support – a complimentary sensation of hold if you will. While they are ridiculously lightweight, the quality of construction is not in doubt and the shorts feel tough and robust with plenty of stretch that will never be stressed in normal use. Indeed, like the classic before them, Q36.5 say that the shorts will improve over the first 10 or so wash cycles.

Fit is similar to the classic but with a lighter feel – not only in weight but all-around - but not in a way that would cause you to doubt their ability to deliver the muscular support and that feeling of having your pedal stroke augmented by the elasticity of the ergogenic fabric. Adopting the cycling position (a must when trying them on by the way, since the short is cut for the position) they disappear on the body, leaving you to focus on the road.

For the Dottore X, Q36.5 have introduced an option on length too. Current trends in cycling are towards longer limb coverage – from both an aerodynamic and fashion standpoint and the Dottore X is available in the standard Classic length and also a LONG version that adds 2cm to the leg length and 1.5cm to the braces. If you are long in the back and/or femur (lucky you) or simply prefer the additional freedom of the longer straps and enhanced performance / aesthetic of the longer leg – there’s now the option. We’re pretty sure the long is where it’s at for 2020!

Ultimately, the improvements to the C-Interface, the anti-stress cut and the lighter fabric suggest to me – as a long time user – that the Dottore X, while remaining an any-day, any-ride short, will come into their own on those epic 4+ hour rides where just a touch more mobility and freedom in the short is preferred. From a durability perspective, I am in no doubt that the Dottore X will serve you for years. I have ridden a pair of the original Dottore for 5 years and I’m confident that if I were to roll them up in their dedicated elastic, wrap them in the supplied booklet, put them in the box and stick them next to a new pair – you wouldn’t know the difference – they really are that good.

Q36.5’s guiding principle of thermal stability is of course at the heart of the Dottore X.

The company’s more recent studies into Sweat Rate Mapping along with the new fabrics and patterns mean that the Dottore X deliver the thermoregulatory benefits that allow you to save energy and spend it more effectively by turning the pedals, rather than trying to control fluctuating body temperature. And they do it more adeptly than ever, in a wider range of conditions, all while delivering a super comfortable cycling experience that you probably won’t even notice until you finish your ride.

image     Dottore_X_Worn

Dottore X in a nut-shell :

  • Ergonomic cut
  • Ergogenic Muscle support
  • Temperature Stability
  • Fusion Chamois
  • Aerodynamic
  • Graduated Compression
  • Low Weight
  • Laser cut
  • Minimal use of seams
  • Durable

You can get your mitts on them here : DOTTORE X

    

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