Mavic knows wheels. Since it launched the 500 hub in the mid-70s, the French firm's yellow has come to be synonymous with wheels; however, it's only recently become a force in the soft goods side of cycling, and kit like the Cosmic Thermo Elite Men's Bib Shorts demonstrate that Mavic is perfectly willing to stand on the shoulders of giants in terms of clothing functionality. For the materials, Mavic turns to DuPont, who infuses a soft, brushed Italian Lycra blend with Warm Tech Teflon protection, creating a surface that repels water and road soil without hampering the stretch or breathability of the Lycra. This provides the right amount of warmth and protection for damp, cool days that are too much for shorts but don't quite warrant the protection of tights, knickers, or knee warmers. Mavic lays this material out in a less-aggressive fit pattern that's well suited for the kind of wet training rides where being at the front is desirable because it means you're not squinting through someone else's rooster tail of road spray. The design minimizes seams in order to reduce the points of watery ingress, and it's finished with reflective details in order to help keep you visible to other road users when you're out alone under overcast skies. Of course, the most important aspect of DWR-treated shorts is that they help keep your chamois dry. It doesn't take long for a wet chamois to turn against you, a transformation that's especially pronounced when the chamois is as comfortable as Mavic's Ergo 3D insert. The Ergo 3D is built with progressive cushioning in three different thicknesses to cushion on the kinds of long, four to six hour rides we typically log while trying to maintain form in late fall or rediscover it in early spring. Since both of those seasons tend to be rife with unpredictable bursts of weather, the shorts' DWR treatment is especially important.