According to Canadian clothing brand Sugoi, the latest incarnation of their high end RS Pro bib shorts is best described by the phrase 'the best just got better'. I set out with a test pair to find out if this claim sticks.
When I first pulled on my test pair of RS Pros, I was on a road.cc product shoot and it was a bit of a blind test. I had no idea at the time that they were one of Sugoi's top drawer offerings. But even just pulling them on to stand around trying not to look too awkward as my picture is taken, they felt great.
The shorts are made from Sugoi's "ultra aero" material, a Lycra variant with a dimpled surface that is claimed to minimise aerodynamic drag, in the same way a golf ball's dimples do, by creating a turbulent flow that detaches from your leg sooner and therefore reduces the drag. The seams are also very flat against the legs when the shorts are on, again in an effort to make the shorts more slippery.
I didn't find time to get into a wind tunnel and perform the necessary tests to prove/disprove these claims, but the material was comfortable against my skin, aided in part by the fabric and also in part by the sheer number of panels that make up the shorts.
The bottoms of the legs have a full band of silicone running around them to keep the shorts in place on your legs, maximising the sharpness of your tan lines. This is a great system for keeping a pair of shorts where you want them and I'm surprised more manufacturers don't use a similar design; it works very well.
The bib straps were comfortable and had a good width in order to reduce any pressure while not being overly thick so as to make me sweat more than I needed to.
The pad is an interesting one. It is Sugoi's Formula FX pad and at first I have to say I didn't get on with it. On the first couple of rides in the RS Pros I found it didn't really fit me and was contouring in odd ways that led to pressure points. I put the shorts to the side for a week or so as I wasn't enjoying wearing them.
Then, inevitably, I wore all my good shorts and didn't wash them and before you know it I was back in the RS Pros. And I'm glad I went back to them. It seems that on these shorts the pad takes a few rides to bed in. Now you can't get me out of them, and they have quickly been promoted to some of my favourite shorts for riding in. Testament to this is the fact that I recently spent a good chunk of a 24-hour mountain bike race in the RS Pros with no problems at all.
Price wise, I think these shorts justify their penny-under-a-hundred-quid tag, as they have performed well for me over the last month or so. There's no doubt that a £100 is a lot to spend on a pair of shorts but I have tested shorts that cost more and don't perform as well as these.
Comfortable, high performing shorts that justify their price tag; give the pad some time to bed in
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short
Size tested: Medium, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Apparently this is an update on Sugoi's original RS Pro design and as a result: "the best just got better"
I don't know what the old design was like, but this set of shorts has certainly kept me happy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Sugoi's site:
Ultra Aero fabric in a body contoured fit
Flat seams and ergonomic tailoring improves comfort with a low profile fit
No inseam reduces bulk under the Formula FX chamois
Re-engineered leg opening with silicone inner tape for a smoother fit
The shorts fit me well and felt like a high quality garment.
No problems encountered.
Initial problems were had with the pad but it seemed to bed in after a couple of rides and ended up being very comfortable.
I can't really complain here, I feel they justify their price tag with the performance they have provided.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, once the pad had bedded in.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The silicone gripper worked well and was something I've not seen before. Also the material felt good against my skin.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact that I nearly wrote them off because the pad took some time to get used to.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,