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Verdict: 
They are good shorts, but overpriced for what they deliver
Weight: 
216g
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Rule#XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts
4 10

Rule#XIV's #M Series bib shorts are good-looking, performance-orientated bib shorts – but the price is simply not justified.

Hang around cyclists long enough – in person or online – and someone's bound to drop a comment based on 'The Rules'. Typically made in jest (but sometimes it's hard to tell), they frequently lead to a general Loss Of Sense Of Humour all round. Approximately half of The Rules are based on common sense and cycling best-practice – aligning valves with tyre labels to aid in quickly finding the cause of a puncture, for example – but some are purely foppish or macho nonsense. Whether you take them seriously or as a self-deprecating jibe at elitist/macho culture is a fair indication of whether I'd invite you round for a pint at the home workshop bar.

> Buy these online here

One of the least-controversial Rules is number 14: Shorts should be black. This is true for a number of reasons, but principally so as not to show stains from road crud or grease inadvertently picked up from hands or the bike. The pro peloton has borne witness to some fashion abominations over the years (looking at you, Astana and AG2R, and FDJ, white... words fail...) but then they are typically racing on pristine surfaces and have someone to do their washing each day, with stained kit going straight into the bin. So for the rest of the cycling world, if it's Lycra and bib-shorty, it's black. Agreed?

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - front full.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - front full.jpg

So to Rule#XIV. On first viewing you'd think it was a plucky startup running on coffee and sushi from a shed in Hoxton, but it's actually owned by online sporting goods deal-maker extraordinaire SportPursuit. The SportPursuit business model appears to be: find sports brand or retail chain looking to flog a load of end-of-line or bankruptcy stock. Get a load of cash from customers. Buy stock, ship to customer 4-6 weeks later. So it gets the cash immediately, and doesn't hold any stock. The draw for customers ('members', as you have to sign up) is that typically discounts are between 30 and 75%. I've purchased a few items through SportPursuit and the experience is good if you're happy to wait. So why is it in the bib short manufacturing game, running a website that makes no mention of the parent company?

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - riding.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - riding.jpg

Pricing model understood, the shorts themselves are good enough. They have features such as flatlock stitching, which you'd welcome above £90 and take for granted on a £180 pair of shorts. The pad is from Italian giant Cytech, which makes pads for Assos, Rapha and other top brands of shorts. The wide leg strips feature subtle branded silicone grippers that stayed put, and there are small reflective tabs on the back of the thighs. The bib straps are a fine, soft mesh, comfortable against the skin and flatlocked to boot. Overall they feel like a quality bit of kit, assembled in China, with the care label stitched to the outside to avoid scratching.

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - back.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - back.jpg

I found the pad to be comfortable enough, but after a few hours it made its presence felt. Not necessarily to the point of needing regular adjustment or periods out of the saddle to relieve discomfort, but I found the amount of material at the front excessive when trying to maintain an aero position for periods of time. My benchmark for a pad is whether or not I even think to remember it after two hours in the saddle, and in that regard the pad design choice Rule#XIV has made here isn't for me, for longer rides.

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - pad.jpg

Size-wise they are a tight fit (it's not me in the photos). I'm medium according to its size chart with a 33in waist, and would have probably benefited from going up to a large – although the bib strap length was fine, and for my long body that's usually the first place they fail my fit test. Rule#XIV says the #M Series are designed to be 'tight fitting but not restrictive' with 'Compression level fabric to offer support & comfort over long rides'. I'd agree – the fit is borderline-compressive if you follow the sizing chart.

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - back full.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - back full.jpg

The panel fabric choice straddles the just-right point, where you won't feel cold starting out in 10 degrees, nor uncomfortable working hard in 20. Certainly the tight fit meant there was no movement of the pad riding in or out of the saddle.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best cycling bib shorts

This comes to the nub of the #M Series bibshort on review, and the context they must be viewed in. They are a good-enough short, and personal pad fit vagaries aside, most people should be happy with them sartorially, technically and fit-wise. Which leaves the value-for-money equation, increasingly relevant as even low-end brands gain access to high-performance fabrics and manufacturing techniques.

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - detail.jpg

Rule #XIV Mens #M Series Bib Shorts - detail.jpg

In May 2017 SportPursuit was selling the entire Rule#XIV range at £69.99, advertising a 61% saving – this is its own brand, remember, over which it has control of stock levels. In my view at £69.99 the #M Series shorts represent great value – on par with brands like UK's Lusso, of which I have reviewed and loved several pairs of bib shorts at similar prices. But at £180 they are on par price-wise with top-of-the-line kit from the likes of Rapha or Assos, worn by world-class professional cyclists. Of course diminishing returns become harder to quantify, but having worn bibs costing north of £200, I cannot agree the Rule#XIV #M Series bibs deliver value for money at RRP.

Verdict

They are good shorts, but overpriced for what they deliver

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rule#XIV Men's #M Series Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

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?

They're for getting in long rides in comfort, and for pairing with any top.

Rule#XIV says:

"We've spent a lot of time developing these top of the range bib shorts, and we believe them to be one of the best in the market. The high density & anatomic chamois we've used is suitable for long rides. It's designed to fit the contours of your body for ultimate comfort, has multiple densities depending on the pressure zones and is covered with a carbon infused fabric that offers great moisture management & comfort.

"We've used a breathable, moisture wicking, mid weight compression level fabric for the main part of the garment, to give you the chance to enjoy these bib shorts for as much of the year as possible, and offer a high level of muscle support.

"The mesh brace is incredibly soft, stretchy, lightweight and breathable, but still manages to offer support, whilst the Italian made silicone gripper is going to keep everything in place no matter how hard you turn those pedals!

"REMEMBER....BREAK THE RULES...BUT ALWAYS WEAR BLACK SHORTS!"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Rule#XIV lists these details:

Male specific, anatomic 'top of the range' high density chamois pad from Cytech (EIT) in Italy, with bacteriostatic, soft, ultra-fast drying, carbon infused fabric covering – suitable for any length of ride

Compression level fabric to offer support & comfort over long rides

Moisture wicking, mid-weight fabric to be suitable for multiple seasons – get the most out of your bib shorts!

Ergonomic panel construction gives the perfect fit whilst in the riding position

Incredibly soft, breathable mesh brace section

Reflective visibility details

Soft flat locked stitching on all seams for comfort

RULE#XIV Italian made silicone gripper at cuffs for a secure fit

Contrast side panel & RULE#XIV print details

No scratchy labels – care label is made from a soft fabric and sewn flat to the outside of the garment

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Flatlocked stitching is good.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Can't say I felt faster in them.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

The cut is good.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
6/10

Slim bordering tight, you may want to size up.

Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
5/10
Rate the product for value:
 
2/10

The RRP is, frankly, ridiculous. At a 60% discount they make a lot more sense.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No signs of anything coming adrift or wearing out after washing.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

For rides up to two hours, good enough; beyond that the excess material at the front starts to bother.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The design – minimalist.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The pad fit at the front, and the price.

Did you enjoy using the product? They wouldn't be my first choice for a long ride.

Would you consider buying the product? Not at RRP.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not at RRP.

Use this box to explain your score

The score is in context of the £180 RRP – for that money I want supreme comfort and performance, comparable with their peers. The #M Series bibs didn't deliver. At their discounted price I'd consider them a 7 or an 8, but up against other high-end bibs at RRP they're below average.

Overall rating: 4/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling

13 comments

Avatar
StoopidUserName [336 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

So in other words they are currently priced at £180 in order to show a big discount later down the line.

 

Hold back then peeps!!

Avatar
check12 [132 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

£180 rrp and the pad isn't great for rides of 2+ hours, avoid! 

Avatar
Simon E [3095 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

"REMEMBER....BREAK THE RULES...BUT ALWAYS WEAR BLACK SHORTS!"

Ha ha, what irony-intending caps-lock using idiot wrote that copy? The same one who thinks that all digits require a leading #

Avatar
Freddy56 [268 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I have shorts by Endura, Galibier and Castelli and these wont be added to the collection. Thanks for the honest review.

 

Avatar
curdins [48 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

And no-one has mentioned all that mesh material on view in the side-on 'on-bike' shot? I'm astonished. Is it a design 'feature'?

Avatar
Cyclax Maximus [24 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I would rather spend £180 at my local brothel, than be party to this overpriced, diseased culture of must-have cycling apparel.

I would expect a diamond encrusted pad for that price.

But hey. at least it has flatlocked stitching (whatever the fuck that is)...

 

Avatar
SingleSpeed [359 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Cyclax Maximus wrote:

I would expect a diamond encrusted pad for that price.

 

 

Probably not so great for chaffing.

 

I've got shorts from Aldi that I use on the Turbo trainer that have a VERY similar looking cheap pad.

Most of my kit these days is fron RH+ or Gore sensible price, assos level, understated design.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [944 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I wish more companies gave us a choice in width of seat pads. As far as I'm aware, it's just Endura.

Avatar
Freddy56 [268 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I wish more companies gave us a choice in width of seat pads. As far as I'm aware, it's just Endura.

I am the owner of the endura pads and I think it is just marketing. Looking at the specialized BG fit saddles the extrenal width between the narrow and the Extra wide is 23mm. Width on the pelvic pressure points difference, between Endura's narrrow pad and the very wide one is 12mm. Look at  your pad on any good chamois  and the pelvic bones pressure points  have enough width to accomodate this 12 mm and more. 

Avatar
ped [282 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I had noticed the other day that Sport Pursuit are selling their own brand stuff non-discounted too. I am curious to know if this is so as to be able to legitimately claim that the prices they usually sell at are 'true' discounts. 

I've never had any issues with the prices they sell this kit at as, as Mike points out, they seem reasonable value at that price point, but the overstated discounts based on an SRP that they presumably control themselves is a nonsense. 

Avatar
bogbrush [38 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Cyclax Maximus wrote:

I would rather spend £180 at my local brothel, than be party to this overpriced, diseased culture of must-have cycling apparel.

I would expect a diamond encrusted pad for that price.

But hey. at least it has flatlocked stitching (whatever the fuck that is)...

 

I really hope that you have an account somewhere on a latex fetish forum where your profile picture is you on a bicycle

Avatar
hawkinspeter [944 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Freddy56 wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I wish more companies gave us a choice in width of seat pads. As far as I'm aware, it's just Endura.

I am the owner of the endura pads and I think it is just marketing. Looking at the specialized BG fit saddles the extrenal width between the narrow and the Extra wide is 23mm. Width on the pelvic pressure points difference, between Endura's narrrow pad and the very wide one is 12mm. Look at  your pad on any good chamois  and the pelvic bones pressure points  have enough width to accomodate this 12 mm and more. 

I've got the wide Endura bib shorts, but I haven't measured them. The sweat pattern after a ride looked to be the right spacing for my sit bones and they're more comfortable than ordinary seat pads, so I'm buying into the marketing.

Avatar
Cyclax Maximus [24 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
bogbrush wrote:
Cyclax Maximus wrote:

I would rather spend £180 at my local brothel, than be party to this overpriced, diseased culture of must-have cycling apparel.

I would expect a diamond encrusted pad for that price.

But hey. at least it has flatlocked stitching (whatever the fuck that is)...

 

I really hope that you have an account somewhere on a latex fetish forum where your profile picture is you on a bicycle

Yes, I can accommoodate you with that one. here's my profile pic.