We've tested the Huez Starman Bibshorts before and they were very good indeed – as are these new Starman Mono versions. In fact, there is little discernible difference between the two – apart from the Mono's £25 premium.
London-based Huez could be seen as a bit of a boutique brand, with a small but well designed performance clothing range that sits alongside its collection of urban kit. These Starman Monos are its top end bib shorts, manufactured in Italy using local materials and chamois pad. They're a top notch pair of shorts with high levels of attention to detail.
A lot of race-orientated shorts use quite thin materials to keep the weight down, but the Monos feel a little thicker throughout when you aren't wearing them, mostly down to the fact that the fabric has high levels of stretch. Put them on and they fit snuggly without being tight or restrictive, the material stretching taut and offering a small level of compression to allegedly promote blood flow and support for the muscles, reducing fatigue.
They really are very comfortable and just feel great when you are wearing them. The legs are held in place by silicone grippers in the shape of tiny little dots over a large surface area, which cuts down on any sort of pressure points. I certainly never had any issues with them moving up my thighs.
Throughout the shorts, the seams are kept as minimal as possible and aren't obtrusive anywhere, which also adds to the high comfort levels.
The bibs use wide, flat pieces of fabric for the straps from waist up to the shoulders, and again things fit snug without applying too much pressure at all. For the back section, Huez has used a lightweight mesh which aids cooling on hot days.
Speaking of cooling, the fabric used for the lower part of the shorts uses Coldblack technology. It's claimed that dark fabrics treated with Coldblack reflect more heat than lighter colours, with temperatures around 9°C lower. Obviously this is very hard to prove, especially outside of the lab, but I never felt uncomfortably hot when wearing these shorts, even with the temperature in the mid-20s. You also get SPF protection to factor 50 too.
The pad is a Serie 3.2 D/80 designed for long distances, with three differing thicknesses and foam density areas coupled with channels to reduce pressure on the perineal/prostate area. I found it comfortable on long and short rides, even when taking on some gravel tracks on a stiff cyclo-cross bike.
As for details, you get a radio pocket at the rear of the bib mesh and a reflective logo on the front of the leg, plus a tab at the rear. The pocket sits off centre to the right, making it relatively to access while in the saddle with your jersey unzipped. Size-wise it's more useful for an mp3 player rather than a phone; my iPhone 5 just fitted but I'm not sure I'd want to trust it.
The thigh pocket found on the standard Starmans has been removed from this Mono version. It was sized and positioned to take a gel, making it more suitable for triathletes, so may or may not be missed.
Apart from the removal of that thigh pocket, I couldn't detect any difference between the Mono and standards versions, so we asked Huez and were told that the pad on the Mono is designed for comfort in a more aggressive position, and the main fabric has more compression.
They look and feel pretty much identical in use, so any improvements or benefits are barely detectable. If you want this level of quality and performance I'd suggest you go for the standard Starmans at £130 and save yourself £25.
I still wear the original Starmans often, and even now, over a year since they were first tested, they are still going strong and showing no signs of wear and tear. That suggests whichever pair you go for, that initial outlay will be spread out over many miles of uses.
If you don't like the blue, they are available in black as well, in a range of sizes from XS to XXL.
Very good bib shorts, but not worth the extra premium over the standard model
road.cc test report
Make and model: Huez Starman Mono 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?
Huez says: "Our most advanced short to date, developed with technology borrowed straight from the pro-peloton, is at the pinnacle of cycling performance-wear.
"The shorts are cut from an Italian Lycra specifically designed to stretch with your body whilst providing compression which improves blood flow and performance whilst reducing the risk of muscle injury. This coupled with seamless straps, ultrasonic seam edges, mesh ventilation and subtle reflective details produces a short perfect for the Sunday club ride whilst being comfortable enough for tackling the longest audax.
"Our signature silicone gripper is printed directly onto the fabric of the shorts ensures the garment stays where you want it, allowing you to concentrate on the road ahead.
"The radio pocket at the back sports our signature reflective star pattern.
"The chamois has ultra high density perineal inserts that have been purposely engineered, according to medical research and placed in key pressure points for optimum performance.
"3M® Scotchlite® tabs on both the front and back leg adds visibility when the dark sets in."
The Huez Starman Mono bib shorts are very nice indeed but I can't see any reason to buy these over the standard Starman bibs at £25 less.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Huez lists these features:
Dark fabrics with Coldblack® technology have been proven to reflect more heat than lighter colours. This special finishing technology reduces heat build-up and provides reliable sun protection up to UPF 50, and typically keeps the fabrics 9°c cooler than non-treated black fabrics.
3M®'s brilliant reflective technology keeps you highly visible when darkness falls.
Our chamois is the SERIE 3.2.D/80 made in Italy. A heat-former pad with three different thicknesses and three different padding densities. Designed to lessen pressure on the perineal-postate area, it gives excellent support to the ischial bones. SERIE 3D CARBON, the fabric contains a carbon thread with bacteriostatic properties.
Ultra-grippy silicone keeps the garment firmly in place.
Save yourself £25 and buy the standard Starman shorts.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A 30 degree wash worked fine to bring them up clean even after off-road action.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These are very well made, comfortable bib shorts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How nice they feel when on.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They feel just like the Starman bib shorts with the leg pocket removed and a £25 premium.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd buy the standard Starman bib shorts.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No, as above.
Use this box to explain your score
The Starman Monos are very good across the board, but with no discernible difference with the cheaper Starmans, they lose a point on value.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.