The Pro Gel bib shorts from Manchester brand Lusso offer decent comfort which is good for rides of several hours, with goes-with-anything black styling and a competitive price tag.
Italian name notwithstanding, Lusso is based in the north of the UK and – unusually – does all of its manufacture here in the UK too. The company makes a range of bib shorts all of which are under £100, and these, the Pro Gel bibs, are its second most affordable at £65. Constructed from Italian CoolTech fabric, these are your classic all-black bibs with only subtle branding, so likely to appeal to traditionalists in that respect.
Bib shorts are there to do a job, and that job is to keep you comfortable in the saddle. The key component for that to happen is the pad, made here from HD foam and gel and with a micro-fibre surface material. It's not branded and I'll be honest and say that I had modest expectations of it, but was pleasantly surprised. Lusso says that the pad is 14mm thick, which would be unusually thick, but I think it's closer to 10mm. It's a fairly conventional shape with a pressure-relieving channel down the centre, but it's in the right place and I found on rides of five hours or so that it kept me comfortable and without any real complaints.
The bib straps are made from a very breathable Coolmesh fabric and are wide enough to avoid digging into the shoulders. My only criticism of them is that the stitched seams are quite chunky – I prefer straps which are either laser cut or bonded as this makes for less bulk and less chance of skin irritation.
The CoolTech fabric is a little bit shiny and a bit less sleek than more premium fabrics, but in use is generally pretty comfortable. The label is coy about exactly what it's made of, describing it as simply "100% synthetics". On warmer days, I found it a little bit sweaty – I think this is an area where you can differentiate from more expensive shorts – but it wasn't really a big issue.
The leg openings use a 32mm-wide band of laser-cut Lycra which is embedded with lightly grippy silicone across the whole of the inner surface. It's an approach used more and more to replace the narrower silicone strips seen in the past, and here it is comfortable and without any constriction on the thighs.
The only branding on the outside is two Lusso "L" logos, one on the right thigh and a reflective one on the rear. Past experience is that these may not remain in place for that many washes, although at the time of writing they are still there.
If you're in the market for some new bibs and want to be able to ride longer distances in comfort, then I'd certainly recommend considering these. At this price point, I would also be looking at dhb or these from Sportful as quality alternatives, but the Lussos can hold their own particularly if you're riding all day.
Excellent comfort at a very reasonable price; recommended if you like the traditional look
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Pro Gel 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?
Lusso says these are suitable for long days, while being pitched at an affordable point in the market. I'd say that's not a bad summary.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lusso lists these features:
Fabric: Italian CoolTech
Bib Fabric: CoolMesh Back and Straps
Leg Grippers: 32mm Woven with SC-9
Seams: Flat and 3 Thread
Design: 10 Panel Anatomic
Antistatic & 50+ UV Ray Protection: Yes
Machine Washable: Yes
Made in UK: Yes
Usage: Long Distance
Fabric: Microfibre & Gel
Padding: H.D. Foam & Gel
Ten-panel construction helps give a good fit. Stitching is mostly fine, using flatlock down the insides of the thighs and around the leg openings. The fabric feels a bit less nice against the skin than some more expensive bibs, and I found I sweated a bit more too, but not to the extent of it being a problem.
Decent. Lived up to Lusso's claims as being comfortable for long rides – I had no saddle discomfort after five hours.
No concerns during testing.
I tend to find Lusso kit sizes up on the large side. These were a medium, with Large, X-Large and XX-Large available too.
I was pleasantly surprised by the pad, which is the key area. In the less critical areas of the straps and the overall fabric, I think you do get a bit more comfort if you spend more than this.
Excellent value, especially given that they're made in the UK.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well. These shorts show that you don't need to spend loads of money in order to be comfortable on long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're not my favourite straps, and nor is the material used for the body of the shorts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Potentially
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Scored highly as they are very comfortable and super value.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.