For serious distances on the road, bib shorts offer easy comfort at the waistline and extra draft protection for the back over standard shorts. For women, though, bibs do present a few problems, the main one being how the straps/bib area interact with the bust.
Shutt VR have put a lot of effort into the design of their Women's Coolmax Pro Bibshorts, and it shows. The primary area of concern, the straps, has been well considered, with soft broad, highly breathable stretch fabric used, and good shaping. However, the straps are quite freeform, and although they were comfortable and reasonably static in use with my modest physique, larger busted ladies might find that the straps could easily migrate off the shoulders or under the arms. Some sort of retention system at the front would be preferable, or more shaping.
The fabric is both supportive and comfortable to wear, with a good balance of breathability/wicking properties and density, making the shorts ideal for spring, summer or autumn use. Unfortunately, though, it's also a little on the translucent side, which many less confident women may find off-putting. A 'blacker' shade of fabric would be better.
In use, the pad is virtually imperceptible, which is surprising when you first see it on the shorts. It's a plush, well engineered women's specific pad, but in the saddle all you notice is the ride, not the pad, meaning it's doing its job superbly.
The shorts are a good length, not too short and not too long, with an effective gripper at the leg keeping them in place.
The size large I tried equated roughly to a UK size 12.
All in all, these are a great pair of shorts for the right physique, but not 100% perfect.
Well designed shorts offering good performance and comfort and an excellent chamois. Need a few tweaks though.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Shutt VR Women's Coolmax Pro Bib Shorts
Size tested: Large
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?
Women's specific bib shorts aimed at pro team riders- without the pro team price tag.
High performance shorts at a reasonable price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TMF Pro-Gel anti-bacterial female specific chamois
10 panel design
Mesh back and straps for breathability.
Extremely well constructed with quality fabrics, components and good attention to detail.
Chamois was superbly comfortable and shorts performed very well apart from some drifting of straps.
Well made from tough fabrics so should last well.
Mid weight, ideal for almost year round use.
Extremely comfortable pad. Some drifting of chest straps.
Similar price to many women's bib shorts on the market but a good quality product.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The 'barely there' feeling yet incredibly comfortable chamois.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The slightly translucent fabric.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
With the strap configuration or shape tweaked and with more opaque fabric these could be truly great shorts.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.