RH+'s Power Stretch range is performance orientated cycle clothing that provides a form/compression style fit in both jersey and these bibshorts. As it's the thing most of us look at first let's get the price out in the open. They're £110 and while you can pay between £40 and over £200 for bib shorts, the majority are under £100, which puts the RH+ shorts in the upper end of the market.
What do you get for your money?
RH+'s Firedry Gold 100 fabric provides plenty of comfort and breathability. The material is very smooth and soft to the touch which means they are a pleasure to wear. In humid weather you don't overheat and the 5cm silicone grippers keep everything in place.
The stretch part of the name comes from the rubberized stripes up the legs. These add the compression effect I mentioned above to the Firedry fabric which to be fair is pretty elastic as it is. They do provide a nice secure fit and you do feel the material moving with you as you pedal especially at high cadences.
The straps for the bibs do take a little bit of getting used to. The back strap is just a single strip that runs up your spine before splitting into the two shoulder straps. Its better in warmer weather as its less material for you to get hot under but if you wear the bibs directly against the skin the thin straps can cause pressure points making them a bit irritating. A base layer underneath does stop this though.
Most importantly the Prologic pad is very good. Padded sections of varying thickness a central channel to remove pressure means plenty of comfort whether it's a hard interval session or a long steady base ride. The padding is the right depth to provide cushioning without bunching and yet still allows you to feel the saddle below.
In terms of fit and comfort the Power Stretch bibs have a better pad than their cheaper sibling, the O-key previously tested but lose a few points for those straps.
Following the likes of Castelli the front of these shorts are cut low, just below belly button height which means if you are carrying even an ounce of fat on your midriff you'll look like you've got a bit of a paunch, but it does make it easier to visit the loo.
The build quality is very good with neat stitching and the graphics have stayed in place after countless washes. A decent size reflective tab is well positioned on the rear of each leg for visibility which if you wear it alongside the matching jersey should see you reasonably well lit up.
Colours match the Power Stretch jersey, white/red, white/black, white/blue, black/yellow and black/white and sizes of S to 3XL. That's standard Italian though so best to go one size up. As a plus the white versions do have a black rear panel to protect your modesty.
On the whole the Power Stretch shorts are a decent performing pair of bibs for the money with a very comfortable pad and great build quality. The fit is going to determine whether that low front and single strap bibs are for you or not. Personally I like them as long as they are worn with a baselayer and would be happy to pay the asking price.
A love it or hate it fit but a good pad and top notch build quality.
road.cc test report
Make and model: RH+ Power Stretch bibshorts
Size tested: white/red, 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?
These are part of RH+'s Prologic range which is their perfomance male product line. That means a form fit and breathable/quick drying fabric.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Preformed anatomic construction
. Stretch control appliqués
. Stretch openwork braces
. Inner leg and seat with abrasion-proof inserts
. Leg gripper with visible microfiber elastic depth 5 cm.
. Ultra-flat seams
. Firedry Gold 100 fabric
its going to be a love it or hate it with regards to the bibs and low front.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The pad area is very good and they look great but as I've said I didn't really get on with the bib straps without a baselayer beneath them. I know not everybody wears a baselayer in the summer so it might be something to consider.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad, build quality and the styling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bib straps.
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: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
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,
With a background in engineering dabbling as a CNC programmer/machinist, draughtsman and product development engineer how a bike is made is just as important to Stu as how it rides.
He knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and has been chucking bikes around the west country ever since and the only reason he climbs is so that he can descend like a nutter down the other side. After years as a competitive time triallist Stu is on the lookout for a new form of competition after realising that the choice of a few glasses of wine in the evening versus riding up and down dual carriageways at 5am was becoming very one sided.