Two years ago Edward reviewed the Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short and gave them four stars. That was when priced at £100. That Sugoi has retained the features, fit and performance having dropped the price to £90 adds up to a pretty good option for warmish weather riding.
Having looked for differences in manufacture, fit or design against the 2014 model, I can't see daylight between the latest and the previously reviewed pair. That's fine – if it worked back then, why change a winning formula? If you've worked out how to make them for 10% less while retaining overall value, even better. That's £10 to blow on coffee and cake...
I found the hip and waist fit spot on according to Sugoi's size guide. The bib strap length was good too – often the bane of my life being tall and ectomorphic ('skinny'). They feel tight around the thigh at first, relying on a silicone grip-strip over the top of the thigh and a flatlock-stitched panel around the leg. That the design seems not to have changed in two years is probably of note – the trend now being for multiple inches of non-siliconed leg gripper band. That said, I didn't feel any snagging of leg hair.
There's a wee reflective '87' tag with a maple leaf on it sewn into the shoulder yoke – a reference to Sugoi's founding date, and possibly what's regarded as the finest ice hockey season in history (no, I didn't know that either). Below the white mesh yoke fabric there's the 'Pro' bit of the shorts: a radio pocket. What use would us mere mortals have for such a thing? Maybe a place to stash a waterproofed pack of cycling Top Trumps cards, while fooling your fellow Sunday ride mates into believing the team Skoda will be along any second, airhorns blaring, to deliver a gilet or bidon. Rounding out the features list are reflective silver logos on each thigh and left buttock.
The multi-panel construction (I stopped counting at 12) is well assembled, entirely flatlock-seamed throughout. There's what Sugoi calls 'Perforated forward ventilation' fabric extending from the side of the thigh all the way up the sides of the body, and it does a good job of both keeping the skin cool and letting excess leg hair through. Wookies may want to steer away from these shorts. A minor let-down was the small 'Ultra Aero' label on the left thigh, which peeled off after a few washes.
The Formula FX pad features 'Vibration Damping Control' and has ventilation holes aplenty. My take on the pad while riding in temperatures up to 36°C recently is that it's very comfortable, both from the outset and after a good few hours thrashing about.
In this extreme (for the UK) heat there was a buildup of sweat around the front of the stomach and middle of the back – not excessively so given the climate and effort, but these are obviously not very-hot-weather shorts. Possibly testament to this was my first-ever recollection of seeing white salt stains on a pair of bib shorts.
Overall I looked forward to rides in the RS Pro bibs – the fit was good, the pad was very comfortable, and they didn't turn me into a mobile billboard. For £90, they felt like good value. Now where'd I leave those playing cards...
Well made and comfortable, a good choice for fast, everyday spring-summer-autumn riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short
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 are built for riders who want to go fast, with a snug aero fit. They work.
"OUR LATEST RS PRO BIB SHORT TAKES ENGINEERED PERFORMANCE MORE SERIOUSLY THAN EVER, COMBINING 3-WAY FABRIC DESIGN WITH OUR WORLD CLASS FORMULA FX CHAMOIS TO PRODUCE A CLASS LEADING PERFORMANCE BOTTOM.
Re-engineered fabrics for better performance
Ultra Aero fabric on outer thighs for maximum aero efficiency
Engineered fabric on front panels for increased breathability
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FORMULA FX CHAMOIS
The Formula FX Chamois features the best technical details and innovations for superior performance option.
Perforated forward ventilation.
4-way stretch side panels mold to the body.
High density vibration dampening relief pads.
Welded center channel with perforation for ventilation and pressure relief.
V-notch for ventilation and flexibility.
Advance lamination process for smooth seam-free surface.
SUGOI's performance stretch fabrics are at the core of our DNA. With a range of textures and compression capabilities, we have been the preferred solution since we created our first bike short in 1987. Learn more about Fabric Architecture.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They washed up very well – the only let-down was the wee badge starting to peel off.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – I looked forward to wearing them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Possibly the leg gripper fit – maybe a bit tight? And the front panel fabric could be a bit more breezy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Sugoi has done well to hold the four-star rating for 2016, with no discernible change in design and technology. It's the pad and fit that make these shorts – better leg grippers and a more breathable fabric would garner more stars.
About the tester
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