Lusso has headed down the windcheating route with its Active Aero Cycling Bibshorts, using fabrics to give you an aerodynamic advantage against the elements – backed up with some very bold claims indeed. Comfort is great, mind, so any speed benefits are a welcome bonus.
For a lot of riders, Lusso's stance on British manufacturing is a big draw so it's good to see that this has continued, with these Aero Actives being created in Manchester. Quality is top notch and all of the stitching and panels are finished to a very high standard so I can't see any longterm issues with durability.
The fabric used for the main sections of the shorts comprises two Italian made fabrics. Front and back, the Active Aeros use what looks to be a dimpled type surface on the outer while smooth on the inner.
It's a decent thickness and feels very robust which is at odds with how soft it feels against the skin, plus there is plenty of stretch in the fabric for a close fit – borderline compressive in fact.
The second material used for the leg side panels is much thinner, basically seethrough on the grooves, and this one really does have a lot of give to guarantee a skintight fit for those aerodynamic gains.
Forty-five millimetre leg grippers keep the shorts in place and even with the large internal seam they spread the load without any form of pressure points or discomfort. The thin line of silicone stops them sliding up if your legs are sweaty.
Up top, the bib uses a lot thicker material than many we see, and you can get a little warm when really cranking out the effort. Compared with the shorts section, the bib straps don't have the same level of tension in them so they are comfortable against the skin and don't feel restrictive.
For the full pro look you also get a radio pocket at the rear of the bib section, plus a guide to keep the headphone wire in place.
Elastic Interface supplies pads to a lot of shorts manufacturers, so it's no surprise that Lusso has followed the same path. The pad in question uses various densities of foam padding in two steps, raising them above the central relief channel.
The first step is a constant height right the way around, with the second being thicker at the rear and tapering off a few mm at the front.
It's a comfortable design, and considering the aero intentions of the bib shorts, you're likely to spent a lot of time crouched over in the drops so the much less padded front means you don't get any bunching.
It remains comfortable, too, whether you are out for a short, hard blast or a longer jaunt of four hours or more.
At a penny shy of 100 quid the Lussos aren't cheap, but in terms of quality and comfort they certainly aren't overpriced. For instance, they are a cool £40 cheaper than the Gore Oxygen 20 bib shorts, which use a pad from the same manufacturer and claim to have all the attributes of the Lussos.
Race-orientated shorts also come in the form of dhb's Aeron Speed bibs which at full retail will set you back £80, so there are options out there for various budgets.
And do the aero claims justify paying a bit of a premium? Well, that is something only you can decide, but if you look at the opening section of the report below you'll see that Lusso saw a 19-second saving over 10 miles when paired with one of its Active Aero jerseys.
True, it probably doesn't really affect most of us in the real world, but when it comes to aerodynamic savings I've known people to spend a lot more for similar gains in a time trial, for instance.
Overall, I'd say the Lussos offer an impressive all-round package, with the aero benefits, if true, the icing on the cake.
Bold aero claims, but impressive shorts nonetheless for those who like to go fast in comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Active Aero Cycling Bibshorts
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: "We tested the Lusso Active Aero Bibshorts in conjunction with the Active Aero Short Sleeve Jersey using an ex-elite rider, riding at 280 watts on a Specialized Venge, featuring Zipp 808's with a power meter
"He was also wearing Lusso Active Aero socks and an aero helmet.
"The test was held on a 10 mile test course. The wind was NNW with a 17 degree centigrade temperature and we found an improvement was made over a standard jersey and bibshorts of 19 seconds. A saving of 3 mins 10 secs over a 100 mile ride."
Claims that are hard to quantify but the Lusso bibs are very comfortable and fit really well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lusso lists these features:
* Fabric: 2 Italian Aero Fabrics
* Bib Fabric: Dry yarn Polypropylene bib
* Leg Grippers: 45mm SC-10
* Pad : Elastic interface
* Design: Anatomic Race Fit
* Detail: Race Radio Pocket
* Antistatic & 50+ UV Ray Protection: Yes
* Machine Washable: Yes
* Made in UK: Yes Manchester
Pad: ELASTIC INTERFACE
* Usage: Long Distance 6hr+Endurance Pad
* Thickness: 14 mm
* Padding: H.D. Perf Foam
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple hand or machine wash at 30°C brings everything up clean.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A really nice close and comfortable fit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The front material is quite seethrough although your modesty is intact thanks to the pad.
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
Lusso continues to impress me with its price vs performance, and these are no different: great fit and comfort at a good price.
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.