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Verdict: 
Excellent performance and value, up-to-date features, great looks
Weight: 
194g
Contact: 

The Lusso Carbon Bib Shorts are, to my mind, a UK-made classic: highly comfortable, cool and stylish. The 2018 update is even better – they're hard to go past for the money. A classic just got better.

  • Pros: Very comfortable, affordable and stylish, made in the UK
  • Cons: None

Back in 2016 I gave the previous model of the Carbon shorts 4.5 stars, saying they were 'an excellent choice of bib shorts for all-day rides, and very good value'. Since then I've worn the Carbons many, many times. They've become my go-to shorts for rides long or short. Two years on and probably 100 wash cycles later, they still look like new as well – testament to Lusso's selection of material and build quality.

> Buy these online here

If you've managed to make a borderline-classic, you don't want to be faffing with it too much. A few years back I came to replace my then go-to rubbish-weather bib shorts. What had fitted me perfectly were now unwearable, due to a change in manufacturing country, process and a few materials. Lusso doesn't seem a brand to change for change's sake, and its kit has occasionally drawn review comments to the effect that it seems a bit staid, and not up-to-date. I say on the contrary, stick to what you're good at, cement a reputation for quality and consistency, and you'll win customers for life who will be your best marketing tool.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_riding.jpg

Enter the 2018 Carbon bibshort. The fabric on the straps is the same quality material as in the previous Carbon, and also used in its excellent Dryline baselayer, meaning you look co-ordinated. The black shorts material is still the same too.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_side.jpg

Construction remains of a high quality, the same flatlocking on the front of the thigh and pad, with normal stitching elsewhere. (In the photos you can see a radio pocket on the rear of the shoulder straps – this doesn't feature on the production models.)

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_straps_back.jpg

The major update is the triple-density pad, from Italian brand Elastic Interface, owned by cycling short giant Cytec. The pad is designed for long-distance rides, the perineal cutout removing pressure where you don't want it, the triple-density foam providing it where you do.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_pad.jpg

I must confess to a wee smidge of concern when first sitting atop the new pad, which felt more pronounced and firmer than the previous, but over the following five hours riding in the Highlands my concerns were forgotten, as was the pad and indeed the shorts themselves – the fit, leg placement, straps and fabric all working perfectly to keep me focused on other things, like the stupid 25-tooth gearing of my fast bike in mountains.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_back_2.jpg

Another change is the leg gripper – now longer at 75mm, with subtle reflective trim dotted about it. The previous grippers were fine, but these ones are perfect. The shorts simply don't budge an inch without feeling tight, and the gripper is now breathable to aid cooling and prevent any feeling of sweatiness underneath.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_gripper.jpg

Sartorially, the Carbon is still understated, and with the removal of all red trim now pairs even better with any colour of jersey or jacket. A new feature is a thin strip of reflective piping on the rear of the thigh and now-reflective 'Lusso' branding on the front, pedalling motion aiding driver perception at night.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_front_2.jpg

I'm 6ft tall and 74kg and the medium size was perfect, pretty much bang on Lusso's size chart for waist and chest. It says for my height I should be a large, but the straps have enough give to accommodate the slighter among us to maintain a good leg/waist fit.

lusso_carbon_bib_shorts_-_straps.jpg

Over a month or so's riding, short or long, flat or hilly, in cooler or hotter weather, the Carbon bib shorts were flawless. Once on the bike I ceased to be aware of them, be it straps, around the waist, the pad or thigh. No need to adjust anything, after a period of time or perhaps athletic out-of-the-saddle sessions. Suffering up the oft 20-per cent-plus climb from Kenmore over to Glen Quaich on 34x25 after four and a half hours out, I was alone with my suffering – nothing nethers-related to distract from my feeling of ineptitude at speccing such an idiot's gearing.

> Buyer's Guide: 22 of the best cycling bib shorts

This to me is the mark of a great short – one you don't think about until you need to get changed at the end of a long ride. I'm very pleased Lusso has clearly thought long and hard about the updated Carbon shorts, and they have only improved. My 2016's are now second-day backup to these, my new go-to pair.

Verdict

Excellent performance and value, up-to-date features, great looks

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lusso Carbon Bib Shorts V2

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

They are for people who want to ride all day in warmer weather, and feel great doing so.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Lusso:

Italian CoolTech Fabric

AirTech Carbon Bib Fabric

Elastic Interface Pad 14mm

75 ml Reflective Leg Grippers

Flat and Overlocked Seams

50+ UV Ray Protection

Machine Washable

Made in Manchester

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

While not 100% flat-stitched, the build quality is flawless. Crawling over every inch, there's not a thing out of place.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Supremely comfortable, can't fault them.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Based on the previous incarnation using the same materials and construction, I'm betting these will last and last.

Rate the product for fit:
 
10/10

Like. A. Glove.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
10/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
9/10

At 194g they are pretty light – some shorts costing twice as much weigh more.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
10/10

I simply can't fault them.

Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

For £90 RRP, these are excellent value.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Looks like new. Time will tell.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Excellent – comfort, fit – the works. Stayed cool when working hard in hot sunshine.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit – zero movement, total comfort.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

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 overall score

I can't fault these. At all. Compared with shorts costing over twice as much, I'd pick these every time. It has to be five stars.

Overall rating: 10/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

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.

1 comments

Avatar
Curly [77 posts] 1 year ago
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I have got the version 1 and i have to say i totally agree with the reveiwer, superb pair of shorts.  looking forward to trying out Version 2 and its nice to know they are made in the UK