The Lead Out bib shorts are Lusso's take on a classic design and the Manchester-based company has done a great job. The shorts offer comfort, quality and a decent performance with plenty of understated style, at a price that won't break the bank.
- Pros: Excellent compression feel from the fabric, supportive pad
- Cons: Stitching not quite as neat as I've found with other Lusso products
When I started road riding back at the turn of the century, you pretty much wore plain black shorts unless you were a pro as that was really all that was available. It was ideal, too, as you never had to worry about your jersey clashing with your shorts. Lusso has aimed to recreate this with the Lead Out bibs, creating a simple, classic pair of bib shorts but with up-to-date fabrics.
The Italian fabric has a compressive feel to it which I like, especially as it doesn't feel restrictive or like it's squeezing your muscles; there is just enough support if you are out for a long ride.
Lusso has gone for multiple panels and the fit is good. They feel much more natural when you are on the bike rather than standing up, which is always a good sign.
The front sits nicely over the stomach – great if you like a higher front than you get on some shorts, most noticeably those from Italian brands.
Unlike some more expensive shorts, you don't get flatlock stitched seams. I'm not really criticising them for this, as you can't have it all, but if I was riding for four or five hours I did notice them dig into my skin a little, especially at the grippers.
The bib section is mesh to aid breathability and the straps are plenty wide enough to avoid pressure points, plus the fabric is really soft.
I'm a big fan of the Antibacterial Carbon pad. It's quite firm compared with a lot of others – something I prefer over squidgy foam. The shape mimics a narrow saddle and you get a few channels and the like for reducing pressure. Lusso says it's good for 4-5 hours of use at a time and I'd agree.
Lusso has always been proud of its ability to manufacture its products in the UK, and as is typical of most Lusso kit we've reviewed on road.cc the quality is very good. The only thing I have a small issue with is some untidy stitching on the bottom of the pad. There are some stray threads that have started to pull, and although it isn't a massive issue as I could easily tidy them up with some scissors, it is at odds with the rest of the stitching on the shorts and Lusso's usual standards.
At £65, the Lead Out shorts are competitively priced, easily ranking alongside the likes of Alé's excellent Corsa bibs in quality and performance for the same money.
I'd rate them slightly higher than the Altura Progel 3 shorts at £59.99, which lost out a bit for pad comfort.
Overall, the Lead Out bib shorts are a simple, classic looking pair at a very good price, and they'll suit new riders through to those who like to spend plenty of hours in the saddle.
Classic looking bib shorts with a very supportive pad for decent money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Lead Out Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says, "We've designed the Lead Out Bib Shorts in a classic, subtle style with minimal branding to enable co-ordinating with jerseys in any colour ways.
"Ideal for training, racing and even your favourite café ride"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Italian compression fabric 220g
Antibacterial Carbon Pad, 4-5 hrs comfort use
Double sewn in pad
Tritech Bib Top
7cm Wide Bib strap
Part flat seam & 3 thread overlock
Reflective Lusso logo
Designed and Made in Manchester with European fabrics & pad, keeping the carbon footprint to a minimum
Realistic UK sizing and corresponds to Lusso's size chart.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The shorts can take up to a 40 degree wash which keeps them clean without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a pair of shorts for general riding, training and racing, they do a good job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent material and pad choice.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Seams are noticeable on my thighs on long rides.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've seen the Alé Corsa bibs for the same money and that's some good company to keep, as the Lussos are every bit as good.
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
There is a lot to like here for the money, up against some tough competition, with just the slightly untidy stitching on this pair plus the seams being quite bold on the grippers taking a point away.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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.