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The Lusso RS19 bib shorts are aimed at people wanting an all-day racy design without breaking the bank. Fit-wise they seem to be for the thicker-set rider, so even if Lusso kit has suited you well in the past, be aware that might not be the case here.
Manchester's Lusso clothing has been knocking out great value, no-compromise kit since 1982. The company isn't resting on its laurels though, and the RS19 bib shorts see it maintaining its 'all-day' focus while moving into compressive fabric technology for the performance-minded. The shorts' four-way stretch fabric certainly conforms tightly to the body, with flatlocked seams down the sides to avoid discomfort.
There's no separate leg gripper, rather a line of silicone-ish dots around the inside of the leg hem. As with laser-cut hem-free jersey arms, some may appreciate a lack of restrictive fabric here, but I found that in the absence of a stronger gripper, the legs would ride up over time.
While the fabrics and construction cannot be faulted, the overall package didn't really work for me. Although the shorts were initially comfortable and supportive – for which I'd rate them highly – after an hour or so I found myself wanting to stop and pull the leg grippers down a bit to relieve build-up of pressure in the crotch. Nothing bad per se, but compared to my other Lusso bibs (the excellent Carbon V2) in size mediums, definitely noticeable.
I contacted Lusso and was told: 'The fabric has a compression construction (not as much give) and we tested these on mainly size Medium and Large riders within the test team and they have come to the conclusion they are more compressive then the Carbon V2 fit, I would say the size medium should have been a good race fit for you but maybe a bit tight with your height in the strap length because I am the same stats as you but height is 5' 10 and the medium fit me fine.'
I'm a 32in waist, 6ft tall (it's not me in the photos) and, at 75kg, am on the slimmer side of the pie chart. Going off Lusso's sizing, my waist is a medium but my height is a large, with my 35in inseam being off the end of XXL.
As ever, cycling fit is not prescribed in stone and one company's large is another's small – anyone purchasing Italian brands vs British will know this only too well. Just as with shoes, the designers have to decide which width-to-length or height body morph they are going to target, and with the RS19 Lusso seems to have aimed more at the larger-of-leg-compared-to-height rider, less the slimmer streak like myself.
Leg gripper issues aside, the rest of the bibs are well-specced, with generous, comfortable shoulder straps, and a robust chequerboard material over the front and rear that still looks like new. Side panels are the thin, breathable compression fabric, but they do show inconsiderate washing so be careful chucking them in with anything containing Velcro.
The pad is Lusso's '8 Hour+ Pad Performance with Gill Technology'. It's a multi-density design, and was perfectly good at the job of remaining comfortable, wicking and not moving about. The issues I struck with longer-ride fit were more related to the cut of the shorts overall and prescribed body fit.
Price-wise, their £99 rrp is on a par for other Lusso kit, and – if the shorts fit – represents great value long-term as Lusso stuff in my experience lasts and lasts. They're £20 cheaper than the DRS model and likewise Castelli's Endurance 2.
With the RS19, Lusso is looking to serve the wider-to-height, more race-orientated community, at a decent price point. The made-in-Manchester build quality is top-notch and, judging from my experience, you can expect years of service. Just watch the sizing.
Decently specced bib shorts for the thicker-set rider – check your sizing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso RS19 Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says: "The RS19 Bibshorts are a brand new race garment which feature a unique compressive fabric. The fabric supports the muscles and encourages blood flow, therefore reducing lactic acid build up, thus aiding performance.
"The fabric has a jacquard woven design and delivers optimum temperature regulation.
"Breathable with flexibility and high abrasion resistance.
"The Seamless leg grippers offer secure grip whilst spreading the pressure evenly and firmly without leaving pressure marks on the leg.
"We are unique as a brand here at Lusso as we design and manufacture this garment at our factory in Manchester."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pro Level Race Fit Bibshorts
8 Hour+ Pad Performance with Gill Technology
Seamless Leg Grippers
Compression 4 Way Stretch Fabric
Flat Seams and Overlocked
Race bib has 45mm Straps with Carbon Rear Panel
50+ UV Ray Protection
Designed and Made In Manchester
Typical great build quality from Lusso.
For me, with my body shape, not great due to issues with the legs riding up.
Most of the shorts still look great, but they may have gone in with something containing Velcro as the sides have fluffed up a bit in spots.
For my bodyshape they just didn't work out. Even in a large.
Again, not great for me – I'm usually a medium in Lusso, but that's definitely not the case here – maybe XL.
Initially comfortable but the fit means, after a while, not comfortable.
The £99 price is on a par for other Lusso kit, and – if the shorts fit – represents great value long-term as Lusso stuff in my experience lasts and lasts. They're £20 cheaper than the DRS model and likewise Castelli's Endurance 2.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The side fabric will show it if washed with other items, so launder with care.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, not that great for my body shape. After an hour or two, I was constantly aware that things weren't perfect.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Supportive shoulder straps.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, for the first hour or so.
Would you consider buying the product? Not for my body shape.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they were of a thicker build, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
If they fit you, I'm sure you'll find the RS19 to be good value at £99 – certainly Lusso's history with me would suggest that. Given the plethora of body shapes out there, I'm surprised that these are the first Lusso bibs I've not got on with.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
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.
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.