The Lusso RS19 women's bib shorts are ideal for anyone spending hours in the saddle in mild to cool conditions. They have a racier fit and design than some, while not compromising on comfort, though their performance in hotter conditions and at higher intensities could be better.
- Pros: Understated design, quality construction, made in Manchester
- Cons: Breathability around lower back could be better; side panels susceptible to snagging
The four-way stretch fabric is intended to provide light compression, and the medium that I tested (I would normally take a small to medium) was spot on – not restrictive at all, conforming snugly to the body without irritation.
Flatlock seams down the sides go a long way to help this comfort, but what impresses even more are the lazer-cut, seamless leg grippers. Rather than silicone dimples or strips, Lusso has used a weave of ultra-fine thread to create a stretchy grid around the thigh that acts like silicone.
I found them to be outstanding when in direct contact with the skin; they sit snuggly in place and leave no imprint when you take the shorts off. They don't have the staying power of some other shorts when combined with knee or leg warmers, but the slight riding-up didn't cause me any discomfort.
The bib straps feature a similar weave to the leg grippers but there is about twice as much thread used, so the elasticity is much more prominent. It really works to hold the straps in place and they are sufficiently wide to avoid any possible digging in.
The pad works exceptionally well in all circumstances – no excess build-up of sweat here and, for me, certainly no discomfort or rubbing of any sort. Even after five hours of riding I was still feeling really happy in the saddle. The fabric of the shorts is equally as good in terms of not allowing you to overheat. There is a 'but' though...
While I can't fault the comfort and performance of the thigh area, pad and straps, the overall garment is, in my opinion, let down by the panels around the stomach and up the back. This really came to the fore during short, intense rides.
The substantial upper seam at the front sits just under my ribs, with no curve or dip to it. It didn't actually rub, I was simply always conscious of it and it leaves its mark at the end of a ride. I am quite a slim build so I can imagine that some women might have an issue with it digging in.
The rear panel (two layers of waffle-like fabric between the straps) promotes a build-up of heat and a sweaty back during more intense rides. The temperatures have dipped recently and this isn't really an issue during longer, steadier rides but I certainly wouldn't be recommending the shorts for intense training in warmer weather.
The design is understated and versatile, so the shorts can be teamed with loads of different jerseys. They need to be looked after, though: the side panels are seriously delicate, the lightest of encounters with a rough surface will snag them. I accidentally brushed against a wall and they immediately 'fluffed up'.
At £99.99 the RS19s certainly aren't the most expensive out there. In fact, if you want a comfortable pair of shorts for longer, steadier rides and aren't looking for innovative, detachable bibs then these are a great investment – almost half the price of Rapha's Souplesse detachable ones.
However, they are more expensive than others that are more breathable around the back and better suited for intense, sweat-inducing rides, if that's more your thing. Liv's £79.99 Race Day Shorts feature mesh straps and so do Cycology's £70 Logo Shorts.
Overall, these are an exceptionally comfortable pair of shorts but the performance falls short if you raise the intensity or want to ride in temperatures above 25 degrees – be prepared for a sweaty back. You'd also be well advised to check the fit at the front.
Stylish and exceptionally comfortable for long or low-intensity riding in mild temperatures – just don't turn on the gas
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso RS19 Bibshorts Women's
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?
*Women's 8 Hour+ Pad Performance
*Seamless Leg Grippers
*Compression 4 Way Stretch Fabric
*Flat Seams and OverlockeD
*50+ UV Ray Protection
Let down a little by lack of versatility.
Side panels snag easily.
Frontal area could do with lowering or shaping – for me, anyway.
Lots cheaper than some, but more expensive than a couple of very good – and more versatile – options.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Keep them away from Velcro. Easy to wash otherwise.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Compression is firm, though I can't confirm the claim of it 'aiding performance'. Breathability around legs and chamois is great, but not so good along the central back during intense riding or warm weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, comfort around legs and pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
'Solid' material at the back and lack of shape/thick seam at the front.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Not bad, but there are certainly cheaper options available.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, particularly when doing longer rides.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? With a warning, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Outstanding comfort and performance for low-intensity riding in autumn or spring, but loses points for poor breathability around the back in hot temperatures or during intense training.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…