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Solo's Lugged Bib shorts have some high-quality features although they're among the more expensive options out there.
The Solo shorts are called Lugged because they look lugged. Kind of. The boundary between the bib section and the lowers has swoops and points like the lugs on an old-style frame. It's not the most obvious feature, admittedly. I'm pretty indifferent to that aspect of the design, but you might like it.
The lowers are a good quality nylon/spandex mix - reasonably hardy and not too shiny. The end of each leg features an elasticated gripper with a silicone rubber band inside - the sticky, gummy sort that works well even when you get a bit of a sweat on - while a couple of small logo tabs and red trimming on one leg add some extremely subtle styling. Solo have taken the 'less is more' approach when it comes to design features.
The chamois puts in a strong performance. It's an Aero Sotto pad from Teosport of Italy with 4mm-deep foam forming the base and further 8mm sections underneath your perineum and sit bones. It stretches as much as you need it to while air channels and perforations add welcome ventilation. There are no seams to chafe and the microfibre face fabric is soft and comfy. It feels great even at the end of a big day in the saddle. My legs might have ached after five hours on the bike, but at least I could still sit and pedal without any tenderness.
The chamois is held in place well too. Rather than weedy sewing around the edge, Solo have fastened it in like they mean it with some meaty four-needle flat-locked stitching. It's what they use throughout the construction of these shorts which makes me suspect they'll last the distance although, obviously, you can catch a thread just as easily as on a cheaper pair of shorts.
The bib section is very lightweight mesh and it extends pretty low so your torso stays cool, and you get a little pocket around the back that sits just above the level of your jersey pockets. It's not easy to get at but you can whack an energy bar or your mobile in there in case of emergency.
High-quality shorts with a very good chamois, although they're a pricey choice
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Make and model: Solo Lugged Bib Shorts
Size tested: Black/White
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?
Solo say, "A perfect match for any Solo jersey, Solo Lugged bib shorts combine superb styling with superior fabrics and construction.
The other crucial component in a pair of quality bib shorts is the chamois. We conducted extensive research and testing before deciding on the 'Aero Sotto' chamois from Teosport of Italy. Pressured and perforated channels create superb air movement keeping you cool and dry. Two layers of variable density open cell foam ensure you remain comfortable over the longest rides."
They're very well made with high quality materials
They look like they're made to last although any fabric of this kind can snag on Velcro, for example, you can catch threads and so on. You might get better workmanship when you pay this kind of cash, but there's only so much a manufacturer can do in terms of durability.
The pad is definitely among the best.
It doesn't matter how you look at it, over £100 on a pair of shorts is expensive, even good ones. I'm guessing most people who are tempted by these shorts will be looking for something to match their Solo jersey.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The seat pad and build quality
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd have preferred more length in the leg.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.