When this landed on my desk, I was initially sceptical. First off, the Rohan Bumper Liner looks a bit like sanitary wear or an incontinence pad and more importantly, the idea of a stand alone chamois pad is one that just somehow doesn't, erm, sit right.
The Bumper comes in a men's and women's specific model, and is designed to transform 'everyday underwear into specialist padded cycling shorts'. It's certainly lightweight, at just 38g and I could imagine packing it along in a work bag - for the commute home it might be an option - or wearing it with more casual 'normal' clothes for café and errands rides, which might be highly appealing to many female (and male) riders.
Walking about, it was a little on the bulky feeling side, without the contours and folding that come from the supporting outer of a well shaped pair of lycra shorts. On the bike, it soon moulded to shape and became quite comfortable, with a good level of cushioning for casual rides, although I'd not want to chance Rohan's assertion that 'it might be a good option, even on a long ride or extended tour'. The problem is that the pad itself stays put quite well, due to the silicone pattern on the underside, sticking nicely to the inside of your pants, but the pants themselves put up far less of a fight than your average pair of liner shorts, meaning that there's still quite a lot of friction as the whole thing moves under you. This could be solved by wearing super heavy duty undergarments, but that's probably not the most comfortable option in itself. There was also an awareness of the edges of the pad, which could quite quickly become an irritation.
I can see how this is handy for occasional use, or could be something to keep in a desk drawer (at the risk of being thought incontinent by office mates), but for more regular use, the underwear/pad interface is just not effective enough. Basically, pants just aren't up to the job!
Okay for occasional use but make sure you wear sturdy supportive pants!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rohan Bumper Liner - Women's
Size tested: Gokyo Green
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?
Aimed at anyone wanting to be able to make "normal" clothing more like padded technical cycling shorts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
20% elastane with silicone
Close cell foam
9% elastane with DMC
Anatomic closed cell foam pad
Anti-odour silver technology
Well made and innovative.
Performance was let down more than anything by how it interacted with underwear. Also, not as breathable as you might like.
Machine washable and anti-odour silver technology good for keeping it fresh and hygienic.
Pad itself was quite comfortable, but edges were perceptible and interface with underwear was not ideal.
For occasional use not a bad price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed OK, but not as well as hoped.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Concept, weight, pad comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Feeling edges of pad, interface with underwear, breathability.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not especially.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A nice idea, but some fundamental problems to work out before it's genuinely comfortable and fully useful.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.