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According to Lusso, its Adventure Bibshorts are 'ideal for gravel riding, audax, long distance, touring/cycling or just commuting'. Lusso says these went through an 18-month developmental phase, so I was expecting something pretty sussed. I'm pleased to report that they meet their design brief extremely well and are equally at home on or off road.
I've ridden in these for around 600 miles over four weeks, in temperatures between 12 and 34 degrees, and I've been able to cruise along largely unaware of them.
Scrutinising Lusso's very thorough sizing chart, I took a gamble that the mediums would fit. I initially feared a faux pas – though they're sufficiently long in the leg, I felt a little 'trussed up' around the crotch area on our first ride – but they do relax very slightly with use. I put them in the machine wash and stretched them very gently before hanging them out to dry – sorted. (It's not me in the photos.)
They are an eight-panel design, cut slightly lower at the front for more convenient toilet breaks, and are made from 'Italian breathable compression fabrics', offering UV+ 50 sun protection. Compression fabrics divide opinion, some dismissing it as marketing puff, but I've found they help reduce fatigue over comparable distances.
The Adventures are a heavier weight than typical road-biased bib shorts, for added abrasion resistance. This might feel unusual if you're used to more traditional road designs, but they offer unrestricted movement. I've been able to cruise along at 85-100rpm, all day long.
The 45mm silicone grippers at the bottoms of the legs have kept everything precisely aligned and, combined with flat seams, there's no hint of tell-tale branding come ride's end.
The Coolmesh bib section – a mesh type fabric designed to promote wicking – with 70mm wide straps for comfort, is less compliant than some but by no means restrictive or overly firm around the shoulders. I've had no issues when alternating between hoods and drops, or, indeed, remaining static for long periods.
In terms of wicking prowess, the fabrics do a decent job of regulating temperature and moisture – I've felt a glow and trace dampness but nothing to write home about.
I was very grateful for an unexpected thunderstorm and subsequent deluge during the recent heatwave, and wasn't surprised that the heavier fabric took longer to feel wet than 'normal' Lycra but also took longer to dry. On this particular occasion it was about an hour or so, given a break in the cloud and a moderate, warm breeze, before they were reaching touch-dry.
While the mesh bib section has wicked efficiently, it will also retain a little warmth, which I welcomed on some cooler, misty mornings.
Pads have improved a lot across the price spectrum, but this is still a very personal matter. Here it's a TMF gill (breathable) endurance eight-hour-plus pad, with an antibacterial face fabric for comfort and good hygiene. It's moderate, density-wise, but for me still delivered ample support, with no hint of chafing or discomfort, regardless of saddle material, type or width.
Speaking of which... the outer fabric's satin feel has offered good tenure on glossy saddles, so no hint of annoying surf, without hindering subtle adjustments.
Pockets have been quietly creeping into more traditional road-biased shorts – I have a few pairs with pockets for keys or a snack. Here, Lusso has gone for two cargo types on the legs, designed for a phone or wallet, plus two mesh ones at the rear for lighter valuables.
The selling point with these is that you can wear a T-shirt rather than a traditional cycling jersey, without losing the ability to carry stuff.
Personally, I'm happier with phones and other valuables being stowed in a jersey or bag on the bike, but it's nice to have the option, and I can confirm the cargo ones will swallow a 6-inch smartphone without it impairing cadence or being ejected along unmade roads or bridleways.
Given their heavier weight and reassuring quality, I'm not surprised that these are holding up incredibly well, despite regular passing frisking from brambles and similarly unruly foliage along bridleways and forest trails.
The standards of construction are good, with no hint of loose threads or fraying and no evidence to suggest that, save for a serious crash, they shouldn't last for many thousands of miles.
They're easy to wash and care for too – instructions recommend 30-degree cycles, but I've tossed them in with the household wash at 40 with no issues whatsoever. I've also handwashed them, as you might have to on tours or bikepacking.
At £125 these are not cheap, but they are in line with rivals. PEdAL ED's Odyssey Bibshorts offer a bit more storage for an additional £20, while Sportful's SuperGiara Bib Shorts have the same list price of £125 and Rapha's Core Cargo Bib Shorts are £15 less at £110 (though the non-Core Cargos are £195).
The Adventure bib shorts are very comfortable, well made and practical, and well worth considering if you're seeking some additional storage and/or sturdier shorts for general riding or rough stuff touring.
Rugged and comfortable bib shorts combining excellent design and features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Adventure Bibshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says: 'Here at Lusso we tested the Adventure Bibshorts for 18 months before bringing to the market. We wanted a pair of can do, go anywhere Bibs with carrying capacity that has all day comfort, with the freedom of choice to wear a t-shirt or a traditional jersey with rear pockets.
'The Adventure Bibshorts are ideal for Gravel riding, Audax, long distance touring/cycling or just commuting. The 8+ hour endurance pad is seamless and highly breathable and with a soft feel.
'The two cargo leg pockets are large but with ribbed breathable abrasive resistant fabric that offers more protection for your valuables, ideal for quick access to your phone, food and wallet. The two rear pockets are in a lighter mesh fabric which is more suited to smaller items, gels and keys etc. 'The bib top is coolmesh fabric for breathability and wide shoulder straps for comfort, we have used flat seams and reduced the panels in some areas, with a lower front panel for easier toilet breaks. Soft wide leg grippers that hold in place without restrictions.
'Short or long ride we all love an adventure!'
My feelings are that they're well designed shorts that meet their design brief handsomely. A good choice for touring and general riding too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
4 Cargo Pockets, 2 Leg Pockets, 2 Rear Pockets
8+ Hour Endurance Breathable HD Pad
Designed and manufactured in Manchester reducing the carbon footprint
Italian breathable compression fabrics
Flat seam and 3 thread sewn in for comfort
45mm wide Lusso embossed soft feel breathable leg gripper
50+ UV Ray sun protection
Coolmesh bib fabric with carbon 70mm wide straps for comfort
Made to a very high standard, with no sign of deterioration after several weeks, several hundred mixed terrain miles and regular machine washing.
Comfortable, seemingly rugged shorts that live up to their hype. Thicker fabric resists rain longer than more traditional shorts but also takes a bit longer to dry, following heavy, persistent rain.
I'm not surprised ours are holding up incredibly well, despite regular passing frisking from brambles and similarly unruly foliage along bridleways and forest trails. No evidence at this stage to suggest, save for a serious crash, they shouldn't last for many thousands of miles.
Very accurate and Lusso's sizing chart is equally comprehensive, taking the guesswork out of selection.
Bang on for me. That said, there's little excuse for getting the wrong size, given the comprehensive nature of Lusso's sizing chart.
Excellent all round. However, the fabric relaxes slightly after the first wash or so. Therefore, I'd suggest popping them in the wash first, before wearing for the first time.
Not cheap but a good specification and well executed.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Couldn't be simpler – pop in the machine at 30 degrees. They've also emerged unscathed from 40 degree cycles. Hand washing with soap flakes also got ours clean and fragrant, so practical for touring and other extended riding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I can well believe Lusso when it says it tested the concept for 18 months before bringing the Adventure bib shorts to market. They have performed consistently well, on and off road, on long and shorter distance rides. The pockets are cut very well and will swallow phones and other tech without being intrusive or impairing cadence. I've preferred to store my tech elsewhere but this shouldn't be construed as a slight on their design. The pad has done its thing universally well, regardless of saddle choice and distance.
The thicker material may come as a culture shock, coming from more traditional road fare, but it's right for the intended purposes and has resisted abrasion and prickly foliage with no evidence of bobbling or other deterioration. They do take a little longer to dry following a heavy shower, but they also take longer to get wet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well executed throughout.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, taking everything into account.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Not cheap, but competitive. PEdAL ED's Odyssey Bibshorts offer a bit more storage for an additional £20, while Sportful's Super Giara Bib Shorts have the same list price of £125 and Rapha's Core Cargo Bib Shorts are £15 less at £110.
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
Very good shorts that will cope with the rough 'n' tumble off road but are still very practical for general riding and touring.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)