More kit reviews! Gravel biking is hot right now, and so is all the kit. Everything road bike and mountain bike is getting mashed together to make a super hybrid. Bikes and equipment that are fast and comfortable off road, bikes that can take you on adventures, and new kit to wear whilst doing so. In step the Lusso adventure bib shorts.
Gravel riding or adventure riding definitely has a more laid back vibe to it over road riding, but with stronger endurance/self sufficiency elements over your typical mtb ride. Aero isn’t particularly top of the list, neither are baggy shorts. A halfway house between comfort and speed is needed, anything to help you go further, fatigue less, and enhance utility.
Lets get straight into the obvious difference between a pair of normal bibs and the adventure bibs. Pockets. Yes pockets on bibs. The adventures are equipped with four pockets, two rear at the base of the straps, and a pocket on each leg.
Don’t think thats he weirdest thing you’ve heard, in fact I think its something that should have been done a long time ago. Especially if you aren’t reliant on those extra seconds lost in drag for a TT, sacrificing some aero on your thighs for the ability to carry stuff is a no brainer.
You can now head out in a T shirt or hoodie and still carry your puncture repair kit, waterproof jacket, gels, and phone. Absolutely ideal for cycling instagramers and bloggers like me, getting a phone in and out of the leg pockets is so very easy and the compression keeps it from moving about. Wearing bibs and a t-shirt is liberating, it’s the cycling equivalent of smart casual! the perfect combo of buisness down below, party up top!
Ok lets get to the business end, the shorts have traditional style but super comfy coolmesh straps with great ventilation for the longer warmer rides, and the lowers are made from breathable compression fabric. All the fabrics used are Italian (they have a reputation for great cycling gear) and you can immediately notice the solid yet technical feel (easily comparable to shorts twice the price).
Chamois wise its Lussos chosen 8+hr pad from Italian maestros TMF, their F130 model, that has breathable gill style vents that open when you move. This partnered with increased sit bone padding and “skived” (read sculpted) front section, giving a reduction in pressure and friction, make for a great pad. Having used the same pad for over a year in two other pairs of shorts, I have this right up there with the best. And yes im directly comparing to previous experience in Castelli, Btwin, Biemme, Rapha, DHB, and so on.
The fit in the shorts is comfy in both upright and hammer positions, and the legs don’t ride up when getting aero. This is thanks to the decent sized leg grippers and the slightly increased compression of the shorts needed to stop anything in the leg pockets from moving around. This is key. The balance of enough fabric tension to keep leg pocket contents still and not rub, and not so tight you can’t get more than a phone in them without it digging into your thigh. Well done Lusso for getting this right.
Things I’ve stored in the leg pockets then (not all at once!), gels, phone, phone camera lenses, 500ml soft flasks, banana, punter repair kit, gas canisters, pump, and tubes. They are quite versatile and have a decent enough size for when you are sans jersey pockets. Hell, you can still wear a jersey and ditch the saddle bag!
These shorts have fast become my go to favourite over the last two months, they have just the right mix of all-round comfort and utility. I’ve loved riding relaxed in just a t-shirt without losing the ability to carry kit. It’s really bizarre that leg pockets weren’t a thing a long time ago, they really open up another level of flexibility to your cycling. Yes, just by adding some extra stretchy fabric…….
In summary a super comfortable, versatile piece of kit at a great price point. Every bib short wearing cyclists should have a pair, and if you don’t have bib shorts? start with these!
Head HERE to check them out on Lusso’s website. Oh and if you want 20% off? use bournemouthcyclist20.