Shutt VR Pro Bib Shorts

After a post cute enough for everyone to enjoy, here’s the opposite – a review of perhaps uncomfortably intimate bicycle clothing. All but the half a dozen cycling fans and the three or four fetish perverts who read this blog, look away now.

Shutt VR are a proudly British company, and one that’s smart enough to actively engage with the posters on the Bikeradar cycling forums on that internet – and smart enough to give as good aftersales service as they do with self-publicity, answering questions from posters and dealing with returns and issues with speed and good humour.  So I’ve been looking for the opportunity to try out their gear, and their current sale gave me the opportunity.

Shutt have a signature colour and style that actually doesn’t really do it for me (not that I’ve tried the gear on yet), but when their classy looking Pro Bib Coolmax Shorts were recommended on the forum, I decided to take the plunge knowing at the very least that if I didn’t like the product, the makers would be keen to hear why. So here’s a quick review now that I’ve worn them a couple of times.

Bib shorts offer several advantages over regular lycra shorts, the most obvious being that the bib area prevents the shorts from sliding down or bunching at the waist. This is a result of choosing the correct size – I have a pair of Adidas bibs where I was underestimating their generous size, bought the XLs and have had to resort to safety pinning the front straps to shorten them by 4 or 5 inches.

Not so with the Shutts – size L is perfect for an averagely proportioned 6 foot male, with the straps comfy and form-fitting without either feeling too slack or too aggressive (someone once confidently told me that if bibs didn’t pull your shoulders down to the extent you were in a bent over, humpbacked position they weren’t doing their job), and there was no slipping whatsoever.

There is quite a lot of top-half material here, which adds comfort but also makes them rather less cool than some other bibs. The shorts are close-fitting but extremely comfortable, with perhaps a slightly ungenerous thigh width. They are slightly shorter than most comparable shorts, made more obvious by my cycling tan line an inch below the cuff, but that’s not a complain by any means. The shape is excellent and ergonomic, and the shorts and pad combo keep the gentleman’s area supported and comfortable without any rubbing or bunching.

The pad is on the generous side, and may be the most comfortable I’ve tried. I’ve not done a long ride in them yet, but on the commute they couldn’t be comfier. It is also wide and substantial enough at the front to provide the necessary modesty, a key aspect which a surprising number of lycra shorts ignore entirely (the aforementioned Adidas ones and a pair of high quality but pornographic bib three-quarters from Descente could literally get me arrested).

This modesty provision is a big deal, as it turns out, because although the lycra is not in the least threadbare, but solid and substantial, it’s weaved in such a way as to give a sheer effect wherever it’s pulled taut. Thanks to the pad this is little more than disconcerting, but could be a negative for those who already feel far too revealed in lycra as it is. And of course I have no idea how it makes my rear look to anyone fortunate enough to be behind me, but I have my concerns.

I don’t have any other criticisms of these shorts at all. They look good (as much as bibs can look good, which is pretty much zero), they have no itchy seams or labels, another incomprehensible failing of some of their rivals, and they are keenly priced in a bloated market – in the sale they cost me £66 including postage. Which is particularly impressive as they are a small, British company competing with some corporate behemoths on one side, and the bespoke, boutique brigade on the other.

In short, this is an enthusiastic recommendation. With an item with such responsibility for a rider’s comfort, I’m learning it doesn’t make sense to make false economies, but for £66 I feel I’ve got a real bargain as well as an excellent product.

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  1. October 13th, 2010

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