Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shutt Velo Rapide Shorts - First Look

You can blame me for it.

I'd decided to buy some new shorts, as I couldn't face Summer in my SPEG seconds again. (These had been cheap, discounted because some customers had found the pad uncomfortable - sadly I was one such customer. My experience was that the pad was not so much "uncomfortable" as "abrasive", you try that for 60 miles).

Two weeks of good weather convinced me that shorts season was nearly here, even for the early morning cyclist. My one good pair of shorts (Nalini six panel, we do not push the boat out here at Monkey Towers) clearly needed supplementing.

So I made my decision, placed my order, and the shorts arrived on the day the sun got shy, and disappeared behind those grey clouds.

I like Shutt Velo Rapide. I like their philosophy (British made & sourced where possible - for lefty, low carbon reasons, as well as supporting a general idea of manufacturing things here) and I like them - they're on twitter, active on facebook, and engage like anyone else as opposed to seeming to be there to push product at you constantly.

I am not in their pay, and received no special treatment, and no discount on my purchase that you couldn't get yourself (sign up at their Clubroom page for one such handy money off code).

As I said, at Monkey Towers we do not push the boat out. There are no Assos shorts lurking in the bike stuff drawer, and Castelli have yet to grace my form. I do own a Rapha cap, but this is because hardly anyone makes Winter caps with peaks anymore, for reasons that I am unaware of. Whilst we draw the line at the stuff peddled by certain continental supermarkets[1] , we are not averse to, say, the second least expensive item in most online stores. and yes, for shorts, they have to be bibs. Waist shorts are rubbish, you know it and I know it.

Fortunately for me, Shutt offer an alternative to their Pro Bibshorts, in the Standard Bib Short, and it's these that I bought. (Which is not to say that the Pro Bibshorts don't offer value for money - but we'd spend that sort of money on one of Shutt's excellent sportwool jerseys. If we had that sort of money right now).

Lore has it that bibshorts are sized according to waist measurement - you match this & order accordingly. (Somewhere between a 32" & 33", depending on how much chocolate I've felt necessary for recovery in the week of measurement, since you ask). This places me in the "L" size, confirmed by a couple of brief conversations via facebook comments. (Shutt's facebook page is here).

The order was placed on Tuesday lunchtime, and had been delivered by the same time Wednesday. Excellent service.

Branding is understated & classy, consisting of this ShuttVR ribbon on the thigh If you like your shorts to have the manufacturers' name emblazoned across your backside, these are not for you.

Shutt Standard bib shorts on the left, Nalini six panel shorts on the right. Nalini shorts are a size 4. Shorts are similar across the waist, but you can see that the bib and legs are shorter on the Shutt Standard.

Compared to the Nalini six panel (size 4) the Shutt shorts have a shorter bib/shoulder strap, and slightly shorter legs. (This has led to them being christened the "Sean Yates" shorts, according to the website).

The Shutt Pad (left) and dhb's pad (from the "Merston" bib 3/4s) The shutt pad is larger in all dimensions, and thicker.

The pad is streets ahead of the Nalini one. It's bigger (extends forther forward and back, is wider, and seems plusher) than my current favourite, the pad in Wiggle's dhb branded 3/4 bibs). The real test of the pad will be some rides on the Pro Logo Nago PAS, a saddle that pushes the boundary between "firm" and "oh my christ this is utter bloody agony" like no other I've ridden. If the Shutt Standard can tame that beast, they will have been worth every penny.

The lycra in the Shutt standard is nicer to the touch than the Nalini lycra (softer in feel, and seems stretchier) and the mesh back will, hopefully, make them cooler than the solid backed Nalinis.

Which will be nice, if the sun comes back.

Ride report will follow, because we have to get a summer this year, don't we?

Ride Report now here.

[1] Although, if we're honest, this is at least partly because of the frankly bizarre sizing scheme employed. The shorts from such places would fit a cyclist built along the lines of "Big Daddy", not a spindly monkey like myself. Or anyone who wasn't a Saturday afternoon wrestler. Just saying.

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