Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shutt Velo Rapide Shorts - Review

My "first look" at the Shutt VR Standard bib shorts is here. It's probably worth reiterating that I paid for them, and got no discount or special treatment you couldn't get yourself (see the "First Look" post for full details).

A couple of weekends ago now, the weather finally cleared enough for sane people to consider doing their morning rides in shorts. Having let my Shutt standards sit in the wardrobe for a couple of weeks since purchase (I was back in 3/4s, as it had mostly been perishingly cold) I was keen to give them a proper test, and decided on my favourite 60 mile route as the ideal first run.

Since then, I've also worn the shorts for a commute, and this review is based on those experiences.

Pulling on the shorts, two things are immediately apparent. The first is the quality of the lycra they're made out of - it's a nice, satin touch material, not the wet feeling shiny stuff we're used to in cheap shorts.

The second thing is the length, or rather, the shortness of the leg. I have to say, I like this. we will talk of it more, but Mrs Monkey (not given to flattery) remarked that it was a very fetching look, and I approved too.

Once the bib is donned, another thought springs to mind, and that's that the sizing is small-ish. At this point, I'm not overly concerned - all bib shorts work best when in the "on bike" position rather than stood up straight.

One thing is apparent as soon as I set off, and that's that that nice cushy pad we discussed in the "First Look" at these shorts isn't all show in any way. The Pro-Logo Nago PAS saddle is a stern challenge to any pair of shorts, and the ShuttVR standard's pad does a great job of taming it. It's not a complete job, but the Shutt standard bought me some time in the saddle feeling mostly comfortable that my other shorts haven't.

The length (or shortness) of the leg is another thing that you notice too. The closest thing I can think of to this is the experience of wearing white trainers - there's a period where you're constantly catching sight of your feet, and for a split second thinking "GOOD GOD!" and then remembering what they are. This is how you will feel about your thighs for a little while in the Shutt Standards. Rest assured, it's a good look, trust Mrs Monkey.

Unfortunately, the smaller sizing became apparent as well - I think, for my next pair, I'll go with a size XL. In my case, the size L is near, but the bib isn't quite long enough for me. As a result, I ended up with some of that lovely padding in an area that, let's say, did not require it, and some adjustment was needed from time to time to relocate the pad. Oddly, this was more apparent on the commuting ride (I guess because the ride is more stop/start, and my position on the saddle changes more) than on my 60 miler.

I must also mention the mesh back and straps - I was surprised at how much difference this makes to long ride comfort. It was hot on the 60 mile ride, and my Nalini shorts would have been pretty hot & sweaty at the back. The mesh of the Shutt Standards did a great job of dispersing this heat and sweat.

The best shorts I've ridden in so far, and better than anything else I've found in the price range. For £29 plus postage, you get a really comfortable pair of shorts at a price equivalent to pairs with less comfortable pads, less comfortable lycra, and lacking nice features like the mesh back and straps of the Shutt standard.

Be aware of the short leg (to avoid a stripey bike tan, don't start wearing them mid season if you've previously worn longer shorts ;-)) and the smallish sizing (think dhb sizes, which run small too).

I am 6'2" tall, 33" leg (pants inseam) and have a 32" waist.

The shorts reviewed are the Shutt VR Standard bibshorts, in size L.

You can read my "First Look" at the shorts (with pictures of the pad &c) here.

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