SUGOi RS Pro Bib Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: High-performance chamois lasts for hours, bib straps stretch to allow easy pit stops, multi-panel design tailored to rider's body
Cons: No-thrills bib too boring for some, stitching shows wear after testing period
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The RS Pro Bib has impressed us with its breathability, versatility, and comfort. Even if you're not a bib fan, we encourage you to take these for a test run just to see what you think. In our opinion, the RS Pro Bib provides the coverage you'd expect from a bib without being overly-clingy.
Its high-performance fabric blend is not only wicking and breathable but soft against the skin and performs well in hot, cold, and all the conditions in between. The Formula FX Chamois offers more than enough protection for your longest long ride without giving your backside the "loaded diaper" look. Careful construction conceals the chamois panel from behind, making the short look as tailored and sleek as possible. The long length might not appeal to all riders at first, but we admit it adds extra protection from wind, sun, and rain. Taller riders will probably love the extra length and comfortable leg-grips.
Comfort & Fit
As a part of SUGOi's "RS" (or, Racing Systems) series, the RS Pro Bib is designed for the serious-about-cycling rider. This short was calibrated to withstand long hours in the saddle, which means it's more than capable of getting you through a century, a double-century, a road race or even a multi-day stage event. The multi-panel short offers a fit that holds you in place and supports your hard-working glutes, hamstrings, and quads, but doesn't squeeze the circulation out of your legs, either. The leg ends are slightly longer on the outside, angling the shorts slightly; a nice touch of individual flair that also minimizes squeeze on the "soft" parts of the leg, thereby eliminating any "sausage leg" look.
The other aspect of fit we were intrigued with last year, and that we hoped SUGOi hadn't changed in updates to their product, was the claim that the construction of the upper bib enables riders to stop "…screening nature's calls: with SUGOi's Pit Stop technology, simply pull down your bib, pulling on the ultra-stretchy straps, and you'll be good to go."
If you aren't familiar with bibs, this is a pretty aggressive claim and one that might be a deal-maker because it is rare to find a bib that doesn't require you to basically undress when you need a pit stop.
This year we confirm that the RS Pro Bib still retains its best feature. With its super-stretchy upper, the bibs get the job done, and we can keep ourselves otherwise clothed the entire time during pit stops.
Padding & Protection
The Formula FX Chamois provides multi-layer protection that lasts for long ride after long ride without getting soggy or smushed. SUGOi includes additional "Poron" foam cushioning under the sit bones as well as high-density dampening pads to keep road chatter at bay, while the mid and outer sections of chamois are less aggressive and provide forward ventilation.
The RS Pro Bib has one of the highest-quality chamois on the market. It's carefully calibrated to be thicker where you need it, and not as padded where you don't. This enables the chamois to protect sensitive areas while, at the same time, decreasing the build-up of moisture and sweat that can lead to chafing and saddle sores. Excluding unnecessary bulk also adds to the comfort of the short because let's be real here: having any padding at all in a pair of shorts is a new, and not entirely comfortable, sensation for most of us. The longer leg length adds extra sun protection for the upper thighs.
With its multi-fabric construction and "Ultra Aero fabric on outer thighs for maximum aero efficiency," SUGOi takes the cycling bib and raises it to a new level of performance. The fabric offers extreme breathability paired with a softness that not many bike shorts can offer. Yet, SUGOi takes the softness a step further and makes it not only soft but light and breathable.
Testers took this bib across town, up to the mountains, across hot desert valleys and everything in between and found that the bib keeps the rider dry and comfortable no matter the environment. The dimpled fabric on the outer thighs adds aerodynamics (so if your dream is to become a speed racer, the RS Pro Bib could give you the extra tenth of a second advantage in the finishing sprint…maybe). The highly breathable chamois makes long days in the saddle possible because you won't get weighed down with sticky sweat.
In our soak-test, the RS Pro Bib performed reasonably well. While it wasn't the fastest drying short, it nonetheless demonstrated that it is capable of wicking away sweat and, if you happen to get caught in a downpour, you'll dry off in less than ten minutes (well, if it stops raining and you keep moving on the bike.) On a sunny and warm summer day, the short wicks sweat like nobody's business and kept riders high and dry.
A quality-constructed garment, the RS Pro Bib is going to stand up to reasonable stresses that come with riding a bike: the chamois will bounce back after long days in the saddle, the shorts won't lose their stretch quickly, and the fabric doesn't "ball" after multiple washes (because hey, if you love these shorts as much as we do, you'll be washing and wearing them A LOT.) Aside from the stray thread here and there, this bib withstood multiple trips through the wash, soak-tests, and rides without even a nod to the miles.
The reinforced seams, carefully stitched chamois, and high-quality fabric ensure that this bib will last for more than just one season. If, however, disaster strikes and a seam fails, SUGOi offers a one-year window in which to replace your short.
Last year, we tested an RS Pro Bib that was basic black. This year, our short was "upgraded" to include magenta and cerulean blue color accents on the leg bottoms. It's a specialized color combo, but some of our testers liked the splash of color that sort-of matched their jerseys. Others preferred the all-black that, as everyone knows, goes with everything. No matter your color preferences, what can't be argued is the large number of panels and well-thought-out design that makes this an attractive bib that will go with just about everything.
The leg openings feature silicone-infused Aeroband leg grippers that lock the short in place. Due to their length, they will rest on a rider's lower thigh or right above a rider's knee--a location that isn't as prone to "sausage thighs." Another bonus is SUGOI's "Invisa Chamois" that eliminates stitch lines around the edges of the chamois for a flattering (flat) silhouette — a HUGE upgrade, in our opinion, from other cycling shorts. Not all manufacturers think to add this thoughtful detail, instead letting "it all hang out" in terms of the chamois stitching. A cycling short will have a chamois, but why does the rest of the world need to know it's there?
While most cycling shorts shine at one type of activity more than others (an hour ride, a criterium race, a century), the RS Pro Bib is an all-around champion that excels for everything from a 20-miler to a double century if you don't mind wearing a bib. Granted, there are shorts that can handle the 20-miler, and if that is all you are interested in, you may not want to spend the extra dollars for this high-performance bib. However, if you like the full-coverage of a bib and you're looking for comfort as well as style, you can't go wrong with the RS Pro Bib.
We especially recommend this bib for riders who are looking for a longer short with more coverage. Unlike other shorts in this review that fell mid to upper thigh, these shorts rest on your lower thigh (and if you're petite, may reach your knees). This feature could be perfect if you're modest about showing too much skin, you're seeking extra sun protection, or you like the compressive feel of a short over your hard-working muscles.
If you've never tried a bib before, the RS Pro is a good place to start. With an upper portion that is less aggressive than most, you can still slip in and out of this garment on rides without a huge production. Plus, the shoulder straps don't tug as much as other bib models do — a huge win.
Our only reservations have to do with color. If you're looking for polka dots or space-cats, the RS Pro Bib might be too classic for you. However, if you're fine with basic black or prefer to keep the crazy colors on your jersey (not on your shorts), these bibs will offer you comfort and a basic style that goes with just about everything.
While not a small chunk of change to drop on a garment, we nonetheless believe the expense is worth it. It is one of the highest-scoring pieces across every review metric and offered our testers a comfortable ride, no matter the conditions: rain, sun, mountain climb or long, deserted valley. The only "fault" with the bibs are the price, and even then, we think they are totally worth it. And, if you don't like bibs, the only fault with the RS Pro Bib is that is is, alas, a bib.
Two years in a row, we can't say anything bad about the RS Pro Bib. It has scored high across all our review metrics and continues to impress our testers with its versatility, comfort, and simple style. With such a high-performance garment, how could we not grant it our Editors' Choice Award again? Even if you're not sure about bibs, we think you should give these pair a try: the highly tailored panels, quality fabric, discrete yet very effective chamois, and super-stretchy straps that make pit stops easy, there's not much to complain about a short that lets you ride hard, but go home dry.
— Rebecca Eckland