SUGOi Evolution Pro Bibs ReviewPrice: $120 List | $120.00 at Amazon Pros: Stylish, very breathable, thick and firm chamois, comfortable fit
Cons: Leg grippers slide up, seams placed in high abrasion exterior regions, might need replacement after 2-3 seasons
Bottom line: Great style matched with breathable fabric and comfortable padding make these bibs worth every penny.
Inseam Measurement: 9"
Number of panels: 8
The SUGOi Evolution Pro bib shorts start with the presumptuous assertion of being professional bibs. In most cases, when products tack on titles or superlatives you can be sure they are emphatically not the thing they're professing to be. But we think the SUGOi bibs might be the exception. We were consistently impressed with these bibs across our measures and actually liked them so much we gave them our Editors' Choice award. Our testing and analysis looked at style, breathability, padding, fit, efficiency, durability, and value, and found an all-around champ. Despite the high measures, there are a few caveats and considerations and even a few products that outscore these in a few individual measures. We go into greater detail about that below in our analysis.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Evolution Pro Bibs are fairly appealing. From our lineup, we rated them second highest in the style category because of their sleek layout and subtle lines and texture along with their popular and fashionable wide leg grippers with the attractive logo emblazoned across. We chose to go out in the blue accented bibs, but they also came in solid black with red seams and white grippers with red lettering, which can really complement a bike and/or kit - two-tone is nice, but tri-tone is flash.
We found the Evolution Pro to be the most attractive bibs in our lineup, but the Aero Tech Designs Touring shorts had the same score and the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts were rated the most attractive overall. We really liked the Evolution Pro, but they could have used options for a little more color. The Aero Tech shorts have a mesh pocket along the side, which when unoccupied, bring an added visual texture that look quite attractive, especially alongside the sleek black and bright yellow panels. The Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 are even more stunning with their bold lines and smooth, colored panels set within panels designed after carbon fiber.
SUGOi's Evo Plus fabric had great breathability, assisted by its tight fit and high mix of polyester in its makeup. The hydrophobic polyester typically takes up part of what would otherwise be spandex, so it provides a good deal of stretch, but also tends to take up and give off moisture a bit better. The great thing about these was their thin material allowed for them to dry faster than most other products in our review, which can be a real morale-saver if you're on a multi-day tour or riding vacation and need to wash your shorts in a hotel sink and hang dry (you should all be doing this after your rides anyway). Quick dries also mean that there's less moisture to facilitate bacteria growth, which is notable.
It is worth mentioning the Gore Power 3.0 bibs, which did not score as well as the SUGOi, but did breathe very well during rides and dry more quickly than most other products. There was only one other product that scored higher than the SUGOi, and that was the Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool bibs. If breathability is the most important measure to you, take a look at these. Their intensely tight fit and technical materials created a very breathable product.
Padding and Protection
The Evolution Pro uses the RC Pro insert for its padding, which has 15mm of high-density foam. The density and thickness both dampens the gnawing vibrations from the road and mitigates foam compression.
One of the great virtues of the chamois was its shape, which prevented undue folding and really helped fit the anatomy to the saddle. This can be seen by taking a look at the padding of the Gore Power 3.0. The Gore used a pad that gradually narrowed from the ischial area through the perineal area to the other end of the pad, while the SUGOi used a targeted design that had broad padding and coverage through the ischial sitting area, then the padding greatly narrowed to only cover the high impact areas along the perineal region and then quickly tapered off to a thin padding outside of the direct impact areas, including firm, pre-shaped folds that hug the anatomy.
You can see from the comparison that there is about a half to a quarter inch of extra, unfolded padding in the Gore padding on the left, compared to the SUGOi's folded, form-fitting pad on the right. The only other padding to come close to the long-range comfort of the SUGOi was the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2, which won our Top Pick for Short Course award. The Louis Garneau was less firm than the SUGOi, but it used the same design technique of economical, targeted padding that quickly tapers off along the low-impact areas to cut down on chafe and bunching.
It is also worth mentioning our Best Budget Buy winner at the other extreme of padding, the Zoot Performance Tri (top of picture above), which features only a fleece pad. The key here is that it provides a good barrier of fabric to reduce abrasion and chafing while delivering another layer of protection, albeit a thin layer.
Comfort and Fit
The SUGOi's 8-panel design allowed a great deal of form-fitting and freedom of movement - that is, when you stand up to attack, you don't feel the front of your thigh pulling on the back of your bibs. And their use of flat seams helped reduce abrasions from hours of sweaty, salty seam-sawing. We also liked that the bib straps were the right length so that they helped pull the rider into a good cycling position without being too restrictive when it came time to make that mid-ride pitstop.
While the reviewer pictured below might look incredibly uncomfortable, it had much more to do with walking around shirtless in a bib in a public park surrounded by families than the feel of the bibs. We really liked the wide leg grippers, but they did tend to ride up as the ride went along and the sweat and oil permeated the material. This might be solved in future editions by adding a wide elastic gripper like the Gore Power 3.0 or reinforcing the doubled up leg material, but it's not a deal-breaker.
We gave the SUGOi a top score in this category, alongside the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 shorts. None of the other bibs were even close to the comfort of either of these two products. Both used a comparatively high mix of spandex and polyester as well as high panel counts with smooth seam designs to help flex and fit the form. The boil-down is that riders looking to do more distance should go with the SUGOi and those looking for less distance who don't mind pull strings at the waist should go with the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2.
Efficiency and Pedal Friendliness
These bibs had such a great fit because they had the right mix of fibers to create material with optimum flexibility and form-fitting tightness. This translates into efficiency and pedal friendliness as well. The nylon content is sufficient to provide good support and strength while its spandex and polyester help it stretch and flex and keep its shape so that it stays close to form instead of bunching or resisting. For this reason, we gave them the top spot in this category.
A few noteworthy contenders are the Louis Garneau Carbon 2 and Gore Power 3.0, Top Pick for Short Course and Best Bang for the Buck award winners, respectively. The key to these products is their comfortable, form-fit along with a non-restrictive tightness. There were no issues where excess fabric got caught on the saddle or it felt like the bottoms were fighting against us. They fit like a supportive skin.
Durability was the weakest aspect of the SUGOi bibs. We think they will still last a few seasons and think their construction is still better than average. We liked their flat seam design because it tends to help protect them from external friction, but the placement of the seams along the saddle of the crotch, like we saw with the Performance Elite bibs, makes them vulnerable to wear and tear. We also think the wide leg grippers, as a structure, are safe from the sort of long-term degradation you would see with elastic grippers, but the trade-off is that the doubled over fabric doesn't grip the thigh as well as silicon or elastic.
If durability is the most important category for you, there are a few other bibs that stand out and will do well for you. The Gore Power 3.0 the Best Bang for the Buck award winner had exceptional durability with its high nylon content and strong seams. Our highest scorer in durability was the Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool bib. It also had a high nylon content, but also supplemented its stretchy material (the spandex) with strong polyester, creating a less stretchy, but stronger fabric. Taken together with their strong seam construction and good placement, these earned their top score in durability.
These shorts did well in everything from spin, where there was no road vibration, to the 3 hour+ on road range. These are definitely meant for roadies - you probably wouldn't be happy swimming in these, though the chamois is low-profile enough that it might be okay to run in. If the other two activities are of interest, take a look at the Zoot Performance Tri shorts - they will serve you well. These bibs might be a bit much if you just want something for a quick spin class a few times a week, but they will certainly meet that need if asked. Really, these are mid- and long-distance cycling bibs and are best suited to that.
The Evolution Pros retail at $120. We really believe that the SUGOi is worth every penny. They have a great fit, give good padding and comfort on both long and short rides, breathe, dry quickly, and look good - what more could you want? We suggested that these might wear out over two or three seasons, but for the general performance they give outside of that, it might even be worth getting multiple pairs instead of looking for a more durable product like the Gore Power 3.0 that won't deliver the same comfort and performance as these - details that make a huge difference in the 2-3 hour ride range. But even at the hour range where the Top Pick for Short Course winners, the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2, come into play, they retail at $149.99, yet lack the versatility in distance given by the SUGOi.
The SUGOi Bibs consistently impressed up across the categories we measured and we really liked riding in them. They easily won our Editors' Choice award. There are very few products we've put on that have given such solid delivery in breathability, support, fit, cushioning, and look and done so at a fair market price. These have done all of that, with their only potential weakness being in how long they'll last - but they are still durable bibs, it's not as though they'll wear down at the end of the year. And anyway, long-term durability doesn't matter if shorts aren't doing their job at mile 50 and you're a long-distance rider. These are a good investment and worth your time.
— Ryan Baham
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