The Lusso DRS bib shorts are comfortable, lightweight, well designed and well made. The textured fabric may or may not save you a few watts, but the very competitive price compared to the big brands' shorts will definitely save you a few quid.
Might save a few watts
Made in Manchester
Unconventional-looking fabric won't be for everyone
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The Lusso DRS bib shorts are the Manchester brand’s range-topping pair. Despite the low price compared to the bigger brands’ flagship shorts, they really are exceptionally good. Even if you don’t feel you need to reduce your drag (DRS means ‘drag reduction system’) the textured fabric looks distinctive, the cut is spot on with a perfect leg length and the pad is exactly right too – neither too hard nor too soft. Plus they’re actually made in Manchester.
Lusso DRS bib shorts: construction
The fabric of the shorts has an almost carbon-fibre like weave – this is just on the outside; they’re smooth on the inside. Lusso says this is the latest aero fabric from Italy and features a golf-ball effect that keeps the air attached to your shorts for longer. Obviously we’re not able to prove this ourselves, and Lusso doesn't publish any data either, but it is widely known that a textured surface keeps the boundary layer turbulent, causing it to stay attached for longer than on a smooth surface, so it could be worth a few watts and it definitely won’t slow you down.
Lusso also claims compressive properties for the fabric, and the legs of the shorts sure enough do hold quads and hamstrings in a very secure grip which, again, could be beneficial.
There are 75mm-wide grippers at the bottoms of the legs, which spread the pressure evenly and don’t feel significantly tighter than the fabric itself. There’s a silicone band on the inside and reflective dashes around the outside.
The panel layout is actually quite traditional for such a striking-looking pair of shorts, with all seams flatlocked as you’d expect.
The bib section is made from what Lusso calls AirTech and consists of two fabrics: the straps have a mesh section between the hems while the rear section is very stretchy with small perforations.
The pad is by Italian OEM chamois manufacturer TMF and is claimed to be comfortable for eight hours and beyond.
Build quality is excellent – stitching is very neat. The overall look and feel is high end.
As a frequent Lusso wearer, I’ve learnt that for me it works to size down. I’m 178cm and 69kg and the size small fits better than the medium – according to Lusso’s size chart I could go with either.
The smaller size ensures that the chamois stays in exactly the right place, which is the most important thing about a pair of bib shorts, and the bib straps are very stretchy so there’s no danger of them cutting in. Leg length is also generous: with the size small there’s no danger of the hot pants look.
So to sum up, with the correct size selected, the fit is excellent and the cut is just right.
Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw and depends on individual anatomy as to whether the chamois sits in the right place, and with the Lusso DRS I’m in luck. The section with the extra shock absorption is under my sitbones when I’m on the saddle, where it should be, and there’s not an excess of padding towards the front waiting to chafe.
The only thing wrong with the chamois for me is that it’s bright orange – I’m all in favour of the black pads that we’re starting to see more of, specced by brands such as Rapha and La Passione.
I can’t claim to have ridden for eight hours lately, but judging by the comfort of the chamois in the Lusso DRS shorts my legs would give in long before my bum.
As for the performance of the fabric, we’re still in the middle of the chilliest April since 1970 as I write, so I can’t claim to have tested its wicking or breathability in actual hot weather, but I have worn the Lusso DRS shorts on Zwift and can confirm that they stay comfortable when very sweaty – you wouldn’t know the seams are even there – and the pad wicks efficiently: it has a brushed surface that is preferable to the smoother type that gets slimy (sorry) very quickly if you’re riding indoors.
I've found they work well with a variety of saddles – or at least I haven't found a saddle that they don't work with.
As for durability, the Lusso DRS shorts have been through a few wash cycles and in these photos they are as they are now rather than when they arrived. I’m very pleased with the way they’ve worn: no peeling logos or dye that’s run into the white bibs, and crucially the chamois feels as though it's supplying the same cushioning as it did when it was new.
Lusso always manages to nail value, and they’ve done it again. With shorts such as the POC Aero VPD (opens in new tab) costing £270, they are looking like even more of a bargain. The Assos Cento (opens in new tab) shorts also come in over £200.
Dipping under the £200 barrier the Le Col Hors Categorie II (opens in new tab) shorts cost £180, while the Specialized RBX Adventure bib shorts (opens in new tab) are cheaper by £20 (and have more pockets).
To sum up, the Lusso DRS bib shorts are a premium pair of shorts that offer something different with their ‘drag reduction system’ and are priced very competitively indeed. Their performance-to-price ratio has to be one of the best out there.
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