Red White is a bit of a rarity as a cycling company, in that they focus only on a single product – bib shorts. Or maybe better said would be on two versions of one product, as they have developed and evolved their shorts to specifically serve two long distance cycling niches. Both versions of their cycling bib shorts are designed for endurance riding, with the thinking of rides lasting for more than say 4 or 5 hours or more than 120km.
The first version was just called “The Bibs” for really long trips and ultra-endurance events (like Paris-Brest-Paris), and now they have a second “The Race” targeted more for faster paced riding or of more reasonable length competition. We got a pair of each for long term testing back mid spring, and now 2 months on we’ll look at our thoughts on the newer The Race shorts, and will follow-up later with more head-to-head and durability review of both shorts later this season…
The Race cycling shorts we have been riding are a size medium (for our 33″ waisted testers), and are only offered in one color, with black lycra, red logo details, and white mesh bib straps. Red White breaks down the fabrics used and why on their website, but suffice it to say that the 80% nylon/20% lycra main body fabric performs well as expected. The mix works pretty well for a pair of performance shorts offering a soft feel that seems to be holding up to regular wear. The design is basic, so if you like black shorts and are OK with the red details you should be fine. Fairly industry standard, the white straps don’t show up too strongly under light colored or lightweight jerseys. They also add a couple of reflective tabs on the legs for added low-light visibility.
The first impression when pulling on the Europe-made, Italian-fabric bibs was that they offer a premium fit and feel, and seem to be made of a very stretchy high quality main material. The only real concern at the start was a quite long rubbery silicone gripper at the raw cut legs that we worried might lack breathability (but as it turns out wasn’t a problem, as the tiny gripper dots allow moisture to go around them well enough.)
The one thing that Red White really Prides themselves on though is their chamois. They claim this version with its thinner middle layer (both bibs use a 3-layer chamois pad) was designed for high-paced riding in the drops, but we’ve had no issues in pretty much any position on a bike. And comfort was effectively the same after 140km in the saddle, or 30km.
The highly technical pad, with a perforated & dimpled top, is said to wick better than the more ultra-endurance version and was developed in response to riders of The Bib who wanted something for shorter and faster riding. It is still a rather thick chamois, and has a soft (Red White calls it plush) feel to it, that is said to come from its three layer multi-density foam construction. It is also rather flat but has stretchy edges that move well with the shorts and a pre-curved front modesty panel.
We’ve been wearing The Race shorts on a number of different types of ride of the last couple of warm months from our EU HQ. That’s meant many longer rides including gravel, wet & muddy sections, even participated in an amateur road race too (to fulfill the name of the shorts), then topped it off with several easy paced summer road rides. The feeling from the first ride to the most recent has been the same, they simply disappear under you. OK, well you look down and they are still there, but they fit well, stay in place, and move well with your legs, so there is no need to adjust anything during the ride
The fabric of the shorts is not overly compressive, but their soft stretchiness seems to balance at that just-right level. We were happy on pretty much all of the riding we’ve used them on so far, no matter duration or road/trail surface. Our riding has been mostly in the 15-30°C range that we tend to get at the beginning of summer here, and even at that upper limit the mesh of the straps has seemed to let heat out as much as you’d expect and the shorts themselves seemed to breathe well.
In general, we haven’t any issues that we could complain about, so far. It’s certainly premature to talk about durability, but compared to other shorts we’ve been riding, they do leave a high quality impression. Everyone deserves to ride in a good pair of shorts, and so far these seem to deliver on their $160 price level from anything from long training rides to fast-paced endurance events.
The shorts are available consumer direct from Red White’s webshop or through a spattering of international dealers. They actually have been spending more effort building a dealer network to support independent shops and get the shorts out more quickly into riders hands, like Always Riding, Cyclesport Lincoln & Grantham in the UK and the Dutch RedWhite Netherlands, among many others.
We’ll keep riding in these and the thicker padded The Bibs and will report back more on the differences and thoughts on durability. Check out our final long-term review & comparison to The Bib.