RIBBLE NUOVO MEN'S BIB SHORTS
210g medium (as tested) £65.00
The Ribble Nuovo Men’s Bib Shorts are a well-executed eight panel design, made with cyclo cross, track and long distance road riding in mind. Fed a diet of road and rough stuff, several weeks and 550 miles hence, I’m impressed by their blend of performance and comfort.
There's nothing particularly unusual in the materials and construction of the Ribble Nuovo Men's Bib Shorts. The main shorts boil down to a 75/25% Nylon/Elastane, whereas the vented mesh back panel is 86/14% elastane. However, a lot of thought has gone into their characteristics. It’s a relatively thin but very durable blend. Aside from remaining more temperate in the heart of summer, this also bodes well for sustained turbo sessions during the depths of winter.
Bold reflective panels might sound as strange choice for shorts but can prove a lifesaver, especially at roundabouts and junctions-regardless of how good main lighting system is. On the subject of colour, black is the default but they’re also available in navy blue.
Dark colours are not only extremely practical in the oily hands sense, they also help block strong sunlight, giving some protection from UV rays. That said; increasingly we’re seeing weaves with factor 50 SPF - not here. Missed opportunity, yes. Deal-breaker, no.
Compression panelling is nothing new but has been creeping into the mid-point. Theory goes that compressive fit technology supposedly reduces rider fatigue and in this instance, accelerate wicking. Talking of which, flat seams run throughout, so no hint of discomfort or unflattering branding after a day’s riding.
Super-tactile grippers continue this theme, putting paid to gathering, great for keeping leg warmers in place during autumn and early spring when temperatures can fluctuate. This meant they were a little trickier to pull on during the first, few wears, though they have eased out, rather than losing their elasticity.
Bib designs, though arguably a superior choice can prove a little restrictive, leading to discomfort and sometimes fatigue over longer distances. These are similarly thin and super compliant, permitting unhampered movement, whether hunkering low on the tri-bars, alternating between tops, hoods and drops, or just unwinding at café’ stops.
Pads can in many respects make, or break shorts and getting something that will please our unique shapes is no mean feat.
Ribble have plumped for a Cytech Endurance 2 men. Made with a generation of high-density foam, as the name suggests, it’s designed with 7hour rides in mind. Coupled with a perforated base layer, the “X-tract” fabric is designed to collects and expels moisture.
Pretty much what I’d expect, given their target market. 12mm thick, it’s still relatively subtle compared with some of the gel impregnated models I’ve tested in the not so distant past. Nasty-niffs and soreness have been moot points, even worn for two successive, hot days and regardless of saddle choice.
I’m generally speaking a medium in shorts, so wasn’t surprised to find theirs graced my every contour perfectly. There is also small, large and extra-large, which should cater for most riders.
These features translate into a great pair of shorts that I’ve barely noticed. Unrestricted movement meant I could just concentrate on turning a decent cadence and enjoying the ride. Though hardly the most slippery of Lycra, I encountered some minor surfing during the first 90 miles.
Not uncommon with traditional leather saddles, especially while you’re breaking them in and most of us like the ability to shuffle very slightly during the course of a ride.
However, the perches in question were leather covered and have seen a fair few miles, not to mention different shorts in the last decade. A couple of 30 degree machine washes later, my titanium railed, Brooks swift homage beckoned. 20 miles confirmed this tour de Miele was the cure.
July has been pretty balmy throughout and I’ve frequently been grinding along at 23mph and in 25-26 degrees. Given 25 minutes or so my lower back felt pretty clammy, although by this point the fibres react and I could feel moisture being sucked from the rear panel.
Then on, it stayed at a mild, misty glow. Jerseys with full length zippers dropped to half-mast improved matters slightly - especially when a gentle breeze is thrown into the mix.
Bibs though offering much greater protection to the lower back and vital organs, have a reputation for being tricky customers, should you need to stop for a pee break. Thankfully, the relatively low cut and stretchy braces ensure this is simple and dignified.
Save for a nasty spill, road riding doesn’t tax garments particularly harshly. Regular 30 degree machine washes with minimal detergent haven’t induced any bobbling. Our samples are showing some loose threads along the bib sections but this isn’t worsening, nor something I would lose any sleep over.
Regular deviations through overgrown forest trails and bridle path haven’t revealed any obvious weaknesses in the fabric to date, suggesting they should age gracefully.
Ultimately, the Nuovo face stiff competition from other store brands boasting similar spec for a few quid less. Similarly, those with touring aspirations might find the Polaris Challenge Nexus Ride have an edge. Nonetheless, they are extremely comfortable and well worth closer scrutiny if you’re on a mid-point budget but looking to ride sportive type distances.