Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Review: Solo RT Thermo Roubaix 3/4 Length Shorts

With winter approaching and the temperatures falling rapidly, reaching into the wardrobe and pulling out a pair of three quarter length bibs is becoming a more frequent occurrence.

A few weeks ago I reviewed the great Solo Super Roubaix Arm Warmers and Knee Warmers; but as the mornings become even cooler, three quarter lengths are the next step in keeping comfortable when you’re out on the road or trails.

Solo.cc kit has proven to have some great characteristics in all my reviews to date; whether it was the warm winter jersey and base layer review that I published in the spring or the arm warmer review more recently;all the kit has proven to be well made, well designed and has a great fit. I'm pleased to say the Retro Tech ¾ length Thermal Shorts follow the theme.

Starting from the top down, the bibs on the Retro Tech three quarter lengths are high cut and very comfortable; although they may present some problems when nature calls, they keep the warmth in and the chill out very well, and the strong elasticised fabric avoids any bunching around your mid-section when you are in a tuck on the bike. 

The Thermo Roubaix fabric used for both the bibs and the lowers comes from M.I.T.I (an Italian brand), and is a beautiful fleece backed material that has proven both highly breathable and warm even in the worst of conditions. Its higher density thread count also means it is very good for wet weather riding, as it adds an element of water resistance to the fabric. 

Moving down, I was extremely pleased to find the Cytech 'Road Performance Carbonium' chamois in these shorts; I've trialled this pad in other bibs before and it really is superb. Providing just the right amount of pad density and pad width, the technical make up of the Carbonium is spot on in my opinion. The pad also washes well on a normal machine cycle, and remains comfortable even for long periods in the saddle. Coupling this feature with the flat-locked seams, which means there is no uncomfortable abrasion from this area as well, it makes these a perfect garment for long winter miles. 

Like the Solo arm warmers and knee warmers the Solo RT ¾ Thermal Shorts feature the great reflective Solo logos on the front of the calf, and reflective tabs on the rear. These are the kind of features that can be overlooked in a design process, but in fact make a real difference to visibility in poor lighting conditions.

The lower cut of the legs of these “shorts” means that really they are closer to tights than shorts. This is no bad thing; it means that I can quite easily see myself wearing this product right through the middle of winter. Coupled with overshoes they will provide almost equivalent protection to full length tights, but without the irritating lower ankle that you get on some tights.

At £155 RRP, the Thermal Roubaix ¾ lengths are no bargain bucket special, rather they are a superbly made, great fitting set of bibs, with a great chamois and a cut that makes them extremely versatile in the seasons that they could be used for. These can be viewed as an investment; if you are putting in long miles this winter, make sure you do it in comfort.

Distributed in the UK by Paligap.cc, select Solo kit is also available from Wiggle.co.uk

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