The Domestique Critique: Rule XIV #C Series Bib Shorts

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Rule XIV chose to start their focus with the most critical part of your ride apparel – the bibshort. Deriving their name from the tongue-in-cheek Velominati Rule #14, “Shorts should be black,” Rule XIV set out to design premium bibshorts that break the rules, but always keep you in black.

 

Rule XIV has their own website to purchase directly, but they are owned by the online sporting goods shop, SportPursuit. The SportPursuit business model is to sell consumers cycling kit at 30-75% off retail, but never hold stock themselves, only acting as a middle man for brands with end of line product. With Rule XIV, SportPursuit is getting in on the direct-to-consumer game.

On to the review, I tested the #C series bibshorts in a size M. I never wear a size medium in anything because…track thighs. Mildly pleased to order a M for the first time in bibs, but since riding in them I realize I am in between sizes, but I’ll elaborate more on that later.

Photo Rhea Aldridge http://www.rheaaldridge.com/

I wear a base layer on the reg so I very much appreciate the zip front mesh brace in white.  The upper is lightweight and breathable, with the # contrast print, and allows me to ride without a base layer and be fully covered when I want to open my jersey for air flow. You can see in the photos that the upper layer is thin and covers the right  places without feeling like a full shirt. That feature makes the bibshorts feel like two products for the price of one. The front zipper is soft and flexible and I never it felt it whilst riding.

One more thing to note on the upper brace layer – it was cut in a flattering, form-fitting way that may make you think twice about plain old bib straps. It was the best I’ve worn and it’s a real money saver, because base layers aren’t cheap.

 

Photo Rhea Aldridge http://www.rheaaldridge.com

The fabric of the bibshort itself is highly compressive, almost to a fault. In the picture below you may be able to see the slight discomfort in the sitting position. The fabric didn’t quite flex to my full movements and pushed me around, like trying to sit in a super tight dress at prom. Not always attractive, not functional for a bike short. It is clearly a new fabric to bibshorts, because it was a matte black rarely seen and had more of a cotton-like touch compared to shiny black latex.

Rule XIV claims the fabric is moisture wicking but I found the sweat spots prevalent and lasting. Perhaps this bibshort fabric is better in cooler temps to keep heat in to your body. They did pay attention to details, however, and the seams were flat locked stitched for comfort and there were no scratchy labels inside or out.

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Photo Rhea Aldridge http://www.rheaaldridge.com

The chamois was excellent quality, wide enough for my sitbones and comfortable for longer rides. It’s a female specific high density chamois pad from Cytech in Italy, with bacteriostatic, soft, ultra fast drying, carbon infused fabric covering – suitable for any length of ride.

Photo Rhea Aldridge http://www.rheaaldridge.com

The bibs are finished with a gripper featuring a creative branding for Rule #XIV. This left an indent in my skin for a few hours after every ride that, while it may be a nice touch, dug in a bit too much for my liking.

Overall, the excellence of the upper layer balances out the discomfort of the restrictive short. On sale, this could be a good short to have as Plan B, or for the trainer (join me on Zwift!) but this first release isn’t my go-to pair. I hope Rule #XIV takes the good parts back to the drawing board and continues pursing perfection. The company will be rolling out jerseys very, very soon so keep an eye out for that. I know I will.

Full disclosure: I received the kit reviewed in this post free of charge. The decision to write this review and all opinions expressed are 100% my own. This is not a sponsored post. Thanks as always for reading!

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