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The Van Rysel RCR500 Super Roubaix Winter Bib Shorts from Decathlon let you carry on riding in shorts beyond the summer thanks to their slightly thicker fabric. The pad is very comfortable, and a bit of water resistance is a nice touch, as is a mesh rear panel for some added breathability. A few more reflectives would be nice, but otherwise these are very good for the money.
For the main body of the shorts, Decathlon has specced Super Roubaix fabric. It's thicker than typical shorts, more like you'd find on a pair of winter tights, with a fleece backing to sit against your skin.
It's soft, comfortable and on early morning rides in temperatures of 6°C to 8°C impressively warm. I'd have no worries about these coping with lower temperatures – above freezing – I just haven't had the chance to try that yet.
At the upper end of the scale, I'd say their limit is around the 14°C mark.
Mixing and matching them with a set of leg or knee warmers, you'll have quite a versatile setup here that'll easily work for three seasons.
The fabric also has a water-repellent treatment that'll keep light rain and road spray at bay for a decent amount of time. Obviously, that depends on how much water is involved, but riding on my road bike with full mudguards in steady, not too heavy rain, I'd say they remained dry for 45 minutes to an hour.
The mesh used for the straps and upper body does a good job of letting unwanted heat escape, although the fabric isn't the most comfortable I've used. It's not that soft and if you don't wear a baselayer it can feel a little scratchy. It does soften after it's been through the washing machine quite a few times, though.
The RCR500s come with a gel pad which I got on fine with. The gel sections are saddle shaped, and vary in thickness depending on where they are situated, with various channels running in both directions for pressure relief. The central section also has ventilation holes.
It's not the most comfortable pad I've used, but I found it supportive both on smooth rides and when taking to the gravel trails.
Overall, the quality looks to be good with smooth, flat seams that don't irritate, and the Super Roubaix material feels good to the touch. It's proving itself to be durable too.
There are a few spots that are a little rougher, though. For instance, on the inside of the legs where they are sewn together, one side is lined up perfectly looking very neat and tidy, but the other side has a discrepancy of about a millimetre which doesn't sound much but just makes the finish look a little rushed, plus there are a few strands of thread left here and there.
When you are wearing them, it doesn't really show, to be honest, and for just £54.99 I'm not going to grumble too much.
Sizing is akin to the majority of brands, especially those designed in the UK, and I found the overall fit to be good.
There are a couple of reflective strips on the hem of the legs, but these are focused more to the front. I'd like to see some more at the rear.
Competition-wise, the Van Rysels are a good chunk of change cheaper than something like dhb's Aeron Equinox bib shorts, which have a current list price of £90.
They are designed to cover a similar range of temperatures as the Van Rysels, but don't come with any water resistance. I was very impressed when I tested them, though, as the comfort levels from the fit and pad were very high indeed.
Lusso's 2-Zero Thermal bib shorts also scored very highly in our review back in 2017. They're still available and use a similar style of fabric as the Van Rysels, but, like the dhbs, are a fair bit more expensive, now costing £90.
There are a few niggles with the finish quality of the Van Rysels, and I would argue that the dhb and Lusso shorts mentioned above have more impressive pads, especially as rides get longer, but the RCR500s win out on value and are very good overall.
Great value for money and comfortable three-season bib shorts, although the finish could be better
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel RCR500 Super Roubaix Winter Bib Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says these are for, "Cyclists wanting to ride in winter while still having the movement and comfort of summer shorts. Use with leg warmers in cold weather.
"If you prefer leg warmers to bib tights, but your summer bibs aren't warm enough, these warm winter bibs, with their brushed fabric and gel pad, are just what you need."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Decathlon lists these features:
Super Roubaix water-repellent fabric
A water-repellent treatment is applied to the fabric to protect cyclists from light rain.
Pad with gel insert
Our dual-density pad keeps you riding hour after hour without feeling discomfort.
The gel absorbs vibrations and protects your muscles and joints.
The straps and back are full mesh for less weight and better perspiration wicking
All seams located on the seat or friction zones are flat to reduce the risk of irritation.
On the whole, absolutely fine, just a little rough around the edges.
Sizing is realistic to the UK market and tallies with Decathlon's guide.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with washing, and it did help soften the mesh fabric a little.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable shorts on the whole that'll cope with a wide range of temperatures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Super Roubaix fabric feels soft against the skin and will keep you warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Upper body fabric feels a bit rough.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are cheaper than both the dhb and Lusso bib shorts mentioned in the review and by a big amount, and those aren't exactly brands that I'd call expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, mainly down to the price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very good – the comfort and performance of the main fabric and pad can't really be faulted, it's only the finish and the not-so-soft mesh strap material that knock the score down, even at this money.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!