All of us have experienced in some form or another, “Shrinkflation”. This is when brands reducing the size or quality or features of a product while maintaining the original retail price. RedWhite Cycling Apparel is going against this shrinkflation trend with their recently introduced ENTRY bibshorts.
Founded in 2014, the brand made a name for itself with high quality bib knicks that remain comfortable for long distance rides. The ENTRY bib shorts appear to buck the trend as the brand owner, Yuva Viswanathan has selected cheaper fabrics and construction but it also has a much lower retail price. Pitched for shorter riders (less than 3 hours), I want to find out if The ENTRY bib knicks are a smart move.
Construction – The ENTRY vs The BIB
For orientation, RedWhite have just two models; The ENTRY bib knicks now complements the main product called The BIB which comes in three colours plus there is a Thermal (fabric) version and two women’s version. On Bicycles Network Australia we have reviewed some of the earlier RedWhite bibknick models and fans of RedWhite may have spotted short expansion into jerseys and other cycling wear until they decided to concentrate on a single product which had a loyal following.
Before detailing the construction and material of the new ENTRY bibshorts, it’s worthwhile pointing out that the price is just US$85 (~ A$110), a significant 35% cheaper than the ultra-endurance The BIB at US$130 (~A$170). RedWhite cycling wear is purchased online and shipping is free although you may be charged GST.
Even through RedWhite is a Singaporean company which geographical access to Asian suppliers, the knicks are made in Romania, one of the eastern European countries with a flourishing textile industry who are using Italian fabrics and supplying Italian brands.
The ENTRY bibshorts utilise the same brand fabric, instead of the top-level M.I.T.I. and Effepi Italian lycra and thermic-moulded 3 multi-density foam chamois, it uses the entry level M.I.T.I. and Effepi lycra with a medium density 2-part sewn foam chamois. The fit and pattern of the ENTRY bibshorts mimics The BIB, so this takes away and sizing worries when purchasing the alternate styles.
The chamois is where the greatest cost reductions have been realised. ‘Constructing’ the chamois and sewing individual foam pieces, rather than using a heat moulding process saves in materials and tooling. In theory, the medium density chamois provides less cushioning than found in The BIB which combines a more intricate design and selection of medium and high density foams. However when The ENTRY bib knicks are used for shorter distance cycling, as intended, this difference in padding should not be as noticeable particularly when the significant cost savings are factored in.
Flatlock stitching is used throughout to provide minimal seams, and the M.I.T.I. lycra is also SPF 50+ rated – something that is becoming increasingly important to protect exposed skin. The microdot grippers from the premium models are also carried over in the ENTRY model.
I’ve been a long-term rider of RedWhite’s The BIB, even though I am not an Ultra Distance rider. I do appreciate (and need) comfort and quality at an affordable price. I’m still rocking the 1st pair of THE BIB’s for well over a year and they are used for everything from work commutes to century rides through the Adelaide Hills. When I found out about The ENTRY model, I was keen to see how they stood up to their more expensive sibling.
The ‘same’ approach in the pattern and construction is noticeable when trying on The ENTRY bibshorts for the first time. I wear size XL and they feel pretty similar in fit. No loose/tight areas, no odd pressure points or wrinkles, no scratchy “uh oh’s” that can signify the potential sore spots that rear their ugly heads at the midpoint of a ride. Instead the first impression is a satisfying feel that everything is, to quote Goldilocks, “Just right”.
The difference in padding was noticeable, as expected, but at no point did it cause any issues for me. Short commutes from 30 minutes to longer hill rides of 3 hours or even off-road jaunts on my hardtail Gravel bike didn’t cause any discomfort or left me wanting for more. Admittedly, The BIB were a touch better but in context it took just a quick reminder that these bibshorts were a whopping 35% cheaper, to realise that these are pretty damn good.
The broad cuff design of the leg grippers with their micro-dot gripper, (masses of silicon dots laid onto the lycra) form a non-constricting band that ensures that the lycra stays put and doesn’t ride-up. On the XL knicks, the only noticeable difference were the straps. At first it felt as through the braces were a bit shorter but after comparing them with my other pairs, it is probably due to the construction and materials which meant that they didn’t appear to stretch as much. It’s the only difference that I could pick in terms of fit between the two models.
On the topic of nature breaks, although the pro riders use some Euro-cool fancy tricks (and at the same time the cameras respectfully pan away while Phil Liggett talks about a 16th century French villa), an average male cyclist would be more inclined to stretch the front of their knicks down. This is where nice elastic braces come in handy and taller riders, in particular will find the ENTRY bibs a little less accommodating.
During some of the longer rides and off-road adventures, I fully expected to finish with the early signs of chamois fatigue, where my sensitive nether regions would start providing early warning signs that it was time to climb off or head home. Interestingly, this just didn’t happen. Even though I noticed the reduced level of padding, it was only when I actually thought about it, rather than being constantly reminded because I was uncomfortable. In this aspect, the ENTRY bibshorts make a great alternative option for the shorter weekly rides, and saving THE BIB’s for those longer weekend jaunts.
I’ve used a number of brands of road cycling bib knicks over the last 15 years, whilst many that I have tried fit into the ‘pretty good’ category, there are only two that fit into the “I’ll keep buying these” category. RedWhite is one of these. As a detail of interest, some very highly regarded brands that many swear by (and cost well more than double the price), haven’t suited me at all.
RedWhite are refreshing as they have become a brand that a lot of riders turn towards, sometimes as a last resort in their search for comfortable knicks. But they are able to remain below the A$200 threshold which is where I, and I am sure many others would draw the line of being affordable. I am content to keep relying on the premium version The BIBs, especially with the chamois they will serve my varied riding conditions well. But it is nice to know there is an option of bib knicks at a lower price point which come pretty close and will serve new riders and short distance weekend riders nicely.
You can spend A$400 and more for bib knicks and they could be fantastic, but cycling comfort is still personal and it is not just about cash. Without talking about bike-fitting, saddle selection and chamois cream, RedWhite have established themself as specialist and are able to ignore fancy designs and just create bib knicks that keep their customers returning. Like the trickle-down advantage for road cyclists who have Shimano 105 and Ultegra groupsets that inherit the best of Dura Ace, the ENTRY bib knicks don’t claim to be ultra-distance knicks, but riders will benefit from the pedigree.
Knicks, Tips and Care
RedWhite retain the advantage of being a fairly agile brand. Even before ‘Home Office’ was inflicted on the global workforce and normalise, the brand founder Yuva ditched the costly rented offices and warehouse space to work at home. He shares his pragmatic and straight-hitting approach for RedWhite on the website so you can also read about the product development and prototyping of RedWhite. In comparison to the big brands and the trendy brands, this blog content doesn’t have a marketing and sales filter so you can actually learn a thing or two.
When it comes to instructions, I have to admit I’m hopeless at following them. RedWhite’s instructions, there are only 3 of them, are pretty simple and easy to follow. Still, I’m lucky if I follow even 1 of them religiously. The label is as simple as can be:
1) – Soak in cold water overnight before 1st use,
2) – Always handwash in mild detergent, and
3) – Hang dry for best results
I’m pretty good at Rule #3. Yet despite my lack of care effort, the RedWhite bibshorts have proven to be amongst the most robust that I have owned. That’s a huge tick in my book.
It does what it says. great performance at a lower entry point. RedWhite’s ENTRY bibshorts are a refreshing option in the current market where everything is getting more expensive. This is a price-range where you will discover big differences in quality, The ENTRY cycling shorts draws on expertise from The BIB and gives me a lot of confidence in recommending these. While $110 is not classed as cheap, they do deliver superb value for money.
There are a few incentives such as a bundle option (purchase 4 or more for a 30% saving) and a Crash Replacement to save 50% in an unfortunate event. Without underestimating the popularity and size of RedWhite knicks, the founder Yuva takes it on himself to look after customer satisfaction, so do be surprised if you send in an email on sizing and get a response from the boss.
I would like to say ‘Do yourself a favour’ and look beyond the marketing blurb and fancy designs of the others and consider RedWhite knick if comfort is important to you.
RedWhite Bib Knicks are available online from redwhite.cc and prices include shipping.