As part of our ADVNTR cargo bib shorts group test, Vedangi reviewed the SWAT-equipped RBX Adventure bib shorts from Specialized, which offer a surprising number of stashing options.
Photography by Jay Waldon
Sizing, fit and features
Being a bikepacking nerd but having never used a cargo bib shorts, I was mega curious to test the Specialized RBX Adventure bib shorts. The SWAT technology trademarked by Specialized essentially means ‘Storage, Water, Air, Tools’, and they incorporate this into both their frames and clothing. The Women’s RBX Adventure Bib Shorts are available in XS to XXL, and only in black, which I’m certainly not complaining about as black goes with everything!
Available for £100 from their website, they also have an option to slice down the payments with Klarna, which is pretty handy if, like me, you have spent most of your budget on, unnecessarily, changing the parts of your perfectly fine bike.
As far as the actual shorts are concerned, you can expect a pocket on each side, two pockets at the back, and a zipper pocket outside the right back pocket. There are a couple more tiny pockets that are too small to fit anything in. The main body of the shorts is made of 68% Nylon and 32% elastane, and the upper bit made of 100% polyester. The pockets are made of 77% nylon and 23% spandex.
One of the first challenges I faced when I opened the package with these shorts was that I was completely clueless how to put them on. No, I’m not being funny! With the pockets at the back attached towards the front, they almost look separate to the remaining shorts, making it hard to make out whether you’re putting the shorts on the wrong way around.
After figuring out the rocket science behind putting these shorts on, the next obvious step was to try them out for a bike ride. I found the fit slightly smaller than what I’d expect from my usual medium size. Of course, I checked the sizing guide on the website before ordering and, indeed, I needed a medium size. What’s more, they were not as stretchy as you’d expect from a pair of cycling shorts.
I tested these shorts for around 500 miles (if not more), both on and off road. My first ride was a 60 miler and although the shorts were smaller than I’d have liked, I was still able to ride in them. The first 25 miles were great, and I didn’t feel any different. Then I hit some proper gravel and by end of the ride, the seams along the padding had dug into my groin, causing mild bruises. Apart from that, the padding felt alright on my sit bones, but bothered me on the front a little bit.
This issue continued from my first ride until the most recent ride with these shorts on. The sizing might be to blame for that one though! In the three weeks of wearing these shorts consistently, I found myself getting more used to them. I could fit my puncture repair kit, my beloved Topeak ratchet and a spare tube on one side, five Outdoor Provision bars on the other, my cards and ID in the zipper pocket at the back, along with sunscreen, power bank and charger in the two back pockets. Fair to say, there’s more than enough space for everything that you may or may not need to fit in those shorts!
I was really impressed with that, given my overpacking tendencies. If you really wanted to, you could fit half a punnet of grapes in a fridge bag in one of the side pockets. None of the stuff in my pockets moved about when I was riding.
Apart from the fact that I looked like a clown carrying everything I needed in my shorts pockets, I found these shorts incredibly practical to ride in. I’ve been washing these in 30 degrees water with SMOL washing tablets and both, the pockets and the fit, feel the same.
The Specialized Women’s RBX Adventure bib short verdict
I think everyone has a very different comfort level when it comes to bib shorts based on their preference with how clothing should fit onto their body. In my case, medium size, as recommended by the website, was too small and even uncomfortable. I would’ve preferred a size up and the padding either being slightly narrower or less thick on the sides.
Apart from that, these shorts have more than enough storage and the stuff is comfortable to carry, which is the whole point of wearing cargo bib shorts anyway! I’d definitely recommend this to someone who rides regularly and likes to whip out their phone for a photo or two on the go (safely).
Last modified: 11th July 2021