Do I need bib shorts for cycling?
New cyclists often ask which is best, bib shorts or bike shorts?  Obviously, the straps are an immediately visible difference – until they’re covered by a jersey. But, once you’re fully kitted out, you probably won’t even see the straps so how they look is a minor point when you’re comparing bib shorts with bike shorts, sometimes called waist shorts.
There are a few things to bear in mind so here are the pros and cons of bib shorts for cycling.

What are bib shorts?

Bib shorts are the style with old-fashioned looking suspender straps going over the shoulders, like skin tight, aerodynamic dungarees. The reason for this bygone-era look is that, in the past, fabric technology wasn’t as good as today so suspenders were the only solution for shorts slippage. But even with improvements in bike shorts so they grip the body better, most road cyclists prefer bib shorts to bike shorts. 

The advantages of bib shorts 
Cycling bibshorts

How are bib shorts more comfortable?

The first thing is bib shorts don’t have an elasticated waistband because the straps hold them firmly in place. That means there’s nothing tight to dig into your stomach or restrict your diaphragm and breathing.
Also, the straps mean the chamois can’t move around and the shorts don’t bunch up at the top of the thigh which is more comfortable. Plus it means the chamois won’t sag into a nappy effect when you get off the bike.
Bib shorts cover more skin
You’re not going to get sunburn if your jersey rides up at the back and no-one behind you has to stare down your bumcrack. Plus the extra fabric will keep you warmer in winter.


The disadvantages of bib shorts for cycling

cycling bibshorts


Can you go to the toilet in bib shorts?
This is the biggest downside of bib shorts: you have to half strip to go to the toilet because any layers worn over the straps need to come off before you can pull them down. 

Are bib shorts hotter?
In hot weather, despite the plus of sun protection for your lower, bib shorts can be too hot because of the extra fabric layer over your torso. You might  want to choose bib shorts for winter but swap for bike shorts as summer comes. 

Are bib straps comfortable?
As a rule, the shoulder straps should be comfortable but they’re not adjustable. So, tall riders or those with a long torso might find the straps dig in or chafe which will completely kill any of the other comfort advantages of bib shorts in the first place. Also, for women, the double straps of the bib shorts and a sports bra can be uncomfortable.

So should I buy bib shorts or bike shorts?

As long as bib shorts are comfortable for your height and body shape, we recommend you get both types of cycling shorts! The beauty of buying pro owned, secondhand kit is the low prices mean you can experiment with different styles and work out what suits you best. 
With both bib shorts and bike shorts in your wardrobe, you can choose according to the weather or the type and length of ride. Some riders prefer bib shorts for racing and bike shorts for regular rides, for example.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published