The longer your ride is, the more you’ll begin to appreciate the improved comfort, fit, breathability and freedom of movement a quality pair of bibshorts provides over cycling shorts.
From quality fabrics to the most comfortable chamois inserts, these six options are worth your money when you’re in the mood to splurge on your cycling wardrobe.
Velocio is coming in strong to the cycling arena. While its men’s bibs are strong contenders, what sets the women’s bibs apart is the “fly” zipper in the back that accommodates bathroom breaks like no other. These bibs offer the best of bibs in terms of comfort and performance with the taking-on-and-off ease of cycling shorts. Find them in heavyweight or knickers for cooler temps and lighter weight versions as the mercury rises.
There are plenty of lightweight jerseys to choose from, but there aren’t a ton of bibshort options for when conditions get hot and humid. The four-way stretch fabric used on the lower half of these bibs is among the thinnest, lightest and most breathable you’ll find. The thin-mesh upper is also extremely comfortable and breathable and does a great job at staying put on your shoulders. But what makes these a top pick, like most of Rapha’s other bibshorts, is the superior construction, fit and durability — which means these will still be around long after you’ve tossed cheaper options.
While pricey, when you purchase the tB.laalaLai from Assos you’re getting much more than a bibshort. In fact, it’s meant to be a one-piece mono suit, combining the function of bibs, a base layer, and a sleeveless jersey all into one package. For slightly cooler conditions or a more modest look, you can also combine it with the Assos laalaLai jersey shell for the perfect cool weather kit. And while the fabric and construction is definitely high-end, the quality of the chamois insert and fit of the upper are the real stars of the show.
POC FONDO BIBSHORTS
Made especially for those long days on the bike, the new POC Fondo bibs might not have all the bells and whistles of higher-priced options but offer plenty of value at the lower price. The knitted-stretch fabric on the legs offers superior freedom of movement and compression, the latter of which is said to prevent fatigue. Our favorite feature, though, is the Fondo chamois, which uses pre-cut VPDS inserts that help reduce pressure points, improve airflow and eliminate road vibration.
One of the best values on this list, the Giordana Silverline features many of the same designs and technology as higher-end garments at a more affordable price. The cut of the Silverline is also meant to fit more body types, whereas high-end garments meant for racing are often extremely slim fitting. While the Lycra isn’t the thinnest, we liked how durable and well-built they are while also combining a good mix of compression and freedom of movement on the bike. The seamless microfiber bibstraps are also comfortable, supportive and do a nice job of keeping you cool during warmer conditions.
For a pair of bibs that cost less than $100, the Evoluzione 2 features one of the most tailored, comfortable fits you’ll find. And while the quality of the fabric isn’t what you’ll find on higher-priced options, it isn’t all that bad either. A two-way stretch fabric used on the inner layer and a nylon outer provides good durability and reasonable moisture-wicking properties that should be suitable for all but the hottest of weather conditions. Combine that with the KISS Air chamois that’s just as good as many in Castelli’s more expensive bibs and you’ve got a great pair of bibshorts at a reasonable price.
If you’re a woman, a nature break can be a big problem in a pair of bibs. To solve the undressing entirely problem, Giro created the Sport Halter, which offers the convenience of shorts with the comfort of bibs. Clever design aside, the stretchy fabric used on the top and bottom is a real winner, which will fit you well no matter your body type. As a comfortable, all-day option for longer rides, you won’t find many bibs better at this price.