Why Cyclists Wear Bib Shorts•
Posted on October 23 2023
Cycling Bib Shorts: To wear or not to wear
If you're not a cycling fanatic or if you're still a beginner, you've probably looked at the shorts with straps that most professional cyclists wear and wondered why they wear them.
The truth is that it's a mistake not to try bib shorts at least once in your life, given all the advantages they offer.
On the other hand, there are also experienced cyclists who refuse to wear bib shorts because they look strange.
That said, this article will tell you all about the advantages and disadvantages of bib shorts and why you should also try them on one of your bike rides.
What are cycling bib shorts?
The big difference between bib shorts and traditional cycling shorts is the presence of support straps that act as suspenders, i.e. they include straps that go over the shoulders, keeping the shorts in place regardless of the distance or terrain covered. This ensures greater comfort and, consequently, greater demand from cyclists.
The technical construction of these shorts is designed to be frictionless and not to retain moisture so that they dry more quickly and, as a result, the rider feels continually fresh.
What's more, the fabric is lightly compressed, guaranteeing a perfect fit, light weight and excellent padded chamois to make you feel comfortable in the saddle.
Indeed, bib shorts are a popular choice in cycling, but what are the reasons behind this choice? Here are the main advantages offered by this product:
They stay in place: As we've been saying throughout the blog article, bib shorts offer the advantage of staying firmly in place thanks to the shoulder straps, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit throughout the ride.
No waistband: Since bib shorts always stay in place, they eliminate the need for an uncomfortable waistband or elastic drawstring. This leads to greater freedom of movement and the cyclist's deep diaphragmatic breathing is not restricted in any way.
No moisture retention: Unlike traditional cycling shorts, bib shorts keep the rider's torso free so they don't accumulate moisture in that area, thus also avoiding possible discomfort and irritation.
They keep the padded chamois in place: Just as bib shorts don't move when you ride, the intrinsic chamois pad always stays in place. The same doesn't happen in traditional cycling shorts, so it's much more common to suffer from irritation due to the constant and painful friction with the saddle.
Warmer: Due to the greater coverage of the upper body, bib shorts can provide additional thermal insulation, which is beneficial in cold weather conditions.
Better aerodynamics: Bib shorts are designed to be more aerodynamic, which means they reduce air resistance and help riders cut through the wind more efficiently.
But as nothing is perfect, bib shorts also have their disadvantages and limitations:
Uncomfortable straps: In lower quality bib shorts, the straps tend to be more restrictive and can cause friction on the skin, which can lead to irritation.
Difficulties going to the toilet: A cycling tour usually takes a few hours. So it's only natural that you'll need to go to the toilet halfway through your ride. Bib shorts won't make your life any easier at that point as you'll need to take off your jersey first. It's a big inconvenience for men but an even bigger one for women.
Warmer: What used to be an advantage on cold days becomes a disadvantage in summer as many cyclists find that the excess heat and potential thermal discomfort can make them less suitable for the high temperatures of the hot season.
Cycling shorts vs Bib shorts
Shorts are an essential part of cycling equipment as they are largely responsible for the comfort and high performance of cyclists. In this sense, there are the two types of shorts discussed throughout the blog article: traditional cycling shorts and bib shorts. Your choice should fall on the type of shorts that make you feel best during your bike rides. But to know that, you need to try both!
That said, according to the advantages and disadvantages we've listed, you can already get a brief idea of what might be best for you. For example, if you're someone who needs to urinate frequently, it might not make sense to opt for bib shorts. If, on the other hand, you feel stuffy and have trouble breathing because of the elastic waistband, it might be time to use bib shorts.
Both types of shorts deserve recognition for the great advantages they offer, so we advise you to have both in your closet so that you can make the best decision in different situations.
Which type of shorts to choose?
It's all about personal preference!
That said, only by trying both can you be sure which one will give you a greater sense of comfort and make your cycling adventures more satisfying. So rather than limiting yourself to a single style, considering having both types of shorts in your cycling closet can be a smart approach. This will allow you to choose the most suitable shorts for the climate and conditions of each ride, ensuring that you get the most out of your cycling adventures, regardless of the terrain or the season.
So, back to the initial question: "Why do cyclists wear bib shorts?". The answer is simple: because they feel more comfortable and they prefer it!
If you're still a beginner in the world of bicycles, find out about other essential cycling equipment for all riders.