Shorts & Bibs

Shorts or Bibs

A good pair of shorts is key ride essential for anyone spending a lot of time in the saddle.  Your first line of defence for comfort on any ride is getting the right saddle but a good bike short adds an extra layer of cushioning.  Things that make for a good bike short:

  • High density foam that will stil provide some cushioning even when it is compressed under your weight.
  • Moisture wicking, soft fabric cover to minimize risk of chafing.
  • Ergonomic shape that conforms to the contours of your saddle and your body.
  • For extra long ride comfort, look for gel inserts.
  • Soft waistband or bib straps so you don’t really notice them while you are riding.
  • Leg bands that hold the legs in place without binding. Look for self fabric bands, slightly contoured bands or bands with silicone treatment on the inside for soft grip.
  • And, of course, make sure they fit you properly.  Too tight and they will bind and pinch.  Too loose and they can bulk and fold underneath you and fabrics edges can move against your skin causing chafing.

And, of course, make sure they fit you properly.  Too tight and they will pinch or bind.  Too loose and they can fold or bulk underneath you or the fabric will move and rub against your skin as you turn your legs over, potentially causing unnecessary chafing.

Whether you choose bibs or shorts is a matter of personal preference but here are a few things to consider:

  • As my husband has pointed out many times 100% of pro riders were bibs.  They spend enough time in bike clothing to know what they’re doing.
  • With bibs, you don’t have a waistband so there is no elastic digging into your stomach. 
  • There are lots of straps configurations so there is likely to be one that will work for most people, even women.
  • If you are really tall or short and strap length is an issue, they are easy to alter.
  • When it comes to a nature break during a ride, bibs are less convenient, for sure.

I tend to like wearing a matching kit.  I’ll wear bibs or shorts, whichever one is made in to match the jersey. If given a choice, I’d take a bib short.

Chamois Creams

Chafing is an issue for many of us when we spend a lot of time in the saddle and in bike shorts that are working hard to wick away moisture. Saddle creams can help but adding a layer of lubrication.  Good saddle or chamois creams are non-water soluble so they will continue to work while you work.