For any cyclist, bib shorts are an essential piece of kit and arguably the most important to get right. We pick out the best and tell you what you need to look for
As cycling grows in popularity, so does the range of brands and kit available to anyone from beginner to pro. Cycling bib shorts come in a huge range of options for cyclists of all shapes and sizes.
Choosing the right pair of bib shorts can be difficult, especially as you can’t really try before you buy – for obvious reasons. However, finding the best pair is essential for comfort and to keep you riding.
Bib shorts are the most important part of any cyclist’s wardrobe, and the discomfort of getting the wrong pair can end a ride and put you off getting back in the saddle for quite some time.
Below we have detailed what to look for when buying bib shorts, and also offered some options for where to start when buying. Remember though, everyone’s different so use this as a guide to help you find the best pair for you and get you riding in comfort in no time.
When it came to testing these bib shorts, we took the business very seriously. The good news is that none of those tested was considered a duff pair of shorts. Some are always better than others, but it’s good to report that, from the brands on test, without spending a fortune, it’s possible to buy an extremely comfortable and stylish pair of bibshorts that will last you many seasons of riding.
Our pick of the best cycling bib shorts
Rapha Classic bib short II – 9/10
Read more: Rapha Classic bib short II review
The Rapha Classic bib short II shorts are the text book example of how a chamois should be made. It’s slim but for this reason unobtrusive and wicks really well.
The lycra is soft and supportive, while the detailing and looks are really on point.
B’twin Aerofit bib shorts – 9/10
Read more: B’twin Aerofit bib-shorts review
These shorts offer performance that punches well above their price point.
The fit was good and their was never any chafing on the legs or undercarriage area. You’d have little to lose investing in a pair of these.
Fizik Link R1 Snake shorts – 9/10
Read more: Fizik Link R1 Snake shorts review
For a first attempt, Fizik has really hit the nail on the head with the Link R1 shorts.
These are seriously technical shorts, and they come in three options depending on how flexible you are.
dhb ASV Roubaix bib short – 9/10
Read more: dhb ASV Roubaix bib short review
The version of the Roubaix bib short we tested came with a fleece lining, although you can opt for a lightweight option if you’d prefer.
However, they were warm which was good for chilly mornings and, well, year round riding in the UK!
Castelli Endurance X2 bib short – 9/10
Read more: Castelli Endurance X2 bib short review
Specialized SL Pro bib shorts – 9/10
Read more: Specialized SL Pro bib shorts review
The comfort and support of the SL Pro bib short material is excellent, as is the pad.
It managed to keep things comfortable despite riding a hard, racing saddle for long hours at a time.
Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts – 9/10
With a name like that you’d be right to expect a lot from these bib shorts.
Thankfully, they come through and are super comfortable. There’s no chafing or rubbing and they’re supportive enough for multiple days in the saddle.
Altura Women’s ProGel Peloton bib shorts – 8/10
The ProGel Peloton bib shorts have a very wide chamois so they won’t be for everyone, but chamois fit is a very personal thing.
Other than that, these are a comfortable fit with no belly pinching or chafing.
dhb Classic bib short – 9/10
Read more: dhb Classic bib short review
The dhb Classic bib short are simple, but they get the job done well.
They’re comfortable, even on long rides and there’s plenty of ventilation to the pad to keep things cool.
To find even more bib-short reviews click here
Check back throughout the year as we test different shorts for different temperatures and conditions.
If you think we’ve missed any, let us know in the comments below and we’ll aim to expand the list of test products.
Cycling bib shorts: What to look for
Cycling bib shorts: Materials
The choice of materials for designers is huge, from thicker leg material for chilly spring conditions to well-ventilated back panels for summer heat. Some make the best choices, while others leave you questioning what was going through their heads. The best idea is to get hands-on. If the shorts feel nice in your hand, they’re at least halfway to feeling good once you get them on.
A high back will help with a better fit
Cycling bib shorts: Fit
For the men, you need to ensure the shoulder straps are comfortable. Some come up short, feeling a little restrictive, even for me, a tester of average height. For the girls, the differences in waist design had a big effect on comfort and performance. Always try on shorts, and adopt a riding position to get a clear idea of how they’d really feel.
Cycling bib-shorts: Chamois
The other details are important to consider, but the chamois is the absolute key bib short component. Get it right and your shorts will offer years of comfortable miles. Get it wrong and the pad can become uncomfortable. Many brands buy in their chamois from an external company, such as Cytech, and can often use the same pad as a competitor.