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.

>>> Endura launch new custom bib short PadFit system

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.

Buy now: Rapha Classic bib tight II from Rapha for £165

B’twin Aerofit bib shorts – 9/10

B'twin Aerofit bib shorts

B’twins cycling bib shorts offer comfort and performance above their price point

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.

Buy now: B’twin Aerofit bib-shorts from Decathalon for £55.99

Fizik Link R1 Snake shorts – 9/10

Fizik Link R1 Snake

Fizik has three different categories of short depending on how flexible you are

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

A fleecy lining means that dhb’s Roubaix bib shorts are good for those chilly UK morning

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!

Buy now: dhb ASV Roubaix bib short from Wiggle for £70

Castelli Endurance X2 bib short – 9/10

castelli-endurance-x2-bib-shorts

The Castelli Endurance X2 is possibly one of the most comfortable bib shorts we’ve tested

Read more: Castelli Endurance X2 bib short review

Comfortable and supportive is how we found Castelli’s £100 bib shorts. They use the same Progretto X2 Air seatpad as found on their Mondiale bib shorts and Inferno bib-shorts.

Buy now: Castelli Endurance X2 bib short from Evans Cycles for £109.99

Specialized SL Pro bib shorts – 9/10

specialized sl pro bib shorts

Spesh’s SL Pro bib shorts sit snug and comfortable

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.

Buy now: Specialized SL Pro bib shorts from Leisure Lakes for £99.99

Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts – 9/10

sportful super total comfort bib shorts

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Read more: Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts review

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.

Buy now: Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts from Wiggle for £150

Altura Women’s ProGel Peloton bib shorts – 8/10

Altura Women's Peloton ProGel bib shorts

The pad’s fit on the the Peloton ProGel bib short will be a thing of personal preference

Read more: Altura Women’s ProGel Peloton bib shorts review

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.

Buy now: Altura Women’s ProGel bib short from CycleStore for £44.99

dhb Classic bib short – 9/10

dhb Classic bib short

The dhb’s Classic bib shorts are simple, good performers

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.

Buy now: dhb Classic bib short from Wiggle for £45.00

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.

bibshorts fit

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.

bibshorts-pad

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.

  • BarryFromEastEnders

    You should have seen Pat when we got her a bib vest. My word, she was spilling out at all angles. My Janine was in hysterics.

  • cyclinginfo

    Shorts
    & Bibs

    I’m new on this community,
    and this is my very first post.

    I really appreciate your hard work .
    Thank you for this
    Information.

  • Bertrude

    190 £ rapha shorts, you have to be joking

  • Sincy

    There are so many choices out there. And so many crap shorts, or maybe they will be good enough for some cyclists on a budget or who do not ride much. The old truth is you get what you pay for is true, but there are some great budget shorts too, like Tenn, dhb etc. but the most important thing for me is the Pad/Chamois.
    Some expensive ones are not thick enough for me, and some are just too much. best to shop around try them on and go with your gut feelings. Do not buy a brand and think it is right for you because it costs.

  • Sincy

    Go onto the Endura website. you can buy them off that. and they are amazing shorts. Also have got Tenn shorts and much the same for less money.

  • Glen Williams

    I want to know please where I can buy the caratti Sport or the Endura Thermolite bib shorts. I live in Oxford.

  • Glen Williams

    where can I order Caratti Sport or Endura Thermolite bib shorts? I live in Oxford.

  • Ady

    I like my Tenn ones but perhaps they are not on here because they reduce their price by not throwing money at marketing via cycling mags.

  • Jonathan Paul Page

    Yep. I don’t care how much the Progetto X2 pad costs. It is not a luxury on a 5 hour ride to have 125 dollar bibs.

  • Steve Hislop

    Agree. The sizing for bibs can differ dramatically from brand to brand. I have a set of Castelli that are medium but similar bibs from Santini are sized as large.

  • Mj Mj

    it’d be helpful for this article to give the model’s sizes/measurements. It would also place comments such as this, into context –

    the size 10 gives a comfortable rather than an athletic fit.