The best budget bibshorts for cycling 2022: ridden and rated

Here are our top picks of the best low-cost bib shorts currently on the market

Image shows a rider cycling with cheap bib shorts.
(Image credit: Future)

It's true that cycling kit can be very expensive – and that regular riding only compounds the problem. Whether you're simply wearing through it or in need of extra garments to tide you between wash cycles, to build up a reasonable draw full of kit can cost as much as a new set of wheels.

The good news is that cycling clothing has come on a very long way in recent years. Yes, at the one end, this has seen the very best cycling bib shorts become ever more expensive as they cram in ever more tech – but at the other end, budget shorts have come on light-years in terms of the comfort they offer. 

They've reached such a level that in many cases it's a pertinent question whether you should really be spending any more. Admittedly, in heavily performance focused situations – whether racing or going on a long bike-packing adventure – you may well be wanting some extra features. 

But for your more regular training sessions, it makes a lot of financial sense to put the miles in on a cheaper, workhorse pair. Although most shorts are sold in both a men's and a women's version, the fits can be quite different – we've got page specifically on the best budget women's bib shorts over here. 

Best budget bib shorts

Black bibshorts from DHB

(Image credit: dhb)
The quintessential cheap bibshort

Specifications

Fabric : Italian high performance fabric
Chamois : Elastic Interface NICE ANATOMIC MEN chamois
Seems : Comfortable seems that caused no chafing
Grippers: Elastic leg opening with silicone gripper

Reasons to buy

+
High quality feel 
+
Excellent leg grippers keep the shorts in place 

Reasons to avoid

-
For very long rides, they feel slightly thin

Black bibshorts from DHB

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

dhb's Classic bib shorts are a firm favourite of beginners and seasoned cyclists alike, thanks to their low price, quality feeling materials and well-proportioned cut. The fact these I experienced no numbness or discomfort during turbo sessions of up to three hours and outdoor rides of up to five says it all, really.

Naturally, these aren't close to being most cushioned set of bibs on the market, we wouldn't recommend them for the very longest of rides, but the comfort they do provide is more than sufficient for the majority of training rides – which makes you question what's the point in spending (what can literally be) quadruple the price on the top-end models.

The breathability was similarly great – part of the reason why I was able to spend so long on the turbo with them – and so far they have stood up to numerous wash cycles without any sign of sagging or wear. They're yet to have a full season put into them, but I'll update with any changes.



Black bib shorts from Van Rysel

(Image credit: Decathlon)

2. Van Rysel RC500 Bib Shorts

Best for versatility

Specifications

Fabric: Actively wicks away perspiration to the outer surface for quick drying.
Chamois: Anatomical chamois pad with high-density foam to fit your body perfectly.
Seems : Comfortable seems that caused no chafing
Grippers: Wide elasticated silicone band at the thighs.

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely good pad 
+
Comfortable across a range of temperatures 
+
Pockets!

Reasons to avoid

-
None

Black bib shorts from Van Rysel

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

Pockets? On bib-shorts? I don’t consider myself a graveller and, previously, I had thought pockets on bib-shorts were in the sole reserve of dropbar off-roaders. However, the amount of times these pockets came in useful floored me. 

I am converted. 

These, I believe, are the cheapest bib-shorts with cargo pockets on the market (that come with a pad of such quality). The pockets will secure your phone, an inner tube and mini pump – and you can even fit eight of Decathlon’s own Aptonia gels in them. 

If you like to ride in bib-shorts and a t-shirt, these are perfect. If you want to go on an 8 hour epic, these are perfect. The versatility of these shorts is excellent – even better considering the price. 

The fit was spot on, the straps didn’t dig in and the shorts were supportive and remained in place. The chamois was comfortable when tested on rides of four hours - a ride made more pleasant by the ability to store extra food. The shorts survived the laundry test without issue. There was some slight chafing at first where the pad meets the lycra, but after a few rides this stopped.



Sundried bib shorts

(Image credit: Sundried)

3. Sundried Apex Men's Bib Shorts

The most budget friendly option

Specifications

Fabric: Crafted from breathable and sweat-wicking fabrics, these shorts are lightweight and aerodynamic
Chamois: Ergonomic foam pad
Seems : Comfortable seems that caused no chafing
Grippers: Silicon grippers at the hem

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable bib straps 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pad moves around 
-
Bad grippers cause shorts to slide up leg

Sundried bib shorts

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

The pad on the Sun-dried Apex shorts left quite a lot to be desired. While it’s of adequate thickness under the sit bones, it’s made of eight smaller pads connected by thin foam between them. 

The problem with this foam being so thin is that the pad doesn’t have enough structural integrity to stay in place while you’re riding, meaning that readjustments are often necessary. 

The material of the rest of the shorts feels hot, and becomes quite uncomfortable when sweaty or wet. The bib straps are the one redeeming factor, the mesh is comfortable, the straps are wide and don’t fold or scrunch up. 

The grippers on these shorts are almost non-existent with a silver coating along the bottom of the leg. They slide up and also need to be regularly readjusted when riding. The shorts did show good robustness, withstanding washing quite well. 



FDX bib shorts

(Image credit: FDX)

4. FDX All Day Bib Shorts

A cheap option with pockets - but only for shorter rides

Specifications

Fabric: 4 Fabric Multi-panel Composition
Chamois: 3D Gel Padding
Seems : Comfortable seems that caused no chafing
Grippers: Laser-cut Powerband leg grippers

Reasons to buy

+
Thick chamois pad 
+
Pockets!

Reasons to avoid

-
Some chafing between the pad and upper leg of the shorts 

FDX bib shorts

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

The distribution of padding in the chamois of these shorts was the most immediate and interesting aspect of them. It’s centred quite heavily down the middle of the pad, which led me to wonder how comfortable they would be. In their first test, we dropping them straight in at the deep end, taking them out of the box and straight into a four hour ride in the mountains. 

Perhaps that was a mistake. These were the only shorts to induce a bit of soreness post ride, which is notable. There was also quite a bit of chafing near the pad. The seams, on the other hand, proved no issue and in the heat, these shorts were absolutely fine, with the straps and waist being comfortable both with and without the FDX base layer. Their design isn't the most stylish either, with the FDX logo being less than subtle. 

That said, these bib shorts do have pockets, which is a massive plus. Very helpful for storing nutrition, or just somewhere to put your phone when ordering a coffee, they came in handy so many times and provided absolutely no downside.

In all, these are a great value pair of shorts, but probably best for rides less than three hours. After a couple of washes, some wear and tear was visible in the seams, but nothing disastrous. 



Black bib shorts with a white logo on the bottom of the leg

(Image credit: Ale)

5. Alé Graphics PRR Strada Bib Shorts

A supportive, race-like feel without the price tag

Specifications

Fabric: features Ale's Eyelet Carbon fabric
Chamois : Ale Men's '4H' Chamois
Seems: Comfortable seems that caused no chafing
Grippers: Leg stability system

Reasons to buy

+
Supportive 'race like' feel 
+
Very good in the heat 

Reasons to avoid

-
Cut quite short 

Black bib shorts with a white logo on the bottom of the leg

(Image credit: Tom Epton)

Cut slightly short, this offering from Ale is excellent for summer riding. They have a low cut waistband, mesh bib-straps and the material is highly breathable. The pad was comfortable on longer rides and there was no sign of wear after several weeks of washing. 

Not all cheap bib-shorts feel cheap and these certainly didn’t. The fit was supportive enough that the pad stayed in place and the grippers were functional enough that there was no sliding. A good, solid, set of shorts. These could be used for racing when paired with an aero jersey as the fit feels supportive and sporty. 

Alternatively, you could wear them with leg warmers on mild winter days. These bibs are the most expensive in our list, but seem to be a pair that are often on sale meaning you’re able to snag some for way below the listed price.



Endura shorts review

(Image credit: Endura)
Endura's workhorse bibshort

Specifications

Fabric : Ultra-fast wicking Xtract™ fabric for fast-drying performance
Chamois : 400-Series antibacterial multi-density gel pad with micro-wick technology
Seams : Seamfree inside leg
Grippers : Raw edge hem band with silicone print grippers

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely comfortable pad 
+
Good moisture wicking material 
+
9 months of the year wearability

Reasons to avoid

-
Cut slightly short on the leg

Endura shorts review

(Image credit: Grace Reynolds )

With budget bib shorts you can't expect every element to be outstanding – battles have to be picked to hit those most competitive price points. The Endura Xtract Gel II shorts focus their efforts on the chamois pad and the straps. They are described by Endura as “comfort that won’t break the bank” and I’d be inclined to agree. If

The pad, which is the most important component of a pair of ‘mileage’ shorts, far exceeds the price point. These shorts have withstood a couple of months of use with no obvious signs of wear at the seams. A solid option - made for those who ride a lot on a tight budget.

you’re a relatively tall, skinny cyclist you might find these shorts come up above the knee higher than some other pairs but it’s a minor inconvenience when considered in the context of the comfort and durability these shorts provide for the price.

One thing that is worth bearing in mind is that the grippers aren't amazing. They have a propensity to slide up your thigh during long, steady rides, which is a little frustrating and does require some periodic readjustment. That said, when paired with leg warmers, they have no trouble staying in place - so a good option for shoulder season riding. 

How we test

In addition to shorter length training rides on the indoor trainer and outdoors, each of these shorts was subjected to at least one outdoor ride of over three and a half hours. All the shorts had been put through a total of 10 wash cycles by the end of the testing period, so that their durability could be fairly compared to each other.

What to look for in budget bib shorts?

Buying bibshorts on a budget is not an easy thing to do and it’s definitely more art than science. Variations in fit preferences as well as your own personal chafe-sensitive zones will mean that some shorts will suit you better than others.

With budget bibshorts, longevity and comfort are key - we all need a pair of shorts that can withstand regular use (and washing). It’s possible that when spending less money, a slight style penalty might have to be taken. But there are cheap shorts that look good and fit well too.

The good thing is that the ‘budget bibshort’ market is a crowded and competitive one, with brands like dhb and Decathlon creating a healthily competitive market. This improvement, notable in recent years, has simultaneously raised standards and lowered prices - opening cycling up to more people! 


Are cheap bib shorts worth it?

As cyclists, we can wear through bibshorts rather quickly - especially if we're putting a lot of miles training in. On top of this, depending on the frequency of your wash cycles versus your training, you might find yourself needing a few extra shorts to tide yourself over. 

Either way, investing in a few cheaper options can really help your budget. Quality can vary widely at lower price points, so do be sure to stick to models that have been well reviewed.