I've tested over 30 bib shorts - and two of my favorites are currently on huge Black Friday sales

The bib shorts I used to cycle over the High Atlas mountains of Morocco and the Cambrian mountain of Wales are on sale right now

Stefan cycling in Wales and Morocco
(Image credit: Anna Abram)

Having tested several dozen bib shorts over the years, I can tell you that there are a great many ways of getting this garment wrong. Whether it's leg grippers that are too tight, seams in the wrong place, insufficiently cushioning chamois - insufficiently breathable fabrics - bib straps that are either too tight, too narrow or not stretchy enough, or are equally flawed at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Of course, that's not an exhaustive list - and I'll never presume that I won't be surprised by the new and inventive ways brands can end up missing the mark. But on the flipside, when a pair of the best bibs shorts do clear the bar, I am proportionality appreciative. 

And when a quality pair of bib shorts does get combined with a hefty discount, well, that is something worth shouting about. As it happens, the bibs I used for cycling 100 miles across the mountains of deepest darkest Wales - and the set I used for cycling across the High Atlas mountains in Morocco - are both currently on such a sale. 

Pearl Izumi Attack bib shorts

Male cyclist wearing the Pearl Izumi Attack Bib Shorts whilst cycling on the Trans Cambrian Way

(Image credit: Future)
USA: was $100.00

Pearl Izumi Attack Bib Shorts - Men's

USA: was $100.00, now $60.00 at Competitive Cyclist

UK: was £95.65, now £47.83 at Pearl Izumi

I think these shorts are some of the best value bibs out there. Sure, they don't boast the most exclusive of fabrics, but the comfort they provide for the price is really very impressive. Pearl Izumi has nailed the fit and the breathability is great.

USA: was $99.99

Pearl Izumi Attack Bib Shorts - Women's 

USA: was $99.99, now $74.95 at Mike's Bikes

UK: was £95.65, now £47.83 at Pearl Izumi

I can't comment on the cut and the comfort of the chamois in these shorts - nor drop-trail easy-pee system, aside from the fact it has one. But the same 'Transfer' fabric is used across both the men's and the women's shorts, and at this price point it gave a very impressive combination of support and compression.

The list price of Pearl Izumi's Attack bib shorts is around the mid-range point. Or, in the context of bib shorts which have the requisite performance and comfort for all-day rides, they are one of the very cheapest shorts that is actually up to the task.

Using these shorts for a bikepacking trip across the Cambrian mountain of central Wales, I can fully attest to the long distance comfort of both the chamois and the fabrics. These are, quite simply, a very impressive set of bibs for the price.

But, being entry level, there are naturally a few downsides. The bib straps don't distribute their pressure quite as well as some top-end models. Although the chamois was comfortable, there are comfier chamois's out there - particularly those spec'd in Swiss brand Assos' shorts. And the fabric, though breathable and wicking, isn't as light nor as luxurious to the touch as some top-end bib shorts.

But then again, those shorts can be as much as three times the price - six times at this current discount! Though there are higher-end shorts out there, these bibs are hard to match for value - competing directly with dhb, Endura and Rapha's more budget-oriented options.

7mesh Industries MK3 Cargo Bib Short

Male cyclist wearing the 7mesh Mk3 Cargo Bib Shorts in Morocco

(Image credit: Anna Abram)
USA: was $229.95

7mesh MK3 Cargo Bib Short - Men's

USA: was $229.95, now $183.96 at Backcountry

UK: was £175.30, now £141.99 at BikeInn

You'll notice that the fabric panels of these shorts are quite differently arranged to most bib shorts you'll see. I found the fit and the location of the seams to be absolutely spot on - and the Elastic Interface chamois proved its worth across the High Atlas mountains.

USA: was $229.95

7mesh WK3 Cargo Bib Short - Women's

USA: was $229.95, now $183.96 at Backcountry

UK: was £200.00, now £100.00 at Sigma Sports

Again, there's not much I can say regarding the fit or the easy-pee system - but the construction of the pockets looks quite similar to the men's. Those pockets have proved secure across my rides, and the lack of a top fabric flap does make access a little quicker and easier. However, I do much prefer designs with that flap when it comes to storing my phone on technical descents.

Quite amusingly, my ride across the Atlas mountains of Morocco presented much harsher, colder and wetter conditions than my ride across Wales - which was actually  turned out to be hot and dry!

It's not too much of a surprise: Wales isn't completely impervious to summer, and traversing a mountain range which reaches over 4,000 meters in the middle of February means that snow is very much on the cards. The high point I reached was 2,500 meters, starting from a height of about 400 meters.

So whilst I wasn't pushing the boundaries of their breathability, the long days in the saddle slogging up mountain roads did present its own challenges. The stretchy straps, comfy fabrics and the storage space for various layers as I crested and descended the rolling terrain really proved its worth. 

These are amongst the most expensive cargo bib shorts out there, but the quality and performance means that you won't be disappointed with the investment. You can read more about the shorts in our guide to the best gravel clothing over here. For more of the best discounts we've found in the run up to Black Friday, you can find our Black Friday clothing deals page here, and our main Black Friday bike deals hub page with all of the best discounts from across the web over here. 

Stefan Abram
Tech features editor

After winning the 2019 National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Biking Championships and claiming the plushie unicorn (true story), Stefan swapped the flat-bars for drop-bars and has never looked back. 

Since then, he’s earnt his 2ⁿᵈ cat racing licence in his first season racing as a third, completed the South Downs Double in under 20 hours and Everested in under 12.

But his favourite rides are multiday bikepacking trips, with all the huge amount of cycling tech and long days spent exploring new roads and trails - as well as histories and cultures. Most recently, he’s spent two weeks riding from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia

Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg