Shorts vs. Bib Shorts: Choosing the Right Cycling Bottoms

Cycling shorts have come a long way in the past several decades, and these improvements have both increased comfort and decreased damage to the skin as cyclists carry on – mile after mile. Perhaps the best and most critical pieces of equipment for the cyclist are cycling bib shorts, also known as cycling bibs or cycling chamois. In this post, we’ll take a look at shorts vs. bib shorts and cover what to look for in the best cycling bottoms you can get for your money.

Shorts vs Bib Shorts

Cycling Shorts

Many cyclists, especially those who are new to the sport, choose a pair of shorts because that’s what they are familiar with. However, they’re missing out on a life-changing piece of cycling gear that could be the difference between an uncomfortable ride and one that doesn’t leave them with any chafing whatsoever.

Shorts, though logical pieces of clothing for cycling purposes, are reliant upon a waistband to hold them in place. When your comfort is dependent upon the padding in the seat of the shorts not shifting, it makes sense that you might want something a little bit more secure.

Cycling Bib Shorts

Cycling bib shorts and suits date way back to the 1890s when full cycling suits were made out of wool. That’s right – they were made from scratchy, saggy-when-wet wool. As improvements were made throughout history (adding leather cycling chamois in the 1900s, using silk in the 1950s, using lycra in the 1970s), we got closer and closer to the bib shorts we know of and love today.

True cycling bibs were invented in the 1980s and new non-leather chamois (invented around this time, as well) allowed cycling bibs to become much more popular. These modern cycling bib shorts had braces, like straps, that held the embedded cycling chamois up while the cyclist rode. 

Why Cycling Bibs Are the Best Cycling Bottoms

Unlike standard cycling shorts, bib shorts produced no movement of the garment or a need to readjust where the chamois sat. Due to the clever braces, cycling bibs do not need a tight waistband to hold them in place, eliminating pressure on the stomach for riders. The suspender-like braces, by keeping the chamois padding in place, help reduce pressure on the bones in the pelvis and friction in the groin area.

High-Quality, Comfortable, Stylish Cycling Bib Shorts

When looking for a pair of modern cycling bibs, the quality of the material and correct fit are likely two of the first considerations. A high-quality pair of bib shorts will be made from flexible lycra, like our 7CLA Light Bib Knickers in Lycra for men and our FIT - Cycling Bib Shorts for women. The bib shorts should fit tightly but not compress the stomach too much.

Plus, if you really do like the style and tummy control of shorts better, we carry those for women, too: Women's Cycling Shorts.

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