Shorts vs bibshorts: The final battle.

If you are in the market for a new pair of shorts, you may have noticed that there are two different types of shorts: regular shorts and bib shorts. 

And, either if you are new to cycling or you are a cyclist veteran, chances are you are wondering why the pros tend to use bib shorts and if it's worth the money. 

In this article, we will cover everything about both, what they have in common, and what advantages one may have over the other.

The similarities

First of all, let’s start with what they have in common, which is almost everything.

Cycling shorts are one of the most crucial piece of clothing when going on a ride. They are designed to improve efficiency and comfort, while preventing some common problems that may arise, such as chafed skin or numbness down there.

Most of the times, they are made of spandex and come with a synthetic chamois, which is designed to:

  • Reduce wind resistance and improve aerodynamics.
  • Prevent the friction that causes chafed skin. 
  • Absorb and evaporate the sweat, just like jerseys. 
  • Help with muscle fatigue with its tightness Improve overall comfort with extra padding, which is called cycling pad. 

The pattern padding for woman shorts can be different than the ones for men shorts.

Another cool feature is that, in each leg, the hem is aligned with an elastic or silicone "gripper". Its job is to keep the shorts in a fixed position, preventing them from slipping.

To summarize, both are tight and made out of a breathable fabric, such as lycra, with a special padding to increase comfort in long rides and prevent problems such as saddle sores.

Now that we know what they have in common, let's see how are bib shorts different and if they are any better.

No waistband = no pressure

Since there is no waistband, you won't have an itchy elastic pressuring your abdomen.

This is great because you won't feel any restriction in your blood flow and oxygen intake when you breath (cyclist breath, a lot).

This will make you feel more productive and comfortable, especially over long rides. And remember that in cycling, more comfort means longer rides.

Another disadvantage of the traditional drawstring waistband is that it tends to collect and retain moisture, which, added to the friction that is also generated, it's the perfect combination to end up with chafed skin.

The chamois will stay in place

Bib shorts were originally designed because regular shorts tend to slip down eventually, especially in long rides.

This means the chamois will also shift, and prevent it from fulfilling its function as they have a specific form factor to be the connection between you and your saddle.

Having the chamois in place will prevent common problems such as chafed skin and saddle sores, and bib shorts are specially designed for that.

Bib straps are more comfortable overall

As we mentioned earlier in this article, the suspenders are made of lightweight breathable mesh or lycra.

The biggest benefit of these straps is that they hold the short in place without creating pressure points in the body, as the pressure is distributed in a larger area.

When you are in a cycling position, you won't feel any tugging, binding or chaffing. It's the perfect amount of fabric and the perfect pressure distribution.

In the case of woman bib shorts, some have a central strap in order not to put too much pressure on the boobs and increase overall performance. Anyhow, there are a lot of women who use regular bib shorts as well.

They keep you warmer

Every piece of cycling clothing is designed to fit well and be comfortable while you are in a riding position, and not standing up.

With jerseys is no different, that is why well-designed jerseys tend to be larger at the back and shorter at the front, to prevent fabric bunching. In taller riders, your belly might be exposed when you are not sitting in the bike.

 But with bib shorts, the transition between the shorts and the jersey is seamless all the time.

While you are riding, there is less of a breeze which is great for keeping you warmer. Also, as these shorts are cut higher, you won't be showing a plumber's crack to the people behind you.


To sum up, whether you were looking to buy a new pair of shorts or just curious about why the pros use bib shorts, in this article, we shared with you the top benefits of bib shorts:

  • As they have no waistband, they won’t itch nor pressure your abdomen, preventing discomfort and chaffed skin.
  • The chamois will stay in place.
  • The bibs straps are more comfortable, as they spread the pressure over a larger area.
  • They will keep you warmer and prevent you from showing skin.

So, if you ask SNT, you should go with bib shorts all the way, even if they are a little bit pricer, they will make a huge difference in comfort and performance.

Most of the cyclist that go from regular to bib shorts say they have no intention going back.

And you, have you tried bib shorts already?


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