What to look for when buying bib shorts - Look for a well thought out bib short that has a simple construction, well-judged chamois pad design with a fit that has no bunching or distracting edges. The legs should be comfortable and the straps not binding in any way. The bibshort should feel invisible like a second skin. The straps are an integrated part of the garment and are not removable.There is no waistband, but straps instead. All waist elastic is removed on this garment making a stretchy, comfortable waist without thick elastic cutting into your abdomen. You can get unrestricted blood flow and oxygen intake through deep diaphragmatic breathing without elastic restriction. The comfort kicks in as you spend hours on the bicycle saddle, especially over long distances. Bib shorts will leave you feeling completely elastic free and comfortable without anything across the stomach. Most cyclists who have converted to bibs have also said they’d never go back to regular bike shorts.
Historically, men's bib shorts have been around since the beginning of cycling apparel and is one of the first cycling garments. As you may know, the first known bike shorts were made from knitted wool with a leather (chamois) sewn into the crotch area to cover the seams and protect the legs from abrasion. The old wool shorts would stretch out and become baggy with use, so they were often held up with suspenders or elastic straps. The racers in United Kingdom called them braces and in the United States, they were called suspenders. These old wool shorts would get heavy and hot in the heat and sweat of summer weather. The wool suspender shorts have evolved over many years to become the garment of choice for today's avid cyclists - especially bike racers. Bib Shorts have a variety of terms associated with the garment such as knicks, bibs, bibshorts, spats and suspender shorts. The garment is designed to improve comfort while cycling. Modern bib short designers have presented a host of innovations since the first few classic six-panel black shorts with elastic grippers. Many of today's bibshorts have offerings have specific fabric specifications combined and placed different areas for compression, wicking moisture, cooling and air flow or specially designed chamois pads that are focused on "road" or "cyclo-cross" or Mountain biking. A well-fitting pair of men's bib shorts can keep you comfortable, and prevent soreness - however long you ride.
There are many types of bib shorts on the market today, they range from entry-level budget type bibs to some others that have lots of extras that may or may not add value for you as a consumer. The bottom line is, you generally get what you pay for, and if you ride regularly, bib shorts can provide priceless comfort once you get past the 50 mile mark.
Why are bibshorts always black? The typical color of bibshorts is black because it can hide the black grease stains that originate in the bicycle chain. A cyclist can wipe their grease off their hands onto the black short after a dropped chain or flat repair.
Most cyclists start out with a pair of padded bike shorts, so making the switch to bibs is a big change for many new bicycle riders. Even experienced bicycle riders with years of experience lots of experience in the saddle reluctant to give bibs a try. The BibShort has the stigma of a leotard or wrestling singlet look . For some, it's intimidating to imagine themselves wearing the skin tight garment that fits so tight to the skin This is overcome quickly once a rider steps up to the plate on switching to a bib short.
We highly recommend the use and frequent application of an anti-chafe cream for long distance rides. Put the cream on your skin, between your legs and all over the chamois pad. Squeeze a generous portion of the cream on the pad and rub it all over the pad. The lubricant on the pad and your skin will prevent hot spots from abrasion. On long bicycle tours or long daily distances, this cream application may be essential to enhance riding comfort.
- Many people ask about going to the bathroom wearing bibs. The consensus of riders are that you either release the shoulder straps and then pull the front down to get access. The other method is to pull up the pant legs to access the point of relief. Typically you might need to take off the jersey to remove the straps and get the pants down for full access to use the toilet.
The Chamois pad must be thick enough on the key bones, dense enough for long rides, the right size to protect from chafe, and sewn in the right position to maintain a level of comfort, for the longer rides that stretch to the 8-hour range. When cycling, it can take as little as 15 minutes in the saddle to get that "pain in the butt" feeling from the ischium to the perineum, which isn't a very good feeling. Anti-Chafe Chamois Pad - Get the most out of your bib shorts with a well designed chamois pad that prevents chafe between the legs and cushions the ischial bones. The chamois padding is specifically designed to protect the ischium (sit bones) and the perineum (soft tissue area) on your underside. These areas are gender specific, so you will see pads are specific to men or to women. Men's pads have a line through the center of the pad for the perineum area to sink into. You will want to make sure your pad matches your anatomical needs and where you carry your weight on the bicycle saddle.
Density - To improve comfort during long rides, chamois pads have highly engineered densities and layers with extra padding in the seat area. One of the most important parts of a pair of shorts, the pad (originally made of chamois leather aka "chamois pads" ) gives an extra layer comfort between you and the bike saddle. A good pad is essential for long distance comfort. Additionally, pad placement matters, this is where the chamois sits within the garment and beneath the "sit" bones of your butt. The chamois is the padding of the design that provides added protection between the saddle and you. Chamois technology has come a long way in both ergonomics as well as materials.
Pad Placement - is essential because a cyclist is often changing their position on the saddle depending on the riding terrain and ride duration. You want a bib short that protects all of the core target areas from chafe. With the constant adjustment, you want a pad that cushions without the diaper effect that may snag the saddle when moving up and out of the saddle. The ideal pad has an overall thickness with a very thin pad on the inside of the legs. The density and type of foam are a major factor in determining comfort and how well the pad will functions for your intended use. Most pads in bibshorts are tested and proven for their performance on the bicycle
- Bibshorts have a wicking fabric or mesh on the straps and upper body to help draw sweat and perspiration away from the body. Most upper body fabrics are an open weave to ensure air flow, moisture transportation and cooling effects. Bib straps need to be stretchy and fit properly, which is essential to hold the shorts up without causing a wedgie. The straps often have a light elastic and are wider across the shoulder to spread the pressure more evenly. Often the straps are a mesh fabric like polyester/Lycra to wick the moisture and create cooling effect under the jersey. Breathability is important in bib shorts. The more breathable your shorts are, the more comfortable you will be on long, hot rides. Perspiration and sweat moisture must have an exit route to evaporate. Cycling is amazingly efficient at this due to the amount of airflow generated at speeds of 10 to 25mph, however you must be wearing breathable clothing like a cycling jersey in order for this process to work. With the right shorts or bibs, you will feel dry and cool. If your garments feel wet and soggy, then you need to seek out polyester type garments that wick perspiration away from you skin into the surface for evaporation. Breathability also regulates temperature, which can be a major factor when you are trying to build strength and endurance. A few degrees difference in temperature changes the efficiency of your aerobic system - running too warm decreases the efficiency. For long duration in the saddle, you want a bib short that will allow airflow to keep you cool. Most all bib shorts are made with synthetic materials like nylon and polyester which are known for their stretch and breathability features. There are many highly technical materials being used in bib shorts but most all have features like breathability, stretch and abrasion resistance.
- The hem of each leg is usually lined with some type of gripper elastic or a silicone film that helps the leg hems cling to the skin, keeping the legs down, in a fixed position that doesn't ride up with the movement of leg muscles. Leg grippers and Leg cuffs are a key part of comfortable bib shorts. Leg grippers: All bib shorts have some form of leg gripper or leg cuff to stop them riding up as you pedal in a circular motion. The leg hems can vary from a simple double layered, sewn hem to a specific extra stretchy panel that has a coating of silicone. Slightly tacky silicone patches are a common feature on the hems of men's bib shorts.
- Bibs promote compression with it's use of spandex and rugged nylon stretch fabrics. The compression helps to massage the muscles during exercise which helps reduce muscle fatigue. It has been proven that the snug compression helps speed up blood flow back to the heart, readily supplying working muscles with fresh oxygenated blood. The compression also helps to reduce
Men's Padded Bike Shorts need to be laundered each use. The best way care for road shorts is to machine wash and air dry. We recommend machine washing to remove all of the sweat and bacteria from the chamois pad. The goal of clean shorts is to prevent the buildup of bacteria on the chamois pad, which can lead to saddle sores. Saddle sores are a cyclists worst enemy. Air drying the spandex shorts helps the rubber spandex fibers to last longer without drying out.