visual comparison of bib vs shorts

What’s so great about cycling bibs?

If you’re on the fence about buying a cycling bib, this article will help. Cycling bibs are “onesies” that connect upper straps to cycling bottoms (cycling shorts / tights / pants), usually with a built-in chamois.

Should you buy a bib? Depending on your body type, the answer may be 100% yes.

Short Answer:

If you carry weight in your middle … OR … If you ever find cycling waistbands uncomfortable, you WILL find a cycling bib much more comfortable than regular cycling shorts or cycling tights. Period. Buy one! Do it! You will not regret it. Stop reading. Seriously.

side comparison of bib vs shorts
Side view – big difference. You can see why I only wear bibs now.

Longer Answer ( if the short answer didn’t quite do it for you…):

Pros of Cycling Bibs

  • Bibs are super comfortable on your tummy. There’s no waistband to constrict your stomach in a bib. Bibs offer a smooth, stretchy layer that doesn’t pinch your abdomen, even when you ride folded forward for hours. All bibs meet this criteria. Regardless of your body type or BMI, many cyclists find bibs to be the most comfortable bottom layer for cycling. There’s enough else that can hurt on a bike (your body, lungs, booty, pride …) that this is just one less thing to deal with. Choice of style, brand, and chamois will still come down to your individual preferences.
  • Bibs are the best bottom layer for certain body types. If you carry weight in your middle — as most men, and some women like me do — bibs are much more accommodating than separate cycling bottoms. No bulges. No discomfort. No elastic waistband.
  • Bibs offer built-in smoothing. Bibs are basically spanx – they are built-in shapewear. They go a long way to making absurdly tight (ahem, aerodynamic) cycling clothing look more pleasing to the eye. And they can make you feel much less self-conscious.

Cons of Bibs

  • Bibs cost more than individual cycling shorts, tights, and bottoms.
  • Bibs offer far fewer fashion options than separates – 99% of them are your basic black. This is a serious bummer when you want to look styley.
  • Most bibs don’t give easy access to go to the bathroom without taking off extra clothing. This is unbelievably baffling to me. WHY MUST WE SUFFER??? You can find models with “easy” nature break access (zippers, clasps, hatches…) – it just takes some extra effort while shopping – it’s worth it in my opinion though.

Bib or not, hope to see you out there! Follow me and say hi on Strava and Instagram!

Valerie Lanard

I am a fitness buff, engineering leader, and wearables lover. This blog originally started as part of my now-defunct fitness video startup, Gigabody. It has evolved to encompass my writing on tech and work culture as well. Find me on a bike, on a hike, in a skort, or near a usb port.

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