What’s the Bib Deal? Suspenders v. Regular Bike Shorts

A bike friend had some bib shorts he was no longer using and generously offered them to me.  (I trust he washed them first.)  I was skeptical, because well, bib sounds like something a baby wears.  But he swore by them, so I figured I’d give them a try.  For the beginning cyclist or experienced one who’s not tried them, here’s what happened.

The Product

I was due for a 25-mile ride and decided I’d wear them instead of my usual shorts.  The first thing to know about bib shorts is that they have suspenders and extra material around the waist.  This prevents the jersey from riding up and exposing your skin to the elements, or the road should you fall, and may make for a more comfortable fit.


The brand I had is Bontrager, a well-known company that makes apparel, apparently owned by Trek.  Here’s a link to their store.  Trying them on was a little different; you have to step into them and get the suspenders on correctly.  The last thing you want on a long bike ride is a fashion incident, aka chafing.  As my friend said, they “lock everything in place nice and tight.”  I can confirm that to be the case.  They fit snugly.

This blog post is a good summary of the points about bib shorts I found on the Pactimo website.  It is a Colorado company that makes high-quality bib shorts and other cycling gear.  (I am not being compensated for this mention, but hey, Pactimo and Bonaventure, make me an offer I can’t refuse!)

The Test

For me, the first issue was heat.  Because it’s summer in Austin, Texas (well, and everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere of Planet Earth), the additional material made me noticeably warmer.  So any additional clothing is notiecable.  It is designed to be evaporative though, and since it was a night ride, it wasn’t too bad.  Still, it gave me pause.

Stats of my ride testing out the bib shorts on Strava.

The next concern was the padding.  The particular pair I tried did not have a great chamois pad, although it held up better than expected for this fathlete over 25 miles.  If I were to go on a longer ride, there might be issues.  I’m sure there are stiffer and denser foam pads, though.  And A Dude cannot complain about a donation!

The Verdict

Overall, I could see the benefit of not having to adjust one’s shorts or worry about exposure.  It wasn’t love at first fit, however.  So for me the jury’s out.  Come fall with a sturdier bottom, I may have to give them a go.  If you haven’t tried out bib shorts, I would recommend giving them a go.  You mileage may literally vary.

Thanks again to my bike friend for the donation, and to you for reading.  Let me know your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!



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12 thoughts on “What’s the Bib Deal? Suspenders v. Regular Bike Shorts

  1. Dude! I didn’t realize these are your first pair of bibs! Bibs are the shit! So comfortable and amazing! I have three pairs, but one is too tight and won’t fit until I lose around 20 lbs. Of the other two, one is old and near the end of its life. And the last one other is a perfect fit and my favorite! I really need to get back to riding! It’s just so hot these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sold on the bibs and I think I need a bigger size. Morning and evenings are pleasant. With pre- hydration and nourishment, of course during and after too,, acclimation and measuring your effort, it can be done safely. Ser my blog on summer heat.

      Nothing says you have to ride for five hours. One hour of exercise a day is enough to maintain weight. Since you have a gym membership, you can cycle anytime, no excuses. Crank up the tunes with earphones or with your new bluetooth device outside (safely). Do or do not, there is no try. Don’t overthink, if you want to ride, ride. If not, don’t. If so, a few times per week fiyr one hour on non-basketball days would be good for you. Make a goal and stick to it. Like training for the Livestrong or Mamma Jamma. Less Facebook and bad news, and more Saurabh doing some sick cycling! Read my blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for more inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude,
    I’ve often told myself that when the day comes I have to give up running, I’ll start biking. Of course, I would have to get in “biking shape” because it really kicks my butt whenever I bike!

    Props to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See I want to go o. The other direction but I think that running is bad for your joints even if you don’t have lots of extra pounds. Enjoy first, sweat second, and never grind, spin in the easiest gear on hills. Or a lid them u til you’re ready and build up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dude,
        Running isn’t great on the joints, but I’ve somehow navigated from bad knees to strong ones by keeping at it. I do believe that in my case, I’ve strengthened the ligaments by being consistent with my running.
        Now, this isn’t to say I won’t suffer the ill effects of running some day, but in the now, I’m good. Knock on wood and all that.
        My cyclist friends LOVE the sport, so I am definitely intrigued.

        Liked by 2 people

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