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Best bib shorts 2021 | 21 of the best cycling shorts for men tried and tested

We test 21 bib shorts that should keep you pedalling in style and comfort this summer

Bib straps on bib shorts

These are the best men’s bib shorts for cycling, as tried and tested by the expert reviewers at BikeRadar.  

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Finding the best bike saddle for you, with the right shape and padding, is essential for staying comfortable on the bike – but choosing the best cycling shorts for your needs is also important.

Of all the contact points on your bike, the saddle-to-posterior interface is the one that has to bear the majority of your body weight for the majority of the time. As a result, padded road cycling shorts are an essential if you’re spending serious time in the saddle.

Prices range from around £25 for the cheapest options, up to almost £250 for the most expensive.

As you might expect, there are more duds than bargains at the lower end, but if you shop carefully and pay attention to independent reviews, finding good padded cycling shorts needn’t cost the earth.

What to look for when buying bib shorts

The most important things to look for in a set of bib shorts for summer cycling are:

  • Lightweight fabrics
  • Comfortable chamois pad
  • Supportive bib straps
  • Leg grippers

Let’s take a quick look at each before getting on to our pick of the best cycling shorts. For more advice on the key features to look out for, we’ve got a full buyer’s guide towards the end of this article.

Lightweight fabrics

Summer cycling shorts use lightweight, stretchy and breathable fabrics, and are typically constructed from multiple panels to provide a comfortable, anatomical fit.

These are neatly stitched together with thoughtfully located flatlock seams to provide maximum comfort while offering support. Your shorts should feel skintight and supportive, without causing any discomfort.

Chamois pad

Chamois pad on bib shorts
A good quality chamois pad is key to comfort.
David Caudrey / Immediate Media

Padded cycling shorts will feature a chamois stitched inside the shorts to provide relief and comfort around the sit bones.

Not all pads are created equal and finding a design that works for you is crucial to long-term comfort.

Once again, the fit should be snug to avoid chafing, while a breathable pad will help keep things good downstairs.

Most pads vary the density and thickness of padding through the chamois to provide support where it’s needed most, while some use gel inserts in a bid to improve comfort.

Comfortable bib straps

Bib straps are designed to help keep your bib shorts in place, without the need for an uncomfortably tight waistband.

The stretchy straps need to be tight enough to hold your shorts in place securely, but not be so tight that they make putting the shorts on difficult or uncomfortable.

If possible, we’d recommend trying shorts on for size before you make a purchase.

Leg grippers

Leg grippers on bib shorts
Leg grippers are designed to stop the shorts riding up.
David Caudrey / Immediate Media

Leg grippers help keep the ends of the shorts in place while pedalling, ideally providing a secure fit without causing discomfort.

There are a number of ways to achieve this, from a simple silicone strip or elasticated band on more affordable shorts to a laser-cut hem backed with a sticky fabric on high-end shorts.

Read to the end for our full buyer’s guide to cycling shorts.

The best cycling bib shorts in 2021

Here are 21 of the best cycling bib shorts for men in 2021, as rated and reviewed by BikeRadar.

  • Assos Mille GT Summer Bib Shorts GTS: £165 / $230 / AU$330 / €190
  • Endura FS260-Pro SL II Long Leg Bib Shorts: £120
  • Giordana FR-C Pro Bib Shorts: £100
  • Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts: £110 / $150 / AU$195 / €135
  • 7Mesh MK3 Bib Shorts: £150 / $200 / €175
  • Assos Equipe RS Bib Shorts S9: £175 / $260 / AU$370 / €200
  • Assos T.Equipe Evo Bib Shorts: £150
  • Castelli Free Aero Race 4 Kit Bib Shorts: £150 / $200 / €170
  • Decathlon Triban RC 100 Bib Shorts: £25 / $40
  • dhb Aeron Bib Shorts: £80 / $106 / AU$145 / €90 
  • Endura FS260-Pro Bib Shorts: £85
  • Endura Pro SL Bib Shorts: £120 / $195 / €140
  • Le Col Pro Bib Shorts: £160 / $230 / AU$300 / EU€190
  • Lusso Carbon v2 Bib Shorts: £95 / $132 / AU$170 / €110 
  • Sportful Total Comfort Bib Shorts: £130
  • Alé PRR Green Bib Shorts: £145 / $175 / AU$220 / €145
  • Altura Race Bib Shorts: £89 / €100
  • Castelli Endurance 3 Bib Shorts: £130 / $160 / AU$200 / €130
  • Fizik Link R3 Snake Bib Shorts: £165
  • Pearl Izumi Interval Bib Shorts: £150 / $150 / AU£$279.95 
  • Q36.5 Salopette Dottore L1 Bib Shorts: £247 / €246

Assos Mille GT Summer Bib Shorts GTS

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Assos MILLE GT Summer Bib Shorts GTS for road cycling
The superlative MILLE GT bibs are aimed at the racer who demands top performance for long days in the saddle.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £165 / $230 / AU$330 / €190 as tested

The Assos Mille GT Summer GTS Bib Shorts are the second generation of the premium Mille shorts, aimed at rider’s who demand top performance for long days out.

The bib shorts have an all-new design that makes them suitable for wearing in the heat of summer. The legs use the lightweight, thin and mildly compressive Ossidia fabric, and the Xbib straps minimise bulk underneath your jersey helping more heat to escape.

Assos has used its c2 GTS summer seat pad in the shorts, which has a double layer memory foam construction with a honeycomb-style top layer. The pad is slightly wider than others and proves comfortable even on five-hour rides.

These are high-performing shorts that are totally comfortable too, and some of the best warm-weather shorts BikeRadar has tested, with only the price being a drawback.

Endura FS260-Pro SL II Long Leg Bib Shorts

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bib shorts
The long leg version of these shorts is ideal for taller riders.
  • Sizes: S–XXXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £120 as tested

The Endura FS260-Pro SL II Bib Shorts come with three different seat pad widths, so you can match them to your pelvis or saddle choice.

The pad has been tried and tested by Team Movistar and has an anti-bacterial treatment.

Endura has made sure these shorts are comfortable and will perform well in the sun. The Lycra is supportive and has a UPF50 treatment. The airy uppers and wide straps keep things comfortable and cool.

The shorts have a laser-cut pocket for any essentials or gels.

These shorts come in two lengths. These are the longer leg versions, which are ideal for taller riders or for those looking for some extra coverage.

Giordana FR-C Pro Bib Shorts

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bib shorts
Giordana provides some of the best value high-performance bibs.
  • Sizes: S–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Red, Black/Yellow
  • Price: £100 as tested

The Giordana FR-C Pro Bib Shorts offer a superb fit and great value for money.

The Italian-made shorts have Lycra panels that provide compression, which offers muscle support and reduces fatigue by increasing blood flow.

Generous 7.5cm silicone leg grippers hold the shorts in place and the legs sit nicely. Anti-abrasion Lycra is used on the inside to help increase the longevity of the shorts.

Inside, a multi-layer Cirro OmniForm seat pad sits comfortably, even over long distances.

Combined with good looks, these durable bib shorts are worth every penny.

Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts for road cycling
Rapha’s Core Cargo Bib Shorts have mesh pockets on the thighs.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Navy/White
  • Price: £110 / $150 / AU$195 / €135 as tested

The Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts do everything well without costing a fortune. They are the lower price-point version of the Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts and share many of the same details but, as expected, forgo some premium features.

The main difference is that the Core Cargo shorts aren’t water-resistant. But similarly, they do have large mesh pockets on the thighs making them suitable for gravel or endurance riding.

The shorts perform much like many more high-end bib shorts. Rapha uses a compression-free, dense-knit fabric for the legs which were a perfect length and the high-stretch upper bib straps never got too hot in testing.

The Rapha Classic seat pad looks basic but provides excellent cushioning and dries out quickly.

For women riders, Rapha has its Core Cargo Shorts.

7Mesh MK3 Bib Shorts

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Man wears 7Mesh MK3 padded cycling short
There’s a very simple logo on the bottom of the right leg – the only indication they’re 7Mesh shorts.
Harriet Allen
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £150 / $200 / €175 as tested

Designed for long distances, the 7Mesh MK3 Bib Shorts don’t disappoint. Delivering exceptional comfort, they led us to ask whether they are the perfect set of cycling shorts.

7Mesh has made these shorts from Miti Gravity Interpower, which is 38 per cent elastane and 62 per cent warp knit nylon. The result is a fabric that is super-soft against the skin and is slightly compressive, aiding blood flow and reducing fatigue in the legs as a result.

The seat pad uses a high-density foam that has been designed to reduce numbness in the perineum area, and almost completely eliminates any unwanted pressure.

Up top, the shoulder straps aren’t excessively tight, giving you room to move, but they still hold the shorts perfectly in place. They are also thin enough to let any heat dissipate.

Overall, if you’re looking for a sleek set of shorts with superb comfort and excellent quality, you can’t go wrong with these bibs.

Assos Equipe RS Bib Shorts S9

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Assos Equipe RS Bib Shorts S9 for road cycling
One of the best fitting shorts and worth the outlay.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/White, Black/Red, Black/Green
  • Price: £175 / $260 / AU$370 / €200 as tested

Assos combines a minimalist approach with technology in these lightweight bibs. With just two panels this keeps seams to a minimum.

A thin, buttery-smooth, 40-gauge fabric hugs the legs offering light compression and good support. Extra material up front provides added comfort for man bits.

The bib system sees the rear straps attach lower down the back to hold the seat pad in position. This works well at stabilising, even when getting out of the saddle.

The three-layer perforated waffle foam S9 pad has a micro-shock core and soaks up vibrations admirably. It’s not stitched at the sides, allowing it to float and sit with your body for a great riding feel.

One of the best fitting shorts and worth the outlay.

Assos T.Equipe Evo Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Best bib shorts
Assos bibs aren’t cheap, but they give great fit and performance.
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Grey, Black/Red, Black/White
  • Price: £150 as tested

The Assos T.Equipe Evo Bib Shorts are comfortable as soon as you put them on. Smooth Lycra panels, wide bib straps and elastic leg grippers help the shorts feel good even before you start riding.

The Equipe Evo S7 8mm memory foam seat pad is aimed at racers. It looks simplistic when compared to many, but works well thanks to its “floating” design that moves with you.

This movement isn’t noticeable when pedalling and paired with the memory foam it makes for a comfortable ride.

These are Assos’s mid-range summer shorts and, for many riders, they would frankly make paying double for its top shorts hard to justify.

Castelli Free Aero Race 4 Kit Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Castelli Free Aero Race 4 Kit Bib shorts for road cycling
The neat-looking striped mesh bibs breathe well but these aren’t as wide as some.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Red, Black/Vortex Grey, Grey, Dark Steel Blue
  • Price: £150 / $200 / €170 as tested

Developed in conjunction with Team Ineos (now Team Ineos Grenadiers), these race bibs offer all-day comfort while remaining light.

The new seamless Progetto X2 Air Seamless seat pad has a soft, stretchy layer that sits separate from the padding. This allows it to move naturally while the pad moulds to the saddle.

The outer layer is dimpled to reduce skin contact and helps with wicking. It looks crude but it works brilliantly.

On the legs, Castelli combines dimpled aerodynamic fabric on the front for efficiency while smooth stretchy Lycra on the rear helps with the fit. It feels supportive but not overly tight and the new wide-leg grippers work well without any restriction.

The neat-looking striped mesh bibs breathe well but these aren’t as wide as some.

Castelli offers a women’s version priced at £150 / $200 / €160.

Decathlon Triban RC 100 Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
B’Twin Triban RC 100 Bib Shorts for road cycling
Mesh upper bibs do a solid job of keeping everything in place while helping to keep you cool.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Colours: Black, Navy
  • Price: £25 / $40 as tested

These might be budget-priced shorts, but the neat panelled design gives them a look of something more expensive. A matching jersey is also available.

The fit is impressive and tight enough around the legs to provide good muscle support without feeling overly compressive.

The legs sit in place thanks to the overall fit and wide bands that stop them riding up. Mesh upper bibs do a solid job of keeping everything in place while helping to keep you cool.

These are less stretchy than some, but fortunately the shoulder sections offer more give.

Inside, the pad performs better than expected at this price. It’s well-sized, uses a variety of thicknesses of padding and is perfectly located to soak up road feedback. There are also air channels to stop things getting overly sweaty.

Decathlon also has well-priced bib shorts for female riders under £40.

dhb Aeron Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
dhb Aeron Bib Shorts for road cycling
The Aeron shorts are a great pair of bibs made from sustainably produced Italian performance fabrics.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Blue, Black/Red, Black/White, Navy
  • Price: £80 / $106 / AU$145 / €90 as tested

Over the years, the dhb Aeron Bib Shorts have evolved into an all-round set of cycling shorts that perform well for virtually all pedalling duties.

The Aerons are made from two sustainably sourced fabrics. One is stretchy and offers light compression and the other is made for maximum moisture transfer. The multipanel design works well. The fabrics aren’t as thin as others, but the shorts never felt too warm.

5cm-deep leg bands with a folded hem and updated silicone grippers work perfectly, and on the top, the bib straps hold everything in place while keeping you cool.

Inside, dhb has used its Paris HP seat pad is claimed to keep you comfortable for up to seven hours in the saddle. Optimised for riding on the hoods it will suit commuters or long-distance riders.

The overall fit and performance of the dhb Aeron Bib Shorts make them great value for money. There is a women’s-specific version too.

Endura FS260-Pro Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Endura FS260-Pro Bib Short for road cycling
The FS260-Pros are the Scottish brand’s best-selling bibs.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Fluro, Black/Red, Black/Rust Red, Black/White, Navy
  • Price: £85 as tested

Endura’s FS260-Pro Bib Shorts are now in their third generation and offer quality and comfort.

Made from a supportive Italian Lycra, the shorts have a curved race fit designed to be comfortable across riding styles. The fabric has decent breathability and in tandem with the mesh upper, the shorts don’t leave you feeling sweaty.

The 600 Series seat pad has enough stretch to conform to your body shape and, considering the price of these shorts, is superb value for money. It provides excellent cushioning around the sit bone thanks to gel inserts.

Endura has added some great features to these bib shorts. They have reflective detailing and the ‘power bands’ work well to hold them in place.

These shorts don’t quite match the very best bib shorts on the market, but at this price there isn’t much to fault.

Endura Pro SL Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Endura Pro SL Bib shorts for road cycling
A Coldblack coating reduces heat build-up and there’s UPF50 sun protection.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £120 / $195 / €140 as tested

Endura’s Pro SL bibs also get an update but keep many of their top features, including the option of three pad widths and two leg lengths.

The continuously variable profile 700-series pad matches sit bones perfectly to deliver pain-free pedalling even on the longest days.

Endura uses Italian Lycra and the legs feature wide raw-edge grippers with an inner silicone print. The legs sit pretty for a supportive, yet restriction-free ride.

A Coldblack coating reduces heat build-up and there’s UPF50 sun protection. What’s completely new, and a feature we appreciated on long days, is the lumbar support panel that hugs the lower back and sides. This takes the pressure off the wide shoulder straps to the point that you hardly notice they’re there.

The best of the old and some new features have made the Pro SL kit even better.

The women’s version is available with a narrow, medium or wide chamois pad.

Le Col Pro Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Le Col Pro Bib Shorts for road cycling
The Le Col Pro Bib Shorts are a hardwearing set of bibs suitable for long training rides and racing.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/White, Black/Navy
  • Price: £160 / $230 / AU$300 / €190 as tested

The latest iteration of the Le Col Pro Bib Shorts are a hardwearing set of race bibs that work across temperatures and feel comfortable as soon as you put them on.

For these shorts, Le Col has chosen its Lycra Sport fabric which is designed to offer enough support for long training rides while remaining highly breathable. It provides enough compression to keep the shorts in place and means the straps aren’t pulling the pad up into you.

In keeping with the racing emphasis, the Pro Dolomiti chamois has a small profile that prioritises putting padding where you need it most. The pad sits perfectly when you’re on the hoods or the drops and absorbs road vibration well, helping you clock up plenty of miles.

The execution of these bibs is spot-on and the fit and performance almost justify the price.

There is a women’s-specific version of the Pro Bib shorts too.

Lusso Carbon v2 Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Lusso Carbon v2 Bib Shorts for road cycling
The Manchester, UK, based Lusso brand makes some of the best performing kit out there, but often gets overlooked.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £95 / $132 / AU$170 / €110 as tested

The Lusso Carbon v2 Bib Shorts take many of the great performing qualities of the previous incarnation but now use an Italian-made Elastic Interface pad.

Made by Cytec, the large pad is said to provide comfort for over six hours of riding and proved great in testing. The triple-density foam delivers comfort and a cutaway channel takes any pressure off the perineum.

The shorts get their name from the 1 per cent carbon added to the fabric, claimed to keep you cool. This is hard to quantify out on the road, but overall breathability is good.

Wide bib straps and 7.5cm silicone grippers hold the shorts in place, helping make the feel of the Carbon v2s impressive.

Durable and great value, there is a lot to like about these bib shorts.

Sportful Total Comfort Bib Shorts

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Comfortable bib shorts for hot days
Comfortable bib shorts for hot days.
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £130 as tested

As the name suggests, the Total Comfort Bib Shorts from Sportful are designed to deliver the most comfortable ride. They are a good choice if you are looking to do big days on the bike in warm weather.

The seat pad brings a lot of the comfort. Wider than many others, it feels slightly too big at first but when you start pedalling the 18mm of padding is a dream. This extra padding is perfect for long days but also for those who prefer a plush ride.

The legs of the Total Comfort Bib Shorts are cut long and have mesh side panels that, paired with the airy uppers, make the shorts ideal for hot days. However, the lightweight design does make the shorts more delicate than others.

The bib straps are slightly narrow but work just fine. There’s also a women’s-specific version available.

Alé PRR Green Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Alé PRR Green Bib shorts for road cycling
Perforation holes and stitching channels help with ventilation and breathability.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Burgundy, Black/Blue, Black/Turquoise, Black/Yellow
  • Price: £145 / $175 / AU$220 / €145 as tested

The Green shorts combine race performance with top environmental credentials, using recycled materials.

Alé uses its smooth Denali Green fabric in the legs and this provides good overall fit and support without feeling overly tight. The wide leg grippers use a thinner fabric with an inner silicone print to keep things in place.

Small reflective mesh panels on the rear add to their breathability. Plus, they offer UPF50+ sun protection. Wide shoulder straps help with comfort on longer days and the stretchy mesh rear prevents overheating.

Inside is Alé’s new 4H Green 12mm pad featuring high-density open-cell foam that’s made from recycled polyamide. It’s wide covering and feels cumbersome at first, but works well once pedalling. Perforation holes and stitching channels help with ventilation and breathability.

Alé offers a women’s-specific version of the Green Road Bib Shorts.

Altura Race Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Altura Race Bib Shorts for road cycling
A reliable and very forgiving bib short.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £89 / €100 as tested

Altura’s Race Bibs offer some useful features and, like the matching jersey, a forgiving fit. These are not as tight as many, thanks to plenty of stretch in the nylon/Lycra fabric used, and do their job without ever feeling tight or restrictive.

The panelled design sits well, adding to the overall fit and ride. The two-third circumference leg grippers are reflective but subtly look black in daylight.

The bibs with rear cutaway section use thin, stretchy mesh fabric to keep things cool, while wide shoulder straps sit flat for added comfort. There’s also a mesh panel across the stomach that helps to hold everything in.

The wide covering Pro Stealth four-layer pad features low-density memory foam inserts and it does a pretty good job of absorbing road feedback. A reliable and very forgiving bib short.

Castelli Endurance 3 Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Castelli Endurance 3 bib shorts for road cycling
Castelli’s Endurance 3 bibs claim to offer endurance-level comfort and are specced with its range-topping Progetto X2 Air Seamless pad.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Black/Savile Blue
  • Price: £130 / $160 / AU$200 / €130 as tested

As the name suggests, these Castelli shorts are designed with endurance riding in mind.

To this end, the Endurance 3 shorts are specced with Castelli’s top Progetto X2 seat pad and this is where these shorts really shine. The pad features a dual-layer construction with a stretchy top layer designed to stop any rubbing and padding underneath.

The overall fit is good and construction is top-notch – as you can expect from Castelli. The legs are slightly longer than other shorts and the sizing is typical of Castelli, running slightly smaller than other brands.

Fizik Link R3 Snake Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Best bib shorts
Fizik continues its dedication to having the right fitting products for each rider.
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £165 as tested

The Fizik Link system matches your flexibility with your shorts, and can also match them to one of its saddles.

The R3 Snake model, for more flexible riders, is designed to be paired with the Fizik Arione saddle. The shorts are cut using as few seams as possible and offer a supportive ride.

The bib straps and rear panel construction prevent bunching. The front of the shorts is cut lower, in keeping with the potentially more aggressive riding position of more flexible riders.

Inside, the chamois might feel strange at first but once in the saddle it performs well, especially on long rides.

These shorts are a quality item, but the price is high.

Pearl Izumi Interval Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Pearl Izumi Interval Bib Shorts
This is a quality short with a forgiving fit that works well for all types of riding.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXL
  • Colours: Black, Navy
  • Price: £150 / $150 / AU£$279.95 as tested

Pearl’s Interval bibs are good-quality shorts with top features, but they offer a more forgiving fit thanks to the Elite Transfer fabric found in the seven panels.

It’s highly stretchy with 34 per cent Lycra, yet keeps muscles surprisingly well-supported and provides an efficient ride. The wide silicone printed leg grippers use a thinner fabric and create a neat restriction-free leg transition. A Coldblack treatment helps to reflect heat.

Inside, the wide-covering pad looks simplistic and cumbersome. This is only the floating cover that moves with you while the main inner pad sits in place. When riding out on the road it works well.

A mesh rear and wide shoulder straps keep everything in place while offering a comfortable and sweat-free ride.

This is a quality short with a forgiving fit that works well for all types of riding.

A women’s version of the Interval is also available.

Q36.5 Salopette Dottore L1 Bib Shorts

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Q36.5 Salopette Dottore L1 Bib Shorts
A DWR-coating sees water run off, yet they remain highly breathable.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: XS–XXXL
  • Colours: Black, Navy, Grey
  • Price: £247 / €246 as tested

These high-tech bibs are designed to produce the ultimate ride regardless of price. They’re lightweight and use an incredibly thin material that feels soft and smooth. This provides good muscle support, thanks to graduated compression that aids blood flow to combat fatigue.

Thigh grippers are neatly woven into the single panel legs. Silver stitching is used to help with heat conduction, battling odours and electrostatic reduction, and a DWR-coating sees water run off, yet they remain highly breathable.

A well-cut crotch integrates well with the wide covering single-insert, high-density foam pad. This does a classy job of keeping sit bones happy while eliminating chafing. Lower back support is good and the wide mesh upper straps sit well.

The end result is special but you’ll need deep pockets.

The women’s-specific versions are available in navy blue and black.


Also consider…

These bib shorts scored fewer than four out of five stars in our testing, but are still worth considering.

Decathlon Triban RC500 Bib Shorts

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Decathlon Triban RC500 bib shorts for road cycling
While the Triban RC500 bibs are very competitively priced, they certainly feel more expensive than their price tag.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes: S–XXL
  • Colours: Black
  • Price: £50 as tested

The Decathlon Triban RC50o Bib Shorts are a set of budget bibs that exceed their £50 price tag.

The contoured seat pad is wide with a generous 15mm of padding and gel inserts where you need support most and 9mm of padding elsewhere. The pad does an excellent job of keeping you comfortable in the saddle and the channelling in the pad helps keep things dry and chafe-free.

The Lycra is fairly thin and isn’t overly tight, but it is cut so the legs are shorter than other bib shorts. The grippers are high too, so the shorts did tend to ride up in testing. This wasn’t a major problem but it might add pressure if you have larger quads.

Up top, mesh fabric helps keep things cool and is a nice touch at this price point. Sometimes the bib straps did bunch on longer rides.

These shorts could be improved but overall they offer value for money.


Buyer’s guide to cycling bib shorts

Why you should wear Lycra shorts on a bike?

Two male cyclists riding in the summer
Bib shorts are a cycling essential.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

If you’re new to cycling, making the transition to padded Lycra shorts can be a big step. Many people worry about looking silly, for example.

There isn’t really an argument against that particular point, but, in our opinion, the performance difference is very much worth it, and the comfort levels are much higher. 

Lycra shorts offer a number of advantages over normal clothes or even the best mountain bike shorts. These advantages include better aerodynamic efficiency, better breathability and an ability to dry more quickly, and less chance of chafing or your shorts getting snagged on your saddle.

That said, though, you should ride in whatever you feel most comfortable and confident in. If you prefer baggy shorts over your padded shorts, then that’s good too.

Should you wear underwear under your cycling shorts?

In short, no. This is because the pads in padded cycling shorts are designed to sit directly next to your skin.

For a detailed explanation on this subject, see our article on should I wear underwear under padded cycling shorts?

Bib shorts versus waist shorts

Bib straps on bib shorts
Most cyclists prefer bib shorts, which use straps to provide a secure, comfortable fit.
David Caudrey / Immediate Media

The general consensus among dedicated cyclists is clear: bib shorts are better than waist shorts.

Not everyone agrees, but most find that shorts with bib straps tend to stay in place better than shorts without.

The added tightness in the vertical plane helps pull the chamois up into your body, preventing it sagging away from you when you stand up on the pedals. This means less shifting around and more consistent pad placement, and ultimately comfort. 

It also does away with the need for a tight, high waistband, instead putting the emphasis on the elasticated shoulder straps to keep everything in place. This can enable the use of a slightly lower front panel as well, for increased ventilation.

What is a chamois pad?

A chamois pad, or seat pad, is the saddle-shaped padding usually found in cycling bib shorts. They are called a “chamois” because, back in the olden days, they used to literally be made from chamois leather, which is named after the European mountain goat it’s derived from.

Today, they’re usually made from a combination of synthetic, multi-density foams and fabrics. These are designed not only to provide some cushioning for your derriere, but also to wick sweat away to help keep your crotch area dry and healthy.

Endura Pro SL Bibshort
A chamois pad is sewn onto the inside of cycling bib shorts to increase comfort and help wick sweat away from your body.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Proper placement of the pad is key, so it’s worth taking into consideration the type of riding you’ll be doing. Cyclists taking part in time trials or triathlons, with aggressive, forward positions, need much more padding around the front than mountain bikers, who are likely to be sat more upright.

Of course, you also need a good saddle, and performance-oriented saddles tend to be firmer than you might expect because they’re designed with cyclists wearing padded shorts in mind. Read our guide on how to choose a bike saddle for more information.

Do you need to use chamois cream?

Potentially. If you’re getting on just fine without it, then there’s no need to start using it.

If you experience any chafing or saddle sores though, a good quality, cycling-specific chamois cream (or simply a generic antibacterial barrier cream) can help prevent infections and reduce friction. We have a guide on how to avoid and treat saddle sores

How much money should you spend?

Lusso Carbon v2 Bib Shorts for road cycling
Good quality – and comfortable – bib shorts needn’t cost the Earth.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

As with many things in life, you do get what you pay for to a certain extent.

If you’re going to be doing really long days in the saddle or using your cycling shorts fairly regularly then spending a bit more is likely to get you a more comfortable, more durable pair of shorts.

That said, if you just want something for short commutes or weekend rides then one of the top-rated cheap women’s bib shorts or men’s bib shorts for cycling on a budget as tested by our expert reviewers will do the job, and do it well.

Like with bikes, though, once you get above a certain price point (around £75 / $95 / €85), the returns on your investment do start to get more marginal.

That’s not to say those gains won’t be worth it for some riders, but we’d certainly be happy riding all day in Lusso’s Carbon v2 Bib Shorts as mentioned above, for example.

Above this price, you’re paying for more modest improvements such as big-name brand labels, more technical fabrics that take into account things such as weather protection and aerodynamics, and often nicer styling.

What colour shorts should you get?

For a long time, black was the go-to colour for many riders. But over recent years brands have provided more and more options, with blue, grey and dark green being common choices.

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Bib shorts remain pretty plain but that does make it easier to pair them up with more jerseys