Thanks to innovative bathroom break features and new strap designs, women’s bib shorts are more appealing than ever before. However, with so many new options, finding the right pair of bibs can seem like a daunting task. To help out with this important decision, BikeRadar.com put over 20 pairs of bib shorts to the test to find this year’s best of the best.
After several months testing each pair of bibs, we rated them on overall comfort, chamois construction, leg hems and strap designs, and rounded it out with bathroom break accessibility. While price is always a consideration in our reviews, this roundup is about finding the ultimate pair of bibs at any price point. However, if you’re a cyclist on a budget, check back soon for our upcoming Budget Bib Short reviews that target less expensive bibs for everyone.
BikeRadar tester: Our BikeRadar product tester Kristen Legan is a highly experienced road cyclist. In 2012, she was one of six women to ride the entire Tour de France route as part of the women’s Rêve Team, and placed 2nd in the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race in Kansas, US.
Tester vital statistics: Height 5’10/178cm, weight 140lb/63.5kg, dress size US 4-6/UK & Aus 8-10
The outright winner was the Velocio Superfly bib shorts, with comfortable chamois and straps, plus an innovative back zipper making bathroom breaks easy. Close behind come the Giro Ride Halter Bibs and the Alé PRR 2.0 Women’s Bib Shorts.
We tested bib shorts from 20 different companies, including the majority of the big cycling brands. The bib shorts were put through their paces on rides of similar duration, distances and conditions.
The majority of the women’s bib shorts in our ‘best of test’ line-up were a size medium, and in our opinion ran true to size. The Castelli Women’s Free Aero Race bib shorts were the exception, sizing up small and necessitating a size large for the test. All of the shorts are designed to fit tightly on the body. The Alé PRR 2.0 bib shorts and the Rapha Souplesse bib shorts would work better for women with larger busts as they have a regular shoulder strap design, rather than built-in base layers or mesh that may be compressive across the chest. The cut of the lower part of the Rapha Souplesse and Giro Ride shorts was looser, making these our choice for women with larger or curvier hips.
Function plus comfort landed the velocio superfly bibs on top of our list:Kristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
Function plus comfort landed the Velocio Superfly Bibs on top of our list
Price: USD $229 / GBP £150 / AUD $300
Highs: Comfortable chamois and shoulder straps, easy bathroom break-friendly design
Lows: Pricey (but worth it)
5.0 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: Velocio’s Superfly Bib Shorts blew the competition away with a dream-like chamois, comfortable crisscrossing straps, and an ingenious back zipper for easy bathroom breaks. Without much surprise, the women’s Velocio Superfly bib shorts quickly became our go-to pair of cycling shorts for any length or variety of ride. They’re on the more expensive side of the spectrum but if you‘re looking for the best bib shorts that money can buy, Velocio is the winner.
Giro’s halter bibs include a soft built-in base layer for added comfort and support.:Kristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
Giro’s Halter Bibs include a soft built-in base layer for added comfort and support
Price: USD $150 / GBP £120 / AUD $175
Highs: Easy bathroom breaks with halter-neck design
Lows: Leg panel fabric looser than leg bands, causing bulging
4.5 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: As the least expensive bibs to make our best of the best list, Giro’s Halter Bibs are an excellent choice for any cyclist on a budget. Not only are these bibs extremely comfortable, bathroom break friendly, but they also look and feel great as well.
Soft but compressive, the alé prr 2.0 bibs are the most flattering bibs of the roundup.:Kristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
Soft but compressive, the Alé PRR 2.0 Bibs are the most flattering bibs of the roundup
Price: USD $167 / GBP £104 / AUD $164
Highs: Comfortable, classic design, flattering fit.
Lows: No bathroom break features
4.5 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: While the Alé PRR 2.0 Bib Shorts don’t offer any creative bathroom break features, they’re one of our favorites because of the comfortable fit and flattering looks. In fact, they are the most flattering of the bib shorts in the test.
With a classic strap design, castelli offers a straightforward fit with the free aero race bibs: with a classic strap design, castelli offers a straightforward fit with the free aero race bibsKristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
With a classic strap design, Castelli offers a straightforward fit with the Free Aero Race Bibs
Price: USD $200 / GBP £130 / AUD $202
Highs: Lightweight and comfortable for hot weather riding
Lows: Sizing runs small, little protection from the sun
4.0 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: The stylish and lightweight Castelli Free Aero Race Bibs are tremendously comfortable for hot days on the bike. With leg hems made from a thin, semi-sheer material, these Castelli bibs are perceptibly breathable and feel great against sweaty skin.
Rapha’s souplesse bibs did not disappoint. a supremely comfortable chamois made these perfect for long rides.: rapha’s souplesse bibs did not disappoint. a supremely comfortable chamois made these perfect for long rides.Kristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
Rapha’s Souplesse Bibs didn’t disappoint. A supremely comfortable chamois made these perfect for long rides
Price: USD $260 / GBP £170 / AUD $285
Highs: Soft, comfortable, with an excellent fit
Lows: Some bulging at seams
4.0 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: While they’re on the more expensive side, Rapha’s Souplesse bibs are a great investment for riders who plan to go long or simply want a quality pair of bibs that will last for years. The crisscrossing straps do little for bathroom accessibility but when comfort is key, Rapha is at the top nearly every time.
Style honourable mention – Café du Cycliste Antoinette Bib Shorts
Café du cycliste’s antoinette bibs earned style points for the striped build-in base layer.: café du cycliste’s antoinette bibs earned style points for the striped build-in base layer.Kristen Legan / Immediate Media Co
Café du Cycliste’s Antoinette Bibs earned style points for the striped built-in base layer
Price: USD $201 / GBP £131 / AUD $261
Highs: Great style, exceptionally soft fabric feel
Lows: Bulky chamois
3.5 out of 5 star rating
Verdict: Café du Cycliste earned an honorable mention in this roundup with the stylish Antoinette Bib Shorts. The bibs were reasonably comfortable with sleek leg hems and a secure upper half. We appreciated the Antoinette bibs because of the stylishly striped built-in base layer, but points were lost for the chamois.