Cycling bibs vs Shorts? [Choice Made Easy]

This article is an overview on cycling bibs vs shorts. Because, to fully appreciate cycling, it is necessary to choose the right wear.

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Cycling bibs vs shorts ?

Cycling is a great hobby anyone can pursue. Whether it is for leisure, competitions, exercise, or a combination of all three, it is an excellent addition to anyone’s life. In order to fully appreciate cycling, it is necessary to choose and wear the right gear. 

The first step for most people is to upgrade their cycles themselves. This is generally done by adding components like bottle holders or speedometers. While these are useful to have, it is much more important to wear the proper clothing to cover long distances quickly and comfortably.

The two main clothing choices of professional cyclists are either cycling shorts or cycling bibs. They have their merits and demerits and are used for different purposes. However, cycling bibs have a bit more positive traits that we’ll cover below.

shorts vs bibs
shorts vs bibs


(A clear picture showing the differences between shorts and bibs)


For a beginner, clothing won’t seem to be a big concern while cycling. For short distances, the cyclist’s clothing is worn. As long as it is comfortable enough and won’t snag on the chains, it doesn’t matter. 

Most people start by wearing normal track pants or loose shorts. However, once someone starts cycling for the longest stints of 100km or more, they quickly realize it’s a bad idea to wear these. 

For riding long distances, it is important to wear something called a ‘chamois pad.’ This is used to reduce the pressure in the nether regions while riding for a long time. It also reduces friction and chafing, two of the main nuisances that arise during long-distance rides.


chamois pad
chamois pad

(A view of a chamois pad and its components)

To comfortably wear the chamois pad, one needs a snug pair of garments to hold it in place. If not, the chamois pad will slip and slide, causing even more friction and chafing, which are the issues it should eliminate!

Let’s dig in to know more about Cycling bibs vs shorts.

What are the options available?

Cycling Shorts

Cycling shorts were the first to be worn commonly by cyclists. They were invented long ago, in the 1870s! The original ones were made of wool, which wasn’t very comfortable. Modern cycling shorts are made of spandex. They are skin-tight and flexible, so it allows the chamois pad to stay in place better.

Many people wear cycling shorts as they are cheap and commonly available. Being light and easy to put on and keeping the cyclist cool even when riding for long distances are its main benefits.

cycling shorts
cycling shorts

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However, there are some drawbacks with these shorts, the biggest of them being their waistbands. They cut into the torso of the rider and can slip down if one has a round belly. This would cause the chamois pad to move around, causing the problems we have discussed.

Additionally, cycling shorts don’t rise very high up the back either, which can cause some skin exposure to the elements while riding. This will lead to the exposed skin getting sunburnt or too cold. When riding for long distances, this is something that will cause major discomfort if not addressed.

Cycling bibs

 Cycling bibs come in to save the day. The shoulder straps they have are stable and help keep the chamois pad in place. Riding for long hours becomes a lot easier when wearing a cycling bib as a result. I was asked the question ” Cycling bibs vs shorts ?” I will surely go for bibs.

Additionally, due to the absence of a waistband, they don’t cut into the torso. Along with allowing the cyclist to breathe easier while riding fast, it also removes slippage when pedalling while standing up. Another advantage is that bibs maintain tension in the bottom half due to the shoulder straps, which helps to eliminate pinching and bunching that may occur in cycling shorts.

cycling bibs
cycling bibs

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Nevertheless, some disadvantages occur with cycling bibs as well. The biggest one is the difficulty in removing it. If a rider needs to take a pitstop to relieve themselves, they need to remove the entire top half. 

This is a big hindrance, especially when riding through the countryside. Luckily, some bib manufacturers have created a few models with zips on the back for easier removal. For someone planning to make many rides out in the country, buying these kinds of bibs makes more sense.

The second main issue is the heating. For someone riding in a hot climate, wearing a cycling bib might make things uncomfortable due to sweat accumulating throughout the bib. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to mitigate this other than buying bibs with lighter, sweat-wicking material.



If you ride for very long distances and want the most comfortable piece that will prevent chafing, the cycling bib is the way to go. It will keep the chamois in place and cause less pressure on your body. It also covers the lower back, keeping it safe from sunburns.

However, if you need the best performance and are ready to sacrifice comfort, cycling shorts can be a better fit. They are lighter, cheaper, and easier to take off when one needs to relieve themselves. 

A variety of either type are available on various websites, so choosing the best type for your personal needs will be easy. Once you have the perfect set for you, be ready to smash some records and ride like never before. 

I hope this article will give you an insight into Cycling bibs vs shorts. Please let us know in the comment section. We love to hear from our readers.

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