Is there ever a good time for 3/4 length bibshorts?

by Colin Peyresourde   October 15, 2013  

I've eschewed the 3/4 length bibshort. It seems such a half-way house between the standard and full-length bibshort. If it's warm standard shorts apply and if it is cold, then full-length ones sort that out.....and if there is any doubt then having the leg warmers covers the bases.

But this year, with the onset of autumn I've been thinking about 3/4 length for a change. Perhaps I don't want my porridge too hot, nor too cold, but just right.

I thought I would do a quick straw-poll as to what your thoughts are, yay or nay? At point when the mercury dips do you decide on these?

OR should I apply rule #5?

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Love mine. Perfect for autumn and spring rides and early morning starts in summer.

posted by rockfield [68 posts]
15th October 2013 - 18:07


I have both knee warmers and 3/4 bibs, knee warmers are handy, but 3/4 bibs are much much better, i hve just bought 3/4 bibs from galibier clothing for £31 v comfy and excellent price

posted by issacforce [205 posts]
15th October 2013 - 18:07


When I was a kid, I would jump on the bike in sleet and batter out a 40 mile circuit wearing shorts without any difficulty...

Up to age of 40 I wouldn't have been seen dead in a pair of lycra capri pants.
At 40, I began to keep knee warmers on for entire rides.
At 41, after freezing my knees on a long fast descent in deep shade on an otherwise warm day (for western Scotland), I bought the lycra capri pants.

... It would seem that old age doesn't come alone!

Generally, I'd say 12-16 degrees is where they become invaluable (to me) and we get a lot of days in that range where I live.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [305 posts]
15th October 2013 - 19:25


I grew up in South Africa. We wore shorts. That's it. Sometimes, on a really cold day, some tights. Since moving to the UK I've adopted 3/4's as my go-to item of clothing - I sometimes even wear them in summer.

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posted by mr-andrew [299 posts]
15th October 2013 - 19:42


I value long term joint mobility so I always try to cover my knees in cooler conditions. About 15C is the minimum, a little higher if it's a windy day.

Knee warmers are flexible so handy for days when you know it's going to warm up enough to stuff them in a pocket but I find the 3/4 are less fiddly.

And I can tell you for nothing that Rule 5 or any macho b*ll*cks is no use when you've torn your calf muscle on a nippy morning commute because you didn't cover your legs properly Sad

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posted by Simon E [2001 posts]
15th October 2013 - 20:17


3/4 length. Meh says I. Thats what warmers are for and if they're not comfy they're not the rigjt ones.

posted by racingcondor [117 posts]
15th October 2013 - 21:55


I get knee problems with shorts, calf cramps with tights and no troubles at all with my 3/4 dhb's Thinking

'Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you'

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posted by livestrongnick [1848 posts]
15th October 2013 - 23:57


I have four pairs. I use them for anything from about 3 degrees to 15 or so. They are brilliant. I own less bibtights as a result of owning them.

posted by bendertherobot [305 posts]
16th October 2013 - 7:21


Incidentally, the "problem" with knee warmers is what shorts are you adding them to?

If they are roubaix warmers to roubaix shorts (DHB Vaeon etc) then I can see why that versatility would be good. But lycra warmers to plain lycra shorts isn't good enough for the cold.

There aren't many roubaix shorts around but the choice of warm 3/4's is much wider.

posted by bendertherobot [305 posts]
16th October 2013 - 7:22


My 3/4s have sunk to the bottom of my drawer. They were only really useful for 3 weeks in the spring and three in the autumn. I find fleecy knee warmers much more versatile - either with lycra shorts or with roubaix ones when it gets cooler. They also have the advantage of covering your thighs - which are doing the work - with a double layer of fabric, so that they are kept warmer. At a pinch you can take them off and stash them if it really does decide to warm up.

posted by Bexleyhillbilly [40 posts]
16th October 2013 - 8:00


3/4 not for me, style over functionality. Would rather be cold...

posted by velodromerocket [3 posts]
16th October 2013 - 9:04


I use my Santini 3/4 lengths a lot in autumn and spring as having cold knees is not pleasant. I would say I use them a lot more than my full tights.

posted by Sadly Biggins [265 posts]
16th October 2013 - 9:35


Used bibshorts with kneewarmers for several years, but bought a pair of Pearl Izumi Pro Thermal 3/4 bibshorts back in March, I believe, at a bargain price. They are excellent for cool riding ... always reckon it is critical to keep the knees toasty to avoid joint problems and 3/4s are just the ticket. Still like kneewarmers as well, though, especially when I commute early and it is definitely sunny in the afternoon, but 3/4 bibs are, ultimately, less of a faff. The bargain I got with a really comfortable pad was too good to miss as I needed a replacement for a worn-out pair of bibshorts.
In summary ... Thinking ... Applause

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [210 posts]
16th October 2013 - 9:45


velodromerocket wrote:
3/4 not for me, style over functionality. Would rather be cold...

I can assure you I don't wear bib KNICKERS for style purposes Nerd

posted by bendertherobot [305 posts]
16th October 2013 - 13:30


If it's cold enough that one layer of Lycra isn't enough I just wear fuzzy longs.

In this respect, Rule 5 can sod off because not-being-injured allows more of Rule 9 and Rule 22.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [898 posts]
17th October 2013 - 8:10


In answer to the posters question: Yes. Winter - unless it's wet.

The 3/4 Thermofleece Endura jobbies I have do for almost anything. Warmer than shorts and knee warmers and less faff. I don't seem to feel the cold in my calves/shins and with decent length sock, full tights seem superfluous.

Maybe people prefer to keep their shorts and add knee warmers as it looks that little bit more 'pro'. Go on admit it. Wink


posted by arrieredupeleton [563 posts]
17th October 2013 - 8:23


Always wear my dhb 3/4 theyre summer i wear short bibshorts,i don't think you ever need to wear full length

posted by Shanefutcher [118 posts]
17th October 2013 - 21:17


In all my long-tights-wearing days I can't say I have ever felt "damn, my ankles and shins are too hot!" 3/4s are the solution to a problem that never existed.

posted by chokofingrz [300 posts]
17th October 2013 - 23:35


chokofingrz wrote:
In all my long-tights-wearing days I can't say I have ever felt "damn, my ankles and shins are too hot!" 3/4s are the solution to a problem that never existed.

Neither have I. But that's not really the issue. More the reverse really. It's all about the knees. Knees are good. Need to keep them warm.

In all the days of wearing 3/4's in close to freezing conditions I've never once thought "damn my shins are too cold."

Generally I take care of my ankles with socks Wink

posted by bendertherobot [305 posts]
18th October 2013 - 6:53


Next year at Eurobike: Look out for the 5/8ths and 7/8ths bibs...

Wear them with those stupid toe covers for your shoes and you have a bespoke solution for those in between days Laughing


posted by arrieredupeleton [563 posts]
18th October 2013 - 8:54


arrieredupeleton wrote:
Next year at Eurobike: Look out for the 5/8ths and 7/8ths bibs...

When you've got short legs, 3/4 become 7/8 automatically Smile

posted by VeloPeo [220 posts]
18th October 2013 - 12:19


I have fleecy 3/4 bibs from Endura. If I feel I need something that warm I just put on full length tights. The 3/4 hardly get used.

I recently bought some Lycra 3/4 bib shorts from DHB. These are good for summer days and when it gets a bit cool. I need to look after my dodgy knees. These get used a lot more.


posted by andrewduffy [13 posts]
19th October 2013 - 6:27


Shanefutcher wrote:
Always wear my dhb 3/4 theyre summer i wear short bibshorts,i don't think you ever need to wear full length

Riding through thick fog at temperatures below 0°C believe me you DEFINITELY need the warmest pair of full lengths you can get your hands on. In those conditions, you get ice forming everywhere. Really don't want exposed skin!

(commuting, gotta love it)

posted by Al__S [591 posts]
19th October 2013 - 7:48


chokofingrz wrote:
In all my long-tights-wearing days I can't say I have ever felt "damn, my ankles and shins are too hot!" 3/4s are the solution to a problem that never existed.

By that logic knee warmers should also be redundant. I wear my 3/4 through Autumn, winter and spring. Slightly thermal lined and keep my knees and hips warm. I run very hot so always feel like I'm cooking in longs.

They work for me.

posted by ajmarshal1 [327 posts]
19th October 2013 - 8:24


Roubaix 3/4s are the most versatile item of bike kit IMO - I've worn them for all day epics like the Southdowns Way in summer where the temperature didn't get above 10 degrees to CX racing in the snow and ice. I have a drawer-full of kneewarmers of various brands and they rarely stay put - I only tend to use them early in rides where I know it'll warm-up later. I remember when the the likes of Eddy van Hooydonck first started wearing them in the Spring Classics and I had a fab pair of purple Assos ones about 1990!

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [369 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 18:44


^^ If roubaix 3/4 are the shorts that are fuzzy inside then I totally agree with the chap above. Really versatile nicer to wear than full bib tights easier to get on and off etc I have a pair of Lusso ones that have been going for few years

The only downside is most of my 3/4's have tears/holes in the knees from using them mountain biking.

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posted by William Black [196 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 18:58


3/4 shorts make perfect sense.
Thighs and KNEES get (subjectively) colder than shins so they need ever so slightly more thermal protection. What's not to understand?

I wonder if anyone would ever bothered with warmers if it weren't the pros using them Wink

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [187 posts]
24th October 2013 - 5:00


I wear 3/4 bibs more than anything else, having one pair in lycra by Lusso and a roubaix pair by DHB. They cover all by the coldest winter and hottest summer days, and keep my dodgy knees nice and warm. I used to use Knee warmers but the seams were uncomfortable, and my shorts used to ride up over them.

posted by pcaley [21 posts]
24th October 2013 - 11:55


I've got the dhb Roubaix-ey winter longs and 3/4s (can't remember the model name) and I wear the 3/4s loads more than the longs. Just find them more comfy and that my shins can look after themselves.

I live in the Midlands though, maybe they make less sense if you're somewhere with harsher conditions.

posted by Chuck [393 posts]
24th October 2013 - 12:02


I have several pairs of Tracksters left over from my running days and wear them (one pair at a time) over my shorts when it gets chilly.

Not adding to the debate, but I thought you'd like to know Smile

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posted by Crosshouses [202 posts]
24th October 2013 - 17:32