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Best cycling bib shorts 2024 — enhance your comfort in the saddle with these top picks

Ride for longer and in more comfort with the best cycling bib shorts for every budget

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A good pair of cycling bib shorts is the most important item in a cyclist’s wardrobe. Whether you ride your bike for fun or are a seasoned pro, life will be a whole lot better if you're wearing a pair of the best cycling bib shorts. Our male and female testers have logged thousands upon thousands of miles in the saddle so let's see which shorts really are the best.

Just like saddles, what works for one person won't necessarily work for the other so finding the best cycling shorts for you may take some trial and error but they can make a world of difference in terms of your comfort and performance on the bike.

Most importantly you want a good quality pad (chamois) for comfort and moisture-wicking but no two pads are the same and there are different pads for men and women, with shapes to suit the different anatomies. 

The pad is where a lot of the money goes but don’t assume that you’ll always get a better pad by buying more expensive shorts. Better fabrics and more panels can contribute to higher costs as well.

Cycling bib shorts also feature shoulder straps to hold them in place. Men’s shorts typically have widely spaced straps, but there are a few different solutions for women’s shorts and they often have straps designed to make toilet breaks easier.

Good cycling bib shorts start at about £40 and we’ve reviewed pairs that are priced at more than £250. As you’d probably expect, more expensive shorts generally perform better in that they tend to be more comfortable for longer, but there are some bargain exceptions so don’t rule out cheaper options.

When it's too cold for shorts but not quite cold enough for tights, 3/4 length tights come into their own and you can check out their separate buyer's guide. 

How we review cycling bib shorts

Beyond just a single outing, reviewers use products for a month before submitting their verdicts ensuring that the bib shorts undergo extensive wear to gauge their overall quality, performance and comfort. 

Our cycling bib shorts reviews assess various factors such as construction quality, durability, fit, weight and value, taking into account similar products when assessing how good or bad something is versus what else is available. We believe that this comprehensive evaluation provides valuable insights into what the bib shorts are like to wear regularly, across different riding styles and weather conditions.

Why you can trust us

When it comes to buyer's guides, we will only ever recommend products that fared well in reviews and all the bib shorts featured here scored 4 out of 5 stars or more overall from our reviewers, with some scoring 5/5, indicating very good, excellent or exceptional quality according to our reviewers' opinions. 

Our reviewers are all experienced cyclists, and so are the team members who put these guides together. That means you can be sure the product selections are our genuine top picks, not just a round-up of things we can make a commission from.

Find the right pair for you with this definitive guide.

The best cycling bib shorts: our top picks

Kostüme Men’s Bib Short

Kostüme Men’s Bib Short

Best men's cycling bib shorts overall
Buy now for £100 from Kostume
All-day comfort
Thoughtful details
The feel of the Lycra
Environmental credentials

The Kostüme Signature Bib Short is an incredibly well-thought-out and subtly detailed garment, constructed from supple and soft Lycra, with a pad that’s incredibly comfortable and can be relied upon for very long rides. The hem of the shorts is raw cut and the straps are stretchy, wide, comfortable and made from a mesh material that keeps them airy.

Kostüme's clothing is made from recycled fabrics where possible and practical, and its limited edition pre-order system means only the products ordered by customers get made. 

The quality of the fabric and level of detailing in the Kostüme shorts do a very good job of justifying their price, and that's before you've even put them on and are five hours into a ride.

Rapha men’s pro team powerweave bib shorts

Rapha Men’s Pro Team Powerweave Bib Shorts

Best money-no-object men’s bib shorts
Buy now for £300 from Rapha
So comfortable
Chamois is superb
Noticeable compression
Colours won't be for everyone, there's no black!

There is no getting around the price, but the Rapha Pro Team Powerweaves are supremely comfortable bib shorts, using innovative technologies combined with noticeable compression and a superb chamois.

The material offers compression without any irritating wrinkles or creases and has very impressive wicking and breathability. To help with comfort, Rapha has used fewer seams, with the stretch of the material allowing them to build these with seven panels. Rapha has also used its remodelled race chamois, which is both slimmer and lighter than the other Pro Team models, and tester George said, "It's a truly excellent pad". 

Moving on to the straps, Rapha has slightly adjusted the straps compared with the earlier models of this bib short and they sit flat against the shoulders with no twisting or digging in when riding. There's a mesh panel at the back of the shorts that helps to let heat escape easily and keeps you nice and cool.

Triban men’s cycling bib shorts RC100

Triban Men’s Cycling Bib Shorts RC100

Best budget men's bib shorts
Buy now for £29.99 from Decathlon
Chamois thickness is well balanced for padding and comfort
Well made
Plenty of sizes

With a comfortable pad and a reasonably tailored fit, Triban’s Men's Cycling Bib Shorts RC100 are ideal for anyone on a budget. Triban is Decathlon’s entry-level range and these shorts show that entry-level doesn't have to feel cheap.

The quality is impressive throughout, with clean and neat stitching, and the materials feel smooth with no scratchiness. The cut isn't as tailored as some top-quality race shorts, but these are well-designed, with no excess material or bunching anywhere. The bib straps are wide which reduces any pressure over the shoulders, while the rear mesh section helps breathability.

The pad is a good one, rated for rides of around two hours and up to 50km (30 miles), and we’d go along with that. It’s relatively firm, which means it doesn’t squish down too much when you sit on it so it feels supportive, and you don't get any pressure points which can lead to numbness.

Specialized Women’s Prime Bib Shorts

Specialized Women’s Prime Bib Shorts

Best women's cycling bib shorts overall
Buy now for £99 from Certini
Incredibly comfortable
Excellent quality
Pee-stop friendly
Superb pad
Good value
Pee-stop solution requires some dexterity/practice

The Specialized Women’s Prime Bib Shorts offer incredible comfort and a superb seat pad, and they’re a very good price considering the excellent quality. These are high-quality bib shorts made from a fabric that moves moisture quickly and effectively.

The super-comfy fit is echoed by the comfort and support of the pad, a triple-density foam Women’s Body Geometry Contour 3D Chamois. Reviewer Lara Dunn reported that it conformed exceptionally well to the body, but retained its cushioning without undue compression, remaining comfortable no matter the effort or length of ride.

A magnetic buckle at the rear is designed to make comfort breaks easier to deal with. It releases quickly and easily but isn’t quite so easy to do up again so it may take a few rides to master the technique. Overall, though, these offer exceptional performance for their price.

Assos Women’s UMA GTV bib shorts

Assos Women’s UMA GTV Bib Shorts C2

Best money-no-object women's bib shorts
Buy now for £124.99 from Sigma Sports
Easy-pee design
Fit is great
There are cheaper options with easy-pee solutions
The chamois dries out slowly

The Assos UMA GTV C2 women’s bib shorts might be expensive but they’re amazingly comfortable and excellent quality, with a fast and easy pee-break design that actually works.

Assos’ Bisiclick design works really well for pee stops, once you get used to it. Two magnetic clasps sit on the lower back (just above the bum), attaching to the stretchy straps, so there’s no need to remove your jersey.

Inside the shorts, the GT C2 pad features Assos' goldenGate technology, where the pad isn't stitched into place all the way along the sides. The pad itself is constructed of a 3D waffle foam to reduce weight and increase breathability, and a 9mm Superair Microshock Foam for protection from road vibrations. It provides a high level of comfort but does take a while to dry.

dhb Moda Women’s Classic Bib Shorts

dhb Moda Women’s Classic Bib Shorts

Best budget women's bib shorts
Buy now for £30 from Wiggle
Impressive chamois for the price
Eco fabrics
Great close fit
Comfy leg ends
Straps can be tricky to arrange

dhb’s Moda Women’s Classic Bib Shorts are a well-thought-out design with a great fit, with straps that don’t put pressure on the chest, wonderfully comfy leg ends and minimalist styling. Unfortunately, given that Wiggle, dhb's parent company, has gone bust these shorts are unlikely to be around for much longer. That said, if you're quick and you can find a pair in your size the Modas are ideal for more relaxed road rides of two or three hours when sitting in an upright position on the hoods.

Reviewer Anna-Marie Hughes said. “The stretchy material is wonderfully soft against the skin and the seams are well positioned so that they don’t cause any irritation. The close cut is supportive, but not to the extent that it’s compressive – it’s a great balance for staying comfy on relaxed rides. The bib straps curve around the chest rather than passing straight over your boobs, so there’s no uncomfortable pressure being placed here.”

Overall, the Moda Classics are well-designed shorts, providing impressive amounts of comfort and support at a low price.

The best of the rest: more of our top cycling bib shorts recommendations

7Mesh Mk3 bib shorts

7Mesh Mk3 bib shorts

Buy now for £115.99 from Trade Inn
Amazing comfort for long and short rides
Wide and comfortable shoulder straps
Brilliant moisture management
Subtle branding

7Mesh was already onto a good thing with its Mk2 bib shorts, but the Mk3s are a huge improvement. Buying shorts is a worrying experience as it’s not like you can take them back to the shop after four hours of testing and say, erm, no thanks. If you take the plunge and purchase these Mk3s, we think you’ll be very pleased.

They are incredibly comfortable regardless of the length of time in the saddle because of their hammock chamois lining, which is attached at the top of the rear of the shorts under the bib yoke strap and the front of the shorts about where the waist would be, but nowhere else, material choice and cut, and the luxurious, wide shoulder straps.

Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts

Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts

Buy now for £155 from Albion Cycling
Comfortable, non-intrusive pad
Good leg length
Flatlock seams
Generous side pockets
Rear pocket great for stashing bigger items

The Albion Cycling ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts are gravel-specific, designed for long days in the saddle, and work really well on or off the road. They are a mild tweak of Albion's existing ABR1 Bib Shorts which we have also reviewed and loved. They feature side pockets and a clever rear stash pocket which can fit an item of clothing such as a gilet or lightweight jacket.

They also feature an incredibly comfortable and non-intrusive Elastic Interface pad which is designed for rides over seven hours. The shorts themselves are made from four-way-stretch recycled fabrics, with flatlock seams to prevent any kind of chafing while you ride, and a mesh panel at the rear, ideal for keeping your back cooler on hotter days.

Van Rysel Road Cycling Bib Shorts Racer 2

Van Rysel Road Cycling Bib Shorts Racer 2

Buy now for £49.99 from Decathlon
Great value
Comfortable pad
Good long (but not too long) legs
Size up small
Stitching isn't perfect

The Van Rysel Road Cycling Bib Shorts Racer 2 are great bibs that perform far beyond their price tag. The compressive fit and comfortable pad wouldn't be out of place on shorts at twice the price. 

Decathlon says the high-density foam pad in these (the Endurance 2.5 HD) is good for up to seven hours, and tester Ben said, "while I've not had the chance to ride in them for that long, I've done around four hours and was impressed."

Up above, the straps provide good support and stay comfy, and there's mesh around the upper on the front and back for breathability.

Castelli Entrata Bib Shorts

Castelli Entrata Bib Shorts

Buy now for £53.49 from Trade Inn
Big leg gripper keeps shorts locked in
Comfortable straps not too tight on the shoulders
Great fit
Pad depth & placement won't suit all
Watch out for the sizing

Castelli's Entrata Bib Shorts are high-performance shorts without the price to match. Though described as entry-level by Castelli, the bib shorts feel high quality and very comfortable, with a great fit, and being very light they perform well in the heat. 

The shorts are made from a 'dry matte Lycra' designed for compression and breathability, with the bib section being mesh, helping with breathability even on the hottest days. The chamois is a Castelli Kiss Air2, and the shorts feature GIRO4 leg grippers, which in practice are fantastic at locking the legs in place.

The bib straps are comfortable, too, tight enough to keep the shorts in place without any discomfort, and being mesh helps to reduce sweat build-up in that area.

Lusso Perform Carbon Bib Shorts

Lusso Perform Carbon Bib Shorts

Buy now for £100 from Lusso
Recycled materials throughout
Comfortable straps and pad ideal for longer rides
Reflective hems are subtle but effective
Classic looks
Handmade in Manchester
Slight peeling of the logo

Now in their third incarnation, these Lusso Perform Carbon Bib Shorts overhaul their eco credentials but keep all of their classic looks and excellent comfort. Recycled materials are used throughout the shorts – in the main fabric, mesh back and straps, and also the pad. The materials are sourced in Italy, but the shorts are hand-stitched together in Manchester, to minimise transport around the world.

The honeycomb style mesh used on the straps and back is very comfortable and really breathable and Lusso claims the change to recycled fabrics has made these more breathable than the V2s. 

Lusso also offers a repair service for items purchased directly from its website. This is free of charge for items within their one-year warranty, while out-of-warranty items can be repaired for an additional fee.

Polaris Latitude Bib Shorts

Polaris Latitude Bib Shorts

Buy now for £39 from
Great, supportive fit
Rugged construction
High-quality pad
Not really a con per se, but on the warmer side for indoor training

The Polaris Latitude Bib Shorts are well-designed mid-price shorts that deliver, on and off road, and you can currently get your hands on a pair for £39. They're aimed primarily at long-distance road riders, but tester Shaun found that their qualities are equally suited to gravel and mixed terrain escapes.

As mid-point shorts go, the Polaris Latitudes deliver a good balance of performance, comfort and practicality.

Being a heavier tog weight they feel toastier on the indoor trainer compared with some budget models, which are proportionately thinner, though moisture management is still good for outside riding. The thicker fabric bodes well for longevity – and the odd spill, 

Santini Unico Men’s Bib Shorts

Santini Unico Men’s Bib Shorts

Buy now for £122.99 from Trade Inn
Great pad
Luxuriously soft fabric with high stretch
Thermo-welded seams and no grippers means little to irritate
Smart graphics and cool-looking straps
Fairly pricey
Some may want longer legs
Limited reflective detail

The Santini Unico Men’s Bib Shorts are an excellent option if you want to ride a long way without a second thought for your nethers. They use Santini’s best seat pad and a luxurious fabric with almost no seams. The C3 seat pad (also found on Santini’s more expensive bibs) features variable thicknesses with perforations and gel inserts under the ischiatic bones to help spread the load. We really rate it.

The microfibre fabric is soft and luxurious to the touch, with more stretch than traditional Lycra. There are few seams – below the waist there is just one thermo-welded seam running down the inside of each thigh.

The leg ends are raw cut with no silicone or other grippers. The stretchy fabric does a pretty good job of keeping them in place anyway, and the lack of seams really does give a 'barely there' feeling.

Assos Mille GTS Spring fall bib shorts C2

Assos Mille GTS Spring Fall Bib Shorts C2

Buy now for £190 from Sigma Sports
Supportive material without being restrictive
Incredibly comfortable pad
High quality finish
Big price tag

The Assos Mille GTS Spring fall bib shorts C2 are a large outlay, but incredible comfort, fit and performance mean they're worth every penny. As their name suggests, these shorts are designed for use away from the high temperatures of summer, which makes them pretty versatile for the UK climate.

For the legs and rear panel Assos has used a warp-knit material called RX Evo. RX Evo is slightly thicker than you'd find on a standard pair of summer shorts, which gives a small amount of insulation. Tester Stu said he wore them in temperatures down to 5°C and even on the turbo with an ambient temperature of 18°C, they remained perfectly breathable with a fan blowing over them simulating real ride airflow.

Stu also said that the pad is excellent. It's made up of multiple layers of varying materials and densities and manages to give a plush ride without alienating you from the bike. 

Le Col Women’s Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts

Le Col Women’s Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts

Buy now for £180 from Le Col
Very comfortable
Great chamois
Excellent fit
Long legs

Featuring breathable mesh panels, the Le Col Women's Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts work really well on the hottest days on the bike. They have an excellent fit and are very comfortable, though this does come at a price. Though designed for hot summer rides, the Pro Lightweight Bib Shorts also make an excellent choice for typical summer cycling in the UK. 

The pad is Le Col's Premium Pro Chamois which is said to provide dual-density comfort and shock absorption. It's quite a thick pad, which some might find a bit bulky, but I found it to be flexible and I really liked it.

Pedla SuperFit Bib Shorts Stormy

Pedla SuperFit Bib Shorts Stormy

Buy now for £91 from
​Excellent pad
Great race fit
Short leg length may not suit taller riders

The Pedla SuperFit Bib Shorts have a great compressive race fit, an excellent pad and good breathability. They are equally well suited to race efforts or long summer days on the bike. If, like me, you're new to the Pedla brand... well, it's an Australian company that focuses on performance and sustainability.

The pad is from chamois specialist Elastic Interface, and is rated comfortable for rides over seven hours long. The pad is quite thick around the sit bones but thinner elsewhere. Tester Ben said, "My longest rides weren't quite up to seven hours but I found them comfortable throughout and would be confident wearing these on day-long rides."

The mesh straps are breathable, comfortable and nice and wide on your shoulders. They are joined to a mesh upper back area that helps spread the load and to keep you cool. Ben wrote, "I have to say that the quality of the shorts is excellent – all the stitching looks perfect and the shorts look as good as new even after plenty of hours on the bike and a fair few times going through the wash."

Velocio Men’s Luxe Bib Short

Velocio Men’s Luxe Bib Short

Buy now for £211 from Velocio
Super comfy
Fabric is compressive and stretchy for all the performance feelz
That price
Crossed bib straps don't add anything for me

Velocio Men's Luxe bib shorts are luxurious indeed. They feel and fit like they've been sprayed on, and the pad is super comfy too. As you might have guessed, the price tag follows suit.

These bibs are made with just three panels, keeping the number of seams to a minimum. The edges are raw cut, with a two inch band of silicone print at the leg ends. The seamless microfiber bib straps are nice and stretchy without being restrictive; just right. They cross over at the back, presumably to stop them sliding off your shoulders.

The pad is a Proprietary Signature Chamois developed with Cytech Elastic Interface which tester Iwein found to be comfortable for hours on end, rain or shine. 

Best cycling bib shorts: how to choose and what you need to know

Do cycling shorts make a difference?

When it comes to performance cycling, whether it’s long rides on Sunday mornings or road racing and sportives, bib shorts are where it’s at for outright comfort. The pad provides comfort so you can sit in the saddle for hours at a time, the shoulder straps avoid a waistband digging into your stomach, and there’s no excess fabric to flap about.

While there are other styles of shorts available — baggy, urban and waist shorts — bib shorts are hard to beat for comfort on any rides that combine distance and speed. You can wear them year-round – under tights in the winter, on their own in the summer – and no, you don’t wear underwear under them, if you’re wondering. They’re designed to sit next to the skin.

Cycling bib shorts are the cornerstone of a rider’s wardrobe, and it’s worth investing in a good pair – maybe two or three pairs if you’re riding frequently.

The pad is where a lot of the money goes but don’t assume that you’ll always get a better pad by buying more expensive shorts. Better fabrics and more panels can contribute to higher costs as well.

What do padded cycling shorts do?

The pad is the most important part of a pair of cycling bib shorts. The main job of bib shorts is to support the foam pad between the body and the saddle. It’s often called an insert or chamois, on account of early bib shorts using a real leather pad made from chamois goat skin. Yes, really. You used to have to treat it with chamois cream to keep it soft. These days they are mostly made from synthetic materials.

When buying your first pair of bib shorts, remember that most of the money goes into the pad. In theory, the more you spend on a pair of shorts, the better the pad. In practice, this isn’t always the case, so it pays to do your homework carefully. Pads also come in men’s and women’s versions, with shapes to suit the different anatomies. No two pads are the same. They can vary in thickness, shape and other factors, so the best thing is to try them on before you buy. Just like saddles, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. We’re all different shapes, and your weight and riding style can influence the type of pad that will work best for you. The bib shorts review archive is the perfect place to start. 

The pad is shaped to conform to the body and provide padding where you make contact with the saddle. The most important areas are where the sit bones make contact with the saddle. Cheaper shorts might have a single-thickness pad, while the more expensive pads use variable levels of foam thickness and density to keep the pad thinner where you don’t need much cushioning, and thicker where you do need it. Such pads are generally more comfortable as a result.

Manufacturers are now aiming shorts at different riding types, so it’s possible to choose more padding for endurance riding and slimmer pads for shorter rides or racing.

What should I look for in bib shorts?

Most importantly you want a good quality chamois for comfort and moisture wicking but what works for one person might not work for another.

You should also look for breathable fabrics to keep you cool and dry and often, the rear of the bib section will be a large panel of mesh material to aid cooling. 

You really don’t want shorts riding up so they usually have some sort of gripper to keep them in place on your legs. Silicone tape or dots are the most frequent solutions, along with elasticated hems. Some manufacturers have now moved away from this approach and use broad highly elasticated hems that rely on compression to keep the legs in place. They’re typically more comfortable with less skin irritation, and they don’t dig in.

Another detail to look out for is the use of reflective material on the back or legs for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. It’s possible to get shorts designed for nighttime riding with large areas of reflective material.

The shorts are held in place with bib straps that stretch over your shoulders. They need to be stretchy and wide so they don’t dig in, and also so you can manage toilet stops without having to bend over backwards. Men’s shorts typically have widely spaced straps, but there are a few different solutions for women’s shorts. Some manufacturers join the straps in the middle of the chest, with a buckle to allow easy removal for toilet breaks.

Some shorts may feature a race radio pocket at the back of the shorts, which is designed for use by professionals, but it can double up as a hidden phone pocket.

Do you wear anything under bib shorts?

No, you don’t wear underwear under padded bib shorts as they are designed to sit next to the skin to provide optimal comfort and moisture-wicking. Wearing underwear adds another layer of fabric that can hold moisture and can cause chafing and discomfort. 

What fabric is cycling shorts?

The most common fabric for bib shorts is some sort of stretchy synthetic mix, usually a blend of nylon and Lycra, and variously described as Spandex or elastane. There’s a huge variety of thicknesses and weights of fabric.

Manufacturers combine different fabrics at the top end to achieve a good fit and level of compression. Some shorts are designed to work better in hot weather with more breathable materials, and some are better suited to the winter with a thicker fleecy-backed Roubaix fabric.

It’s even possible to get shorts made from water-resistant fabrics, ideal for the British climate.

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Add new comment


Gbjbanjs | 3 months ago

£180 not £100

Keesvant | 4 months ago

Tryed lots of bibshorts thrue the years..
Le col hits the sweet spot for me.
Stitching is not of assos quality but the chamoise and fit are the best yet...
I own assos, craft , sportfull, etc etc

Freddy56 | 4 months ago

Tried the Kostume based on the review, but dont like the pad, so keep them for short turbo spins and back to my Castelli

stevez123 replied to Freddy56 | 4 months ago

I bike for fun and exercise going between 30-50 miles at a time and I really don't see what the big deal is with bibs. I can get some reasonably comfortable regular shorts and don't have to take off my jersey to pee.  

marmotte27 replied to stevez123 | 4 months ago
1 like

Good for ya.

hawkinspeter replied to stevez123 | 4 months ago
1 like
stevez123 wrote:

I bike for fun and exercise going between 30-50 miles at a time and I really don't see what the big deal is with bibs. I can get some reasonably comfortable regular shorts and don't have to take off my jersey to pee.

I find bib shorts a lot more comfortable than non-bibs. With ordinary shorts, I can get some movement with the top of the shorts on my back, but bibs just stay put. Once I tried bib shorts, I was converted and I wouldn't go back to ordinary shorts now. (They're usually flexible enough to pull down the front bit far enough to urinate without having to disrobe, though not as easy as with shorts)

Rendel Harris replied to stevez123 | 4 months ago

WIthout going into disturbing detail, you don't have to do that with bibs either.