There’s nothing worse than getting to the halfway point of a ride and realising your posterior is in absolute pieces. Hours in the saddle can really do a number on your undercarriage and the pressure through your contact points on the seat can make the rest of your ride less than enjoyable.

Thankfully there are preventative measures you can take to make sure your peach stays keen to continue pedalling. The number one of course being a good pair of bib shorts with a padded chamois (or “shammy” as you may hear them referred to).

If you’re tackling some big rides, races or events this year then we’d go as far as saying a pair of bib shorts is essential to get you #RideReady. But read on to find out more about why you should invest in a pair of bib shorts for your next big bike ride.

What are Bib Shorts?

Bib shorts feature built-in suspenders that eliminate the need for a waistband. This design provides a snug fit but also prevents the shorts from slipping down or shifting into an uncomfortable position during your ride.

Bib shorts usually include a Chamois, which is a padded insert that offers strategically placed cushioning in the seat area of the shorts. Originally these were made from leather, but modern chamois are typically constructed from synthetic materials that are engineered to provide optimum comfort and moisture-wicking properties.

Staying Comfortable on Long Rides

Comfort is paramount on any ride, but if you’re planning on putting in some serious miles then staying as comfortable as possible for as long as possible is essential. Bib shorts with a good quality chamois offer several advantages in this department:

  1. Reduced friction & chafing:
    The chamois acts as a barrier between your body and the saddle, reducing friction and minimizing the risk of chafing. This is particularly crucial during extended rides where repetitive motion can lead to discomfort and skin irritation.
  2. Shock Absorption:
    Long hours in the saddle can take a toll on your body, especially your lower back and buttocks. The chamois helps absorb road vibrations, providing much-needed cushioning and support to reduce fatigue and soreness.
  3. Moisture Management:
    Sweating is inevitable, especially on hot days or during strenuous climbs. Bib shorts with chamois are designed to wick away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout your ride.
  4. Optimal Fit:
    The snug yet flexible fit of bib shorts prevents bunching and ensures freedom of movement, allowing you to focus on your performance rather than adjusting your attire.

Comfort = Performance Enhancements

There are many different factors that contribute towards a great performance on the bike. Comfort is most definitely one of them! If you’re digging deep for a race win or personal record, then the last thing you need is to be distracted by discomfort.

Here are 4 performance enhancing benefits you are likely to find from wearing a good set of bib shorts with chamois.

  1. Increased Saddle Time:
    If you’re comfortable you’re far more likely to stay in the saddle for longer, enabling you to cover longer distances in your training/every day rides as well as any events or races you’ve signed up to.
  2. Improved Pedalling Efficiency:
    By reducing friction and minimizing saddle pressure, chamois-equipped bib shorts promote smoother pedal strokes, enhancing efficiency and conserving energy over the course of a long ride.
  3. Increased Focus & Concentration: Distractions can be detrimental, especially during endurance rides where mental fortitude is as crucial as physical endurance. Bib shorts help eliminate the distraction of discomfort, allowing you to maintain focus and concentration on the road ahead.
  4. Injury Prevention: Proper padding and support can help prevent saddle sores and other cycling-related injuries, ensuring you can enjoy your ride without the risk of setbacks.

Are expensive bib shorts better than more affordable options?

If there’s one garment we’d recommend spending a little bit more on if you can, it’s a set of good bib shorts. As mentioned above comfort can make or break a ride, so while you could go for the cheap option, investing in something a little more premium will provide you with a range of added benefits.

Here are 5 features to think about when selecting your next set of Bib Shorts.

  1. The Pad/Pad Placement
    While most Bib Shorts will feature a chamois, not every pad is created equal. There is a huge difference in the level of research and development that goes into materials and placement in more premium brands vs. buying a cheap pair from your local generic sportswear store.

    Take Castelli, for example. They have developed not one, but two different pad options. The Progetto X2 Air Seamless Pad can be found in premium options such as the Premio Bibshort or the mid-range Espresso Bibshort and is their most comfortable option. It features a ventilated, seamless skin-care layer that is adaptable to your body shape and promotes air circulation for moisture evaporation. The two-layer, multi-density padding uses varying foam thickness to provide padding where it’s needed most and viscous padding is included under sensitive pressure areas for added comfort. Their other pad option is the KISS Air2 found in the more accessible end of the range, in items such as the Competizione Bibshort or Entrata 2 Bibshort and still offers long-lasting comfort, seamless skin care and stretchability. Its anatomical shape also ensures a perfect fit during pedal strokes.
  2. Fabric Quality
    The cheaper you go, the lower the quality of the fabrics used will be. Cycling kit should hug your body tight, but move with it to maintain comfort. Cheaper fabric won’t hold its form as well and will likely need more seams to hold it together, providing more opportunity for chafing and discomfort. A short like the Castelli Free Aero RC Bibshort features a 5-panel construction that provides reduced seams and less chafing!
  3. Durability
    Cycling kit needs to be able to withstand frequent washing and wear. It’s an investment, so you want it to go the distance. High quality materials are a must! (But as with any garment, make sure you follow the proper care instructions – for example avoiding fabric softeners to make sure they last for many rides to come)
  4. Breathability
    When you’re riding hard, particularly in the summer months you want to be able to stay as cool and dry as possible. Again, the type of fabric used plays a significant role in breathability. Using a lightweight, breathable material like mesh on bib straps or pockets allows for optimal air circulation which helps evaporate sweat and dissipate heat. This in turn enhances your riding experience but also helps stop the build-up of bacteria and unpleasant odours when things get a little sweaty!
  5. Aerodynamics
    Every little helps when you’re looking to find that performance advantage. A snug fit, lightweight fabric and strategically placed seams can help reduce wind resistance and improve your cycling speed/performance!

Overall, if you’re looking to be #RideReady this summer, we’d recommend you invest in a decent pair of bibs. While you could pop to your local sports shop and grab a cheap pair, your posterior will thank you if you decide to grab something a little more advanced.

Write A Comment