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  1. #1
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    Shorts, Bibs, and Tights

    I am wrapping up my seventh decade by getting back into bikes. I have always been of the opinion that it is easier to get started in an activity with the right, and best, gear. It is harder to learn and discouraging on cheap poorly performing gear. It is easier to learn to play a guitar with a Martin than with a Harmony. So I bought a Cannondale Adventure with an IGH, and determined to buy just as little as I could get away with in terms of accessories. It turned out that my butt was the limiting factor. I bought some liner shorts, but the shorts I wore over them twisted my boys, so I went to shorts with no over shorts(you understand that we older, fuller figured gentlemen think twice about tights, etc.) Somebody recently told me I really needed to get into bibs because they were somehow better. My question is why are they better? Should I really try them, or are shorts adequate? Pearl's shorts are in the $30 +/- range but bibs get up into $115 and better. I don't mind spending the money if I understand why they are a step forward.

    Looking for your wisdom.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Bibs are awesome. I haven't worn any of my shorts since the first time riding in bibs. For me, not having a waistband is so much more comfortable. And check out Love2Pedal. Their Falconi bibs are great and not much more than you paid for shorts.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    It is all a matter of taste. I like Bibs because they stay up and in place like I want them to. If I had a flat stomach and narrow waist maybe it wouldn't matter. However not all Bibs are created equal and until you find the opes you like it is hard to say what you will prefer. To me Bibs hold the Chamois in place better and that makes them more comfortable. I believe if all plumbers were required to wear bibs there would be fewer Plumber jokes.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    I'm just opposite, I moved from bibs to shorts. I just never have a problem with them and I do lots of riding. They seem cooler since no straps, they are easier to handle when peeing, and don't roll at the waist....at least for me. The Sugoi RS / RSE and Gore Xenon shorts are terrific. Giordana is very good too. If I get any fatter then I might start having a problem at the waist but for now, I never think about them on a ride. Pretty much transparent.

    Having said this, nothing wrong with bibs and they are very popular. If you have not tried them then perhaps you should. So much of cycling equipment and apparel is personal preference. Just have to try it.

  5. #5
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Bibs are a PITA when you need to use the restroom, but there is a slimming effect, and the straps keep them in place better for less chance of buttcrackage.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  6. #6
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    PI bibs rule.

    Circumvent the potty issue by wearing jerseys with full length zippers.

  7. #7
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Yea, but those make my gut look all poochy.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    PI bibs rule.

    Circumvent the potty issue by wearing jerseys with full length zippers.
    +1
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    The only jersey I like or want to wear are the full zipper variety.
    Please support diabetics like myself, a red rider, by supporting the American Diabetes Association.
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  10. #10
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    I only recently started wearing lycra bicycle shorts and now have some bibs in the mix. I can definitely say I like the bibs quite a bit, but don't know I'd say I like bibs more than shorts other than the fact they hide my middle-aged bulges a bit better than shorts.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    try aerotechdesigns.com. Their house brand of bib is very reasonably priced, comes in large(r) sizes and is of very reasonable quality.
    Rick T
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  12. #12
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I own and wear both bibs and shorts as well as bib tights and tights, I like the chamois for its effective comfort, I got used to them in the 70's and just ride with them as a habit now. Bibs stay up better and no plumber's crack, I don't have that problem with shorts but I know of many that do. Cycling specific shorts or tights or knickers just feel better than regular shorts or pants and no underwear to bunch up on your boys or behind. You don't have to pay a king's ransome, I have some expensive kit but the Bike Nashbar kit works as well for me, no complaints about its quality.

    Welcome to 50+ and back to cycling, great to have more "life experienced" riders here to steer us straight.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  13. #13
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Bibs are a PITA when you need to use the restroom, but there is a slimming effect, and the straps keep them in place better for less chance of buttcrackage.
    Only for #2 if you're a male. Practice the fine art of pulling down and hanging it over.

  14. #14
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Yea, but those make my gut look all poochy.
    Pfft. Everything makes my gut look poochy.

  15. #15
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Shorts in real hot weather.... bibs/bibknickers otherwise. +5 (or whatever) on the full zip jerseys. Welcome Clawed!

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  16. #16
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Now look what you started, Clawed.

    You know you can also get the bib effect by losing the drawstring and wearing clip-on suspender with your shorts.

  17. #17
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    You can spend a fortune on the finest short/bibs and the perfect saddle and whatever, but your butt is still going to hurt until you get enough time in the saddle. Just ride your bike.

    <edit to add>: That said, good shorts or bibs do make things nicer once you break in your bottom. I like bibs myself, but YMMV. $30 shorts are OK, but they generally get better as the price goes up. Bibs of similar quality will run a little higher, but not much. Finding the brand that works best for you is a crap shoot. We are all different.
    Last edited by BluesDawg; 01-09-13 at 07:06 AM.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  18. #18
    tsl
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    I'm also one who, in the three-seasons, prefers shorts to bibs. I'm not particularly "girth-enhanced", so maybe that's part of it. Mainly though, I don't want or need another insulating layer over my middle in the warm weather.

    In winter, I strongly prefer unpadded bib tights. I'm particular about pads and there are fewer choices in tights. Regular tights over regular shorts leaves me with two elastic waistbands squeezing my middle. With unpadded bibs, I just wear them over my favorite shorts and that's that. Although it also puts an extra layer over the boys, which is good in winter.

    As I said, I'm particular about pads. Remember, there are two definitions of pad at work here. What everyone usually thinks about is pad as cushion. The other definition, pad as absorbent, is the reason they were put into cycling shorts in the first place.

    I don't like thick pads. They feel awkward to me and they actually *increase* chafing on the inside of my legs, where they move along the side of the saddle. They also use lots of foam rubber which sucks up sweat like a sponge, but doesn't seem to release it anywhere, so I get swamp crotch.

    I found nirvana with the thin, microfiber pad in Aerotech Design's Pro Bike Short. It doesn't make me pedal bow-legged, it moves with me not against me along the inside of the leg, and it wicks like the dickens. I stay cool, dry, and comfortable. They feel like I'm not wearin' nuttin'. I don't even use chamois cream any more. I don't need it with these shorts. Best of all, at $40 a pair, they're fairly cheap.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  19. #19
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Given my torso is slightly longer than most people of my height, I like bibs year round. A jersey that fits we will leave some exposed skin in the back when I'm in the drops. Out of respect for those riding behind me (usually just a temporary thing until they pass), I wear bibs.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  20. #20
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    Only for #2 if you're a male. Practice the fine art of pulling down and hanging it over.
    That works for some people. As for me ... ever see that "shrinkage" Seinfeld episode?
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
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  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    That works for some people. As for me ... ever see that "shrinkage" Seinfeld episode?
    Concentrate on the "pulling down" part of the process. Lycra stretches.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawed View Post
    I bought some liner shorts, but the shorts I wore over them twisted my boys, so I went to shorts with no over shorts(you understand that we older, fuller figured gentlemen think twice about tights, etc.) Somebody recently told me I really needed to get into bibs because they were somehow better. My question is why are they better?
    As a "fuller figured" gentleman myself, bibs solve a problem with many shorts: the rolling waistband. At some girth, the waistband of bike shorts flops over, then over again, until your belly is painfully constricted. Bibs don't.

    If you've not experienced that problem, you can save the extra $20/pair, and keep riding in shorts until you've become accustomed to hours on the bike saddle.

  23. #23
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I switched to bib shorts about 3 years ago. They are best for long rides (the insert stays in place better) and if you stand frequently. Of course it all comes down to person preference.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Shorts vs bibs is kinda like boxers vs briefs. It depends on your preferences, anatomy, and sensibilities.

  25. #25
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    I prefer bibs over the shorts but whichever you choose, don't buy the cheapest ones. YOu might be prepared to go through a few pairs before you find the amount and type of padding that works best for you. a PI bib is my current favorite (most comfortable on long rides).

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