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Old 04-03-13, 05:08 AM   #1
Winnershcyclist
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BIB shorts and non standard bodys

I am trying to do 100 mile rides but read I need bib shorts to make it less uncomfortable however its been a total nightmare choosing or even obtaining I am 5'6" and a 33" waist but unless you have a washboard 20 year old body I havent managed to find the right size , According to Companys like Castelli I am a small, To others like Rapha I am Large and to Assos large non have been right small doesnt even go past my thighs, Large is tight on the straps and XL goes past my knees so am wondering should I just stick to good Waist shorts like the Assos Uno. anyone have experience on a plus 50 body and Bib Shorts love to hear especially suitable for long rides .
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Old 04-03-13, 05:22 AM   #2
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Since it looks like your budget isn't too tight, you do mention the Assos Uno shorts as one make that fits you in a regular waist band short, how about the Rapha line you mentioned, did they fit any better? I haven't had the pleasure of using their products, I have used Assos, but everything I have heard about Rapha was positive, save the prices.

I see you are in the UK, but have you looked at Bike Nashbar here in the states yet? Their house branded bib shorts fit me very well and have held up solidly for a year now. Some don't like the house branded stuff, some bad experiences as I understand it, but I have several Nashbar branded pieces of kit I like very much. I cannot pretend that I have the same problem as you do, I am 56 y.o., 6'-1" in height and 232 lbs but I have some difficulty with my short legs and long torso, same problem with the straps. The Louis Garneau brand bib shorts also work well for my build.

Best of luck in finding a pair of bibs that it you correctly and on your ride.

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Old 04-03-13, 07:59 AM   #3
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Only one way to get the right fit and that is to find a shop with plenty of stock and try before you buy. Once you find the size you need in the manufacture you like- it is easier next time. Evans Cycles normally have good stock and changing rooms.

And 5'7" with 32/4 waist and 29" inside leg. Giordana in medium fits me. Just watch out for the Italian makes where the medium seems to fit a 6' tall with 44" legs and a 28" waist.
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Old 04-03-13, 08:19 AM   #4
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Not unlike finding the right saddle, finding the right clothing can be a difficult process. I think Stapfam is giving good advice; try before you buy, if at all possible. Or, as you can do with several stores here in the US (Performance Bike and REI come to mind) buy from a place that will let you return with no questions asked. (That is just a GREAT policy from the consumer point of view.) I'm curious. You say, "...to make it less uncomfortable..." Have you had discomfort with your current shorts, and if so, what kind? There are many people who ride centuries with regular cycling shorts (and those in plain old street clothes) without any problem. My first three centuries were in regular cycling shorts. Today, I do prefer bibs but could easily deal with regular cycling shorts.


BTW, what is a "standard" body?
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Old 04-03-13, 08:30 AM   #5
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I get them smaller than the size charts say. Since they are made for "proprtionate" bodies, large also means tall. (I'm a bit Clyde) This means that after standing on the pedals, then going back to the saddle, loose material in the crotch would always catch on the nose of the seat. It also makes it look like you dropped a load in your pants. I tolerate a little tight around the middle, because it is not uncomfortable. That stuff stretches.
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Old 04-03-13, 09:08 AM   #6
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Try http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/ I have a couple of their bibs and like them. I'm 5.9 with a 36 inch 'areobelly' and the stretch and fit fine.
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Old 04-03-13, 09:27 AM   #7
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Right, I agree as noted above, sizes are all over the board and there is no standardization among manufacturers. I am 5'9" with a 33" waist and I get an excellent fit with Giordana and Pearl Izume in Medium size.

However . . . with Santini I am not Medium but jump all the way up to Extra Large!

So yes, do try before you buy!

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Old 04-03-13, 11:45 AM   #8
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This is one reason why I never buy clothing online any more unless it's exactly the same as what I've already used. This is especially true for any lower-body garments, but even with jerseys I can take an M in one style and L in another. Returns and the extra shipping are just not worth it! So I was glad when Performance Bike opened a store locally and I can try on and evaluate the products first.
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Old 04-03-13, 02:57 PM   #9
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Being able to try them on is the answer. I too have a non-cyclist type body. Now down to 5'9" (from 5'10") thanks to age with a 35" waist, 43" chest and 32" inseam I often find that bibs that fit in the waist are too long in the shoulder straps. As noted by others Italian gear is the worst. PI seems to be better.
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Old 04-03-13, 03:54 PM   #10
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There is nothing in the rule books that say bibs are required. Regular cycling shorts will work just as well. Besides, it is a lot easier to go to the bathroom.
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Old 04-03-13, 04:17 PM   #11
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There is nothing in the rule books that say bibs are required. Regular cycling shorts will work just as well. Besides, it is a lot easier to go to the bathroom.
True, but I prefer bibs. I am prone to "plumbers cleavage", and bibs prevent that,
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Old 04-03-13, 05:15 PM   #12
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My build is a cross between a aging chimp and a sprinter. The only shorts I like are worn indoors only and the elastic is shot. I have to wear bibs outdoors. I have been using Voler with great comfort. I can't stand the elastic in the front when riding shorts.
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Old 04-03-13, 05:32 PM   #13
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I know that many will say that once you go bibs, you never go back. But I don't find them to be any better than my standard shorts.
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Old 04-03-13, 08:05 PM   #14
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Pearl Izumi bottoms fit a bit bigger around the hips.
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Old 04-04-13, 01:10 AM   #15
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The reason I changed to bibs was that I was told they were better. Took the chance and bought a pair and they are more comfortable. I have never liked tightness around the waist and with normal shorts to get comfortable round the waist- the shorts had a tendency to move around when I stood up. Bibs that fit don't have that problem but how to get the right fit?

Get to a shop that has a good array of manufacturers and sizes. Pick 3 that seem the right size and price and try them on. This will tell you the size so find those in the right size and try a few more. One of those pairs will fit better so then concentrate on that manufacturer in that size but a few other designs. Eventually you will find the make- size and design that you like.

Only thing is- don't take the wife with you when clothing shopping just in case she ever takes you with her when buying shoes.

The other alternative is to go to a shop that has a salesman with a good eye for clothing fits. That was how I got onto Giordana. MY LBS suggested I try a pair when I got home and they fitted perfectly. May have been the quality of these but I only Buy Giordana now. The cut is good and so is the liner.
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Old 04-04-13, 04:13 AM   #16
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You can actually get them tailored, although you may have to look around a lot for someone who does that sort of stuff.
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Old 04-04-13, 09:13 AM   #17
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Performance Bike opened a store locally and I can try on and evaluate the products first.
I assume you do business at the Bloomfield Hills store - is their clothing selection better than that at most LBS? I note that they have one near me in Novi.
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Old 04-04-13, 09:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Winnershcyclist View Post
I am trying to do 100 mile rides but read I need bib shorts to make it less uncomfortable however its been a total nightmare choosing or even obtaining I am 5'6" and a 33" waist but unless you have a washboard 20 year old body I havent managed to find the right size , According to Companys like Castelli I am a small, To others like Rapha I am Large and to Assos large non have been right small doesnt even go past my thighs, Large is tight on the straps and XL goes past my knees so am wondering should I just stick to good Waist shorts like the Assos Uno. anyone have experience on a plus 50 body and Bib Shorts love to hear especially suitable for long rides .
One of the main reasons I don't wear bibs is that I have not yet found a pair that is comfortable, even on short rides. I'm 66 yo, 5'7 and have a 32" waist, but I also have a short torso which causes a problem with bibs. Either the shoulder straps are too loose (in a medium) or too tight (in a small). I have tried bibs from several different companies and have yet to find a pair that fits properly. I have been wearing cycling shorts for three years and have never had any of the problems that many post on these forums. For me, the Pearl Izumi Attack shorts work best and I'll continue to use them until something better comes along. I do stay away from any shorts that have an elastic waistband and will only buy shorts that use a drawstring in the waistband.

I normally ride 35 to 40 miles a day and have done several 100K rides this year and getting ready for a century and a half in two weeks. I don't know who told you that you will be more comfortable with bibs over regular shorts on a long ride, but I have certainly found it to be the opposite. If you can't find bibs that fit you properly, you won't be comfortable no matter how many people try to convince you otherwise. If you are comfortable with regular shorts, stick with them.
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Old 04-04-13, 11:24 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Winnershcyclist View Post
I am trying to do 100 mile rides but read I need bib shorts to make it less uncomfortable however its been a total nightmare choosing or even obtaining I am 5'6" and a 33" waist but unless you have a washboard 20 year old body I havent managed to find the right size , According to Companys like Castelli I am a small, To others like Rapha I am Large and to Assos large non have been right small doesnt even go past my thighs, Large is tight on the straps and XL goes past my knees so am wondering should I just stick to good Waist shorts like the Assos Uno. anyone have experience on a plus 50 body and Bib Shorts love to hear especially suitable for long rides .
No help with bibs, but I used to work in a large brown building at Winnersh Xroads, which has since been demolished and replaced by a supermarket.
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Old 04-05-13, 02:39 AM   #20
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I'm just glad the material stretches. I just bought my first bib, a XXL from Threeface off of EBay. I guess Italian cyclists run to long legs and short upper bodies! At 5'11 with a 30 inch inseam, that's not me. But, the stuff stretches and with a bit of initial effort it works. Next time though I'll try before I buy.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:08 AM   #21
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I am 5'6" with a 35in waist. I just purchased a LG Bib and my only complaint could be that it is tight around my quads (could be the compression rings on th e bibs though). Longest time in them in the saddle is 3 and 1/2 hours. no blisters or hot spots. At $90.00 us it is a good value for me.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:23 AM   #22
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Of course if you have trouble finding bib shorts that fit comfortably stick with regular shorts. Both Performance and Pearl Izumi bib shorts fit fine on me, and I swear by them for longer rides (30+ miles) or rides with climbing when you are frequently out of the saddle to pedal.
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Old 04-06-13, 02:21 PM   #23
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Well, after trying to learn to love bibs I am giving up. Has anyone ever cut the top off a pair of bibs? Will they unravel to a birds nest of spandex thread? I know they will roll up under my aero belly, but everything does so I am used to it.
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Old 04-07-13, 02:52 AM   #24
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Bibs are designed so that the shoulder straps hold them up and in place. Without the straps I think you find them falling off(no elastic waistband or tie to hold them in place). I wouldn't do it.
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Old 04-07-13, 08:00 PM   #25
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"read I need bib shorts to make it less uncomfortable"

Where did you read that?


As per above, if you have a plumber's crack problem, be all means, keep looking for bibs. Otherwise, bibs won't make you more comfortable, and with straps and extra material over your back, they might make you less comfortable.

Why not simply order several pairs of bibs and send back all but the one (or more) you like? Each company seems to have liberal return policies.

By the way, if you're shooting for a century, and you don't have a full zip jersey, then using restrooms will prove a bit of a challenge.
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