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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-14-12, 11:49 PM   #1
DGlenday
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Bibs: Why / How Are They Better Than Cycling Pants?

I have many pairs of cycling pants, but no bins.

I've seen many comments here indicating that bibs are supposed to be significantly better. Can someone give me a simple explanation about how and why they're better?

My cycling pants aren't as comfortable as they should be, and after long rides (100 miles plus) I usually have sores on by butt that last a few days. Would a bib help with that?

Also - as someone who has to take nature breaks pretty often - without getting too graphic - how TF do you do that wearing a bib?
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Old 07-14-12, 11:53 PM   #2
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Bibs have no waste band so nothing to dig in to you. As for sores... Sounds like you need bibs/pants with better padding. For nature breaks. For number one, assuming you are a guy, just pull the front down. For number two more work is required.
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Old 07-15-12, 12:07 AM   #3
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Bibs have no waste band so nothing to dig in to you. As for sores... Sounds like you need bibs/pants with better padding. For nature breaks. For number one, assuming you are a guy, just pull the front down. For number two more work is required.
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Old 07-15-12, 12:12 AM   #4
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Bibs never fall down.
Bibs mean you never get sunburn above the waistband and below your jersey (not a problem for me with a Camelbak, but for taller folks).
Bibs don't have to grip you hoping to stay up - the fit is just different.
It's not hard to whip it out when you need to water the plants, but just like "once you go bibs, you never go back", "once you go full-zip jersey you never go back", and full-zip means it's not hard to remove the jersey and remove the bibs to drop a load.
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Old 07-15-12, 12:31 AM   #5
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The biggest two advantages to bibs: no waist elastic, which really is uncomfortable. More crucial, they keep the shorts insert up in the proper position at all times. I went over to bibs when I got back into riding 8 years ago, I'll never wear non-bib shorts again. There's a reason the pros only wear racing bibs, so consider that. Non-bibular shorts really aren't so great in comparison.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:33 AM   #6
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For me, it's all about fashion. Maybe bibs work for skinny people or overweight people and people who spend a lot of money on bike clothes and feel free to indulge in confirmation bias.

I have an average build, I'm not overweight or skinny, my bike shorts don't fall down, nor do they dig into my waist, and they are as comfortable as my bibs (I have a small collection of bibs and shorts).

For bibs, I agree with a poster above, full zip jerseys help with bibs.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:41 AM   #7
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It's not about fashion Fredly.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:41 AM   #8
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First things first, for the sores, are you using chamois cream? I would highly recommend using chamois cream.

As for the shorts or bibs, if you have a gut, bibs are a godsend because there is no elastic waistband. I would imagine that it would be akin to either wearing suspenders or using a belt to keep your pants up.

I have two sets of pants/bibs:

1) The cheaper Castelli Duran bibs with the thinner and harder KISS3 chamois cause sores after an hour of riding but are okay for 2-3 hours with chamois cream. This is the same case for the cheaper Castelli Nero shorts.

2) The more expensive Castelli Endurance and Body Paint bibs with the better Progetto X2 chamois can go indefinitely with chamois cream (6 hours is my longest ride thus far). My more expensive Giordana FRC shorts with the Cirro Omniform chamois were okay for a three hour ride but the waist band dug into my gut. Since then, I got a pair of the more expensive Giordana FRC bibs with the Cirro Omniform chamois and have only ridden them with chamois cream.

Shorts or bibs, up to you. I think bibs are more comfortable but make sure you pay attention to the strap material because those can also dig into your shoulders. The importance of the chamois pad is obvious.

So, back to chamois cream - highly recommended.

Mark
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Old 07-15-12, 02:01 AM   #9
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The biggest two advantages to bibs: no waist elastic, which really is uncomfortable. More crucial, they keep the shorts insert up in the proper position at all times. I went over to bibs when I got back into riding 8 years ago, I'll never wear non-bib shorts again. There's a reason the pros only wear racing bibs, so consider that. Non-bibular shorts really aren't so great in comparison.
Mostly this...

Voler makes nice affordable bib shorts. My favorites after trying Castelli, Specialized and Giordana.
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Old 07-15-12, 03:32 AM   #10
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Wiggle with their DHB brand make an excellent and good value product.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:00 AM   #11
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I've ridden & raced for 30 years. Only benefit of bibs for me is they come up higher in back, so no exposed butt with shorter cut jerseys. I've never been bothered by a waistband. Shoulder straps are annoying, so I tuck them in the waistband and pretend they are shorts. As you will see from the rest of the replies, I am wrong and they are right.
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Old 07-15-12, 05:51 AM   #12
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Its a lie. Shorts are better than bibs for me. I can't even wear my Assos bibs without wearing a base layer shirt underneath them to prevent rubbing on my chest. I should have never wasted money on bibs.

There is a big difference in the quality of either though. You maybe just need better shorts. PI Pros are the best I have found.
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Old 07-15-12, 05:58 AM   #13
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I've got 3 bibs - Assos, Performane, and PI, and one pair of Performance elite shorts.

I prefer the shorts. The bibs are fine as well, but the waiststrap never bothers me, and the small convenience of not having shoulder straps means I can adjust my HRM and go to bathroom easier. My shorts have never been a problem shifting. Bibs actually feel a bit weird to me without the waiststrap as well.
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Old 07-15-12, 06:06 AM   #14
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Tastes differ, evidently. Personally I'm amazed that shorts seem to work better for some people, to me bibs are infinitely superior for the reasons pcad gives.
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Old 07-15-12, 06:22 AM   #15
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Shorts for me too. They stay in place and are much more comfortable without shoulder straps and the annoyance going to the bathroom
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Old 07-15-12, 06:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
My cycling pants aren't as comfortable as they should be, and after long rides (100 miles plus) I usually have sores on by butt that last a few days. Would a bib help with that?
I was the same, no matter how expensive the shorts I bought after a century ride I'd develop saddle sores within days. Part of it was being too heavy but I believe the main reason is that the shorts did not stay put, and therefore the chamois wasn't hugging the crotch area causing the issue. I switched exclusively to bibs 3 years ago and noticed that I don't have this problem anymore. The bib's straps around your shoulders is the reason they work. I have dropped about 20 lbs since, but even when I was as light as now (10 years ago) the bibs work better.

Just make sure you don't cheap out and get decent ones. Which brand/size is right for you, unfortunately will be a try-as-you-go which can get expensive.

For the down part, some bibs just feel hotter than hell in the peak of summer, and are more of a pain to put on. Again, high quality bibs and picking the right size/style will address that. Nobody mentions this brand but Hincapie bibs are the best, IMHO.
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Old 07-15-12, 07:15 AM   #17
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The only way to convince someone to use bibs is to have them buy and use a pair.
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Old 07-15-12, 07:19 AM   #18
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I was the same, no matter how expensive the shorts I bought after a century ride I'd develop saddle sores within days. Part of it was being too heavy but I believe the main reason is that the shorts did not stay put, and therefore the chamois wasn't hugging the crotch area causing the issue. I switched exclusively to bibs 3 years ago and noticed that I don't have this problem anymore. The bib's straps around your shoulders is the reason they work. I have dropped about 20 lbs since, but even when I was as light as now (10 years ago) the bibs work better.

Just make sure you don't cheap out and get decent ones. Which brand/size is right for you, unfortunately will be a try-as-you-go which can get expensive.

For the down part, some bibs just feel hotter than hell in the peak of summer, and are more of a pain to put on. Again, high quality bibs and picking the right size/style will address that. Nobody mentions this brand but Hincapie bibs are the best, IMHO.
I used bibs for long rides and got saddle sores. Bibs are not the magic bullet. If you have a good pair of shorts, they will not move around or need readjustment. It's a myth that bibs are magically held in place better than shorts - if you've got good shorts (performance elites or equivalent), they huge well enough that movement of the pad is not an issue whatsoever.

This is coming from someone who almost exclusively used bibs for the past 3 years due to all the bib-love here but recently switched to shorts and was surprised how excellent they are even on long rides.
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Old 07-15-12, 07:29 AM   #19
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OP, you're a still a non-believer, but conversion is inevitable. When that day comes, please don't start a thread telling us what we already know.
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Old 07-15-12, 07:32 AM   #20
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Maybe bibs work for skinny people or overweight people and people who spend a lot of money on bike clothes and feel free to indulge in confirmation bias.
Yes, you're right. All of those skinny and overweight racers on the pro circuit have insecurity syndromes.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:29 AM   #21
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It's not about fashion Fredly.
True. When you're a grownup on a bike, your fashion score drops a thousand points anyway.
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Old 07-15-12, 09:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrobe View Post
Its a lie. Shorts are better than bibs for me. I can't even wear my Assos bibs without wearing a base layer shirt underneath them to prevent rubbing on my chest. I should have never wasted money on bibs.

There is a big difference in the quality of either though. You maybe just need better shorts. PI Pros are the best I have found.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
I've got 3 bibs - Assos, Performane, and PI, and one pair of Performance elite shorts.

I prefer the shorts. The bibs are fine as well, but the waiststrap never bothers me, and the small convenience of not having shoulder straps means I can adjust my HRM and go to bathroom easier. My shorts have never been a problem shifting. Bibs actually feel a bit weird to me without the waiststrap as well.
See post 11
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Old 07-15-12, 09:29 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
For me, it's all about fashion. Maybe bibs work for skinny people or overweight people and people who spend a lot of money on bike clothes and feel free to indulge in confirmation bias.

I have an average build, I'm not overweight or skinny, my bike shorts don't fall down, nor do they dig into my waist, and they are as comfortable as my bibs (I have a small collection of bibs and shorts).

For bibs, I agree with a poster above, full zip jerseys help with bibs.
I agree. I have one pair of bibs and eight pair of shorts. I never wear the bibs. The should straps dig into my shouldes. The elastic in the shorts does not dig into my waste and they do not slip.

I don't agree about the fashion statment. I don't care what I look like when I ride.
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Old 07-15-12, 09:35 AM   #24
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I really like my bibs. But, I could stand to lose some weight. After I get these pounds off, I will give shorts another try, particularly for my ride to/from work. But at this point, the bibs are da bomb.
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Old 07-15-12, 10:28 AM   #25
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