A pair of bib shorts is an essential bit of kit for either cycling or turbo training. But which pair of bib shorts is best and offers the best comfort and ventilation for cycling? We review four of the best bib cycling shorts on the market today
ALTURA FIRESTORM BIB SHORTS
Credit: Steve Seyers
The Firestorm bibs cost at least half the price of two of our other test pairs, so we were expecting compromises. Yet we’re happy to report there aren’t many, finding them comfortable and functional for long sessions. The main weakness is the front panel, which is a touch loose and shapeless, and bunched up under our jersey.
Altura have stitched a flimsier mesh in this area, rather than using the same material as the leg section, which is arguably more breathable but doesn’t hold them in place quite as well. The chunky straps are excellent and sit very well underneath a jersey without chafing, and Altura’s ‘Stealth’ padding provides adequate comfort on both the road and turbo. The legs and particularly the grippers are too tight for our liking, but we’ll put this down to personal preference and being on the larger side of a medium according to the size guide.
Verdict: A couple of compromises for the price but a functional and comfortable pair of bib shorts 84%
Buy from Leisure Lakes Bike
HUUB AVENTUS BIB SHORTS
Huub say their premium cycling shorts took a year to develop alongside the rest of the Aventus range, consulting pro cyclists to source the best fabrics for fit, comfort and aerodynamics. The result is a highly breathable set of shorts with a mesh section at the rear for extra cooling, and wide elastic leg grippers that provide just the right amount of tension. Out on the road they kept us cool and comfy in hot weather, with well-integrated padding that provides plenty of support without being bulky. They also stayed taut on the drops and reaching for the aerobars, without creasing under our jersey. A low point for us was the straps, which are vented and largely unobtrusive, but rather flimsy and had a tendency to get twisted. There’s nothing fancy when it comes to design, with just some white mesh and reflective logos on the lower legs on an otherwise black canvas.
Verdict: Straps could do with tweaking, but high quality and comfort elsewhere 80%
Buy from Wiggle
SANTINI TONO STUDIO BIB SHORTS
Available in four colours to match your favourite jersey, Santini promise their high-end Tono Studio bibs ‘take comfort to new levels’. The ‘Studio’ part of the name refers to their suitability for indoor riding thanks to the superior breathability and moisture-wicking. The cut on the front is quite low and forgoes any mesh in this area by sticking with the very comfy fabric found on the leg panels. The GITevo chamois pad is luxuriously soft and comfortable, with some inserts punched in for extra ventilation. The huge leg grippers feature honeycomb-shaped silicon for a perfect thigh-hugging fit without being restrictive, while the straps are perfectly integrated and join up to a mesh section at the back. These are the priciest bibs here, and for good reason, as the superior quality will pay you back with miles of comfort – indoors and out – if you make the investment.
Verdict: A high price but luxurious and superior bibs that excel in both indoor and outdoor sessions 89%
Buy from Bike Inn
SIUNDRIED STEALTH BIB SHORTS
These unisex shorts from Sundried are all black apart from two small logos, with stealthy looks to match the stealthy pocket on the right leg. While it’s unlikely to be a deal breaker, the pocket is handy if you want somewhere more convenient than rear jersey pockets to house some nutrition (although most triathletes will have a top-tube pouch for accessible storage). The leg grippers are big and comfy with a snug fit, while the material is breathable for indoor rides and warm weather. The straps are almost identical to those on Huub’s and, likewise, we’d prefer them to be a more robust to prevent twisting. While the gel padding is light and comfy, towards the rear it’s not stitched down as well on the outer edges as the others on test, which led to slight irritation. Also questionable is the vinyl lettering on the back, which started to peel away after three washes. sundried.com
Verdict: Practical and mostly well made, but with some discomfort in the chamois 71%
Buy from Sundried