Skin suit vs bibs and Jersey

Besides the obvious of a couple watts of aero, is there any huge advantages of a skinsuit to bibs and Jersey for xco racing? What do you guys prefer? The main reason I’m asking is im a huge fan of pactimo, and I notice you can get a skinsuit from them starting at $160, versus $120+ for a bib, plus $120+ for a jersey. They also let you choose whether you want a left, a right, or no rear pocket on the skinsuit.

My team is using Louis Garneau and I can’t comment on Pactimo but I love the 2-in-1 style ski suits for XC racing. There is enough pocket space for food and spare bottle (in the case of XCM) and they are quite comfortable. The only downside I can see is if you fall and wreck two items instead of potentially just one.

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I time trial in the UK and companies like Nopinz put a huge amount of research into skinsuit aerodynamics as you are the biggest drag on the bike. They have different suits depending on your speed and your hand/elbow position on the tt bars. All this matters at 25 - 32mph on a tarmac road - I would think that most of this is obsolete on any kind of mtb/xc racing where speeds are lower and chances of falling and trashing a very expensive skin suit are higher - think I would stick to bibs and jersey unless you are lucky or talented enough to have your kit supplied for free! I know in road racing skins suits with pockets are worn by the pros these days to help with aerodynamics in break aways….but then if they want something they can radio the team car!

I use the COURE 2 in 1 suit:( I love it for XCO, XCM and MTB 100s… or anything really. Its so comfortable and never moves, feels like wearing pjs. I’m spoiled now and can’t race in anything else. When I put on my Pactimo bibs for the trainer or normal trail rides I remember how much I miss the suit.


Mid-race #2s can be quite difficult.

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Skinsuits, in my view, are so much more comfortable than bibs/jersey. Yep, less practical, but I find the gains more than just aero👍


Road suits have come a long ways in the last few years and the trickle down from the pro level is complete. Our team uses Cuore and I ride the 2 in 1 road suit (San Remo style) almost exclusively. The fit is more snug up top and the cut of the bottoms fit a little higher which is just super comfortable for us not as lean aging guys. Pad just seems to stay in place ever so slightly better (probably just in my head). Plenty of pocket room. No wrinkles or bunching around love handle and front belly area. Arms and shoulder cut is longer and tighter=comfortable and aero.

For reference I’m the middle dude at 5’9" 165# in a size small. The dude in the stars and stripes is wearing one and the other old wanker is wearing the old style bib and jersey cause he’s just old AF and doesn’t get it. :grinning:


Our club uses Pactimo and I got the SS this fall for the exact reason you mentioned,it is WAY cheaper than a jersey / bib combo.

Only got to wear it a few times before weather got cold, but I liked it a lot. Ribbed upper material for aero, good chamois, etc.

I do miss having more pocket space vs. jersey…only having one pocket is kinda a bummer, especially if you are carrying a phone. I wish they gave you a 2 pocket option. Not a problem for most of our rides (1-2 hours) but it could be an issue on our longer Sat rides (4 hours).

The suits are cheaper, more aero, and more comfortable imo. I’ve switched to them almost exclusively.

Only time I wear a bib these days is on the trainer.

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and he is going cycling in sandals! :grinning:

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We use Castelli. I use both the San Remo skinsuit (full zip, 3 pockets) and the equivalent bib/jersey combo. One feature I really about the skinsuit is that even when you stuff the pockets with all your crap it stays tight against your back instead of hanging down over your ass. The front zipper also stays much flatter at the bottom than the jersey when riding in the drops. Cliffs notes: it just looks more pro.

Some disadvantages
-doesn’t fit everyone. If you torso : leg ratio is not “average”
-doesn’t stay put as well as a bib. This is because a bib has those stretchy suspender bits to hold it in place. In the San Remo, the jersey material has to accomplish this and it is not the same material. I’ve wondered if Castelli couldn’t implement a built in suspender strap but still sew the jersey to the short.
-while initial $ outlay is less than a jersey/short combo, crash replacement is more spendy if you only need to replace one of the two.

Bingo and that’s a big one. I have 2 that I won’t wear because 1/2 of it is torn up. If I’m buying then I’m getting separates.

I got a skinny (actually, a two in one) in my team order last season and what surprised me is how much more comfy they are than bibs & jersey. This season we have skinsuits (Nalini) and they’re just as comfy and cooler than the 2 in 1. I’m a fan.

Definitely more comfy IMO, most “road” skinsuits have 2 pockets these days, which is enough for me on shorter rides (no food required)

another huge fan of the Castelli San Remo. I ride them all the time now.

Sooo cheeky…I like it

To be honest, there’s also the acceptable fashion component. Where I ride, if you’re a mountain biker and you show up in a skin suit, you better be fast enough to get a podium spot. Otherwise there’s friendly jabs from friends and other riders about wearing the skin suit. That said, I agree that it’s always seemed like a much more practical piece of kit.

They really stand behind their stuff. Not bashing others – just know a teammate had a seam start to come apart and they just had him get an extra when we did our next order.

#1 or #2 can be difficult if you are not on the course with the skinsuit.

I have to have help with putting my tri suit on. Stupid broad shoulders.

True…I had an issue with that at IM 70.3 Worls in Chattanooga. Racing in Castelli San Remo, came into T2, felt like I needed to pee…hit the portapotty and realized it was gonna be more than a quick stop. Wrestling the suit back on was no easy task.

Happened again at the halfway point in the run. Was pretty sweaty by then and getting the suit back on that time was even worse.

But that is alo the very rare occasion 9at least for me). I don’t think I would let extreme / rare situarions influecne what would be everyday advantages.

I guess that’s the benefit of a 2-in-1 suit versus a true skin suit, the 2-in-1 are easy on and off with a zipper in the front.

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