Are big brands’ bib shorts worth it?

I’m on a look for new pair of bib shorts for long endurance rides. But are those big brands along the lines of Castelli Assos Rapha etc really worth it or say own line from Wiggle like dhb or Sundried (UK based ) are equally good? I have two cheap pairs from decathlon to use for turbo sessions and hardly feel any difference to Castelli which costs 5 times more

This is a very personal thing. Some people seem to be able to ride on barbed wire and barely feel it. Others (me) can buy the best bibs and saddles and still have issues. For me, good bibs are absolutely worth every penny. For others, BlackBibs are just fine. It’s really a YMMV kind of thing that only you can decide.

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My Rapha bibs are much more comfortable than my Black bibs. I use both for 1-1.5hr rides. Longer rides, only the Rapha.

My sample is my Allez Sprint that I run 28c on the majority of the time and a chromoly track fixie frame with 23c’s. The Allez Sprint feels like a Cadillac in comparison.

Considering the chamois is most of the suspension on your bike, I think it’s money well spent and very noticeable for me. I wouldn’t go by trainer feel at all… what are you even transmitting through the frame?

As others said, YMMV.

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I’m a convert to high quality bibs (Eliel), especially for indoors. When I first started training indoors I used by older/cheaper shorts for indoor rides, and saved my ‘good stuff’ for outdoor rides. That was a good learning experience :slight_smile: If you are going to be doing 3+ hour trainer rides I think most people would benefit form high quality bibs.
That said, everyone is different, but if you have problems with saddle sores/chaffing with lower cost bibs, it is definitely worth trying some higher quality ones. If you don’t have problems for the riding that you do, then no need to spend the extra money.

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Somehow my indoor setup eats up the inner stitching, just back of the crotch, of my shorts like there’s no tomorrow. I love to use my more expensive bibs indoors but I’m too poor and have no sewing skills. I found some inexpensive short on Aliexpress that were just as good as my mid-range bibs (Voler, Pactimo, & pre bk Performance) but at 25% of the price (I’m defining mid range as >$150 MSRP but ~$100 on sale). Haven’t gone more than 5 hours on the trainer but it was fine over 4.

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I think so. Assos for sure. Rapha is very good too, though I only have their “core” line, which is pretty awesome for what it is.

I used to also like Voler (with upgraded chamois) on the lower price spectrum, but the kits I bought this year have done something odd with sizing. The fit is much bigger than it used to be, which is upsetting to me as I bought 3 kits, all blind.

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For me yes - my current favorite is Giordano Pro level. Not much is more important in cycling than a comfortable saddle and bib shorts. I find the more expensive shorts fit better, are more comfortable and last longer.

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I had this issue too. At the time, my go to were Assos shorts and Power Arc saddle. I’ve switched to mostly Rapha Classic Bibshorts II and a Selle SMP saddle and it stopped. Not sure if it was the saddle or the bibs, but it was a VERY expensive lesson. I ruined FIVE pairs of Assos on the trainer :cry:

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I recently restitched my Free 4.0s from this same wear. If you get it before it really unravels it’s pretty easy. I’m not going to win any 4h ribbons, but it gets the job done.

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Same bike and setup but doesn’t happen outdoors?! I found the only sure way of slowing it down is going old school and putting this on my bike, Selle San Marco Rolls saddle. Otherwise, I’m rubbing on the clamps (electrical tape helps but I’m still eating).

Definitely a YMMV. Bought a top notch pair of Assos and didn’t get on with them. Likewise with a more modestly priced Endura offering. Then got a pair of Rapha classic bibs and my buttocks and scruttocks have never felt more cosseted. Just annoying that Rapha don’t do as many discounts these days as one pair now have a small hole and will need replacing soon.

Is there a difference? Yes.

Is it worth it? That depends.

I seemingly can wear almost anything without issues as long as it’s clean (so I don’t get saddle sores) and I get out of the saddle at least every 15 min. I still have a pair of 10 year old Tri shorts in my rotation for short trainer rides. I own some nice bibs from Rapha or Eliel and they most certainly are much better than my Black Bibs or other cheap ones but I definitely don’t think the Eliel ones are 6x better ($240 vs $40). The question of worth will be very personal and come down to your budget and any issues that the cheap bibs are or are not causing you.

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Expensive bibs probably use expensive compression fabric. Amazon bibs use thin lycra. The strong compression fabric holds the chamois in place without letting it chafe against your skin. The thin stuff gets see-through too…

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Well…

All my bibs have been like cheap stuff.
The “most expensive” I had was like $60 from Black Bibs.

Then I got a pactimo on sale…

IMO, the price diference (of the on sale price that is), WORTH IT!

Point is, probably full price is not worth it (yet maybe it is), but if you can get some on sale… is 100% worth it

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Pactimo Raptor was recently on sale, think I paid 118 delivered. Awesome bibs. The Pactimo 12-hour are a little better, but I’ll be buying more of the Raptor as it’s a full coverage chamois like the 12-hour. Raptor is definitely a step up in padding comfort versus similarly priced top-of-the-line Voler (older club kit), however I had no problems doing a double century with the Voler. And FWIW I don’t use chamois cream.

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Exactly. If cheaper stuff works fine for you, then likely more expensive stuff won’t be worth it. It’s really where on the price/quality curve is ‘good enough’ for you, and that depends on things like comfort, chaffing/saddle sores, as well as smaller things like ‘fits better’. I really scoffed at the more expensive stuff until it solved real pain/comfort problems for me, and also find that it just in general fits better all around. I’ve also made use of the free repair service to save a pair of bibs after a crash, so there can be other ways the more expensive brands provide value.

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Definitely agree with @bbarrera and @Joelrivera . Pactimo is good stuff. I just wish my clubs would move away from Voler. I feel like I need to donate my club kits cause I just don’t like the new Voler sizing/cut. Unfortunately I can’t. I also like Jackroo, but my one club that used Jackroo moved to Voler this year. I may have to size down with Voler now, that may be it.

Pactimo has always been good and reasonably priced on sale, hope they don’t change too.

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:rofl:

My opinion based on N=1 is that mid-range (Pactimo, Voler) is better than low-end (black bib, amazon) and high end (Rapha, Assos) are the best. The biggest differences between the tiers are chamois quality, fabric, and construction.

Bibs, like saddles, are very individual. You’ll find plenty of people who are perfectly happy with low end and plenty of people who say that only Rapha/Assos/etc work for them.

If you haven’t, give the mid-range a try. Pactimo makes really quality bibs and you can pick up their top-end bibs for 1/2 the price of a Rapha of Assos bib (on sale which seems to be almost always).

That said, I have a few pairs of Rapha bibs that are seemingly indestructible and are as comfortable after 5k miles as they were when I bought them.

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The good stuff often lasts much longer too. I have Assos bibs that are at least 7 or 8 years old that still haven’t faded enough to cause people to prefer to pull rather than draft me.

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