Bib shorts and base layer without a jersey. Why the hate?

What am I missing?
I’ve only been riding for a few years, so don’t have many ingrained cycling beliefs. My body produces PLENTY of heat when I exercise (read sweaty) and I found myself leaving my jersey unzipped the vast majority of the time. I have started just wearing bib shorts with a base layer short sleeve shirt underneath, and loved the minimalism/comfort of it (during warm weather rides). Yet, I see almost no-one else going this route. And…other cyclists have repeatedly asked me in judging tones “where is your jersey”.
With the advent of quality cargo bib shorts (pockets on back and both legs) and base layer options (long sleeve, short sleeve, aero fabrics, etc), I’m not finding great purpose to the added jersey.
For non-racers, is the jersey just for “fashion”, historical, modesty? (excluding the need for warmth of cool/cold rides of course).
Would love to know I’m not the only one, or at least some benefits that I’m missing.

I guess I don’t get it… A good jersey is better at cooling than a base layer I think. Unless you’re wearing a super-scandalous base layer. Though I suppose some new jerseys are bordering on being lingerie as well.

Maybe this should be in the “unpopular opinions thread” but base layers are only good in cold weather.

That being said… Rock the baselayer if you want. I sure don’t care!


Because I think most cyclists prefer back pockets (jerseys alcan be more aero too)


I think it’s more about what happens when you crash - I’ve crashed in tshirts and in jerseys and the jersey slides and (generally) preserves skin better than the cotton shirt, which rips immediately and bunches up. N=1 but that’s why I ride in jerseys.

Re:base layers, the podcast covered the science a while back and iirc they definitely don’t aid in cooling when layered under a jersey. High-quality jerseys (I’m partial to Pactimo’s Ascent line) def cool better than just a base layer in my experience.

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While it may be functional w/ cargo shorts, it is look that communicates a bit of inexperience to other riders.

And yes, a lot of that is about confirming to certain style rules, etc.

But a good jersey is an essential piece of kit….more sun protection, aerodynamic and pockets to carry your stuff (or more stuff if you wear cargo shorts)

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Yeah if you have cargo shorts it’s ok maybe - but it’s easier fishing stuff out of back pockets when moving…you’d need to stop if you use shorts with leg pockets :thinking:

There’s usually more wind/shower/water proof in a jersey (especially a gabba), a jersey is usually smoother and better fitting too and the pockets are quite useful too; so why would you want to wear a base layer alone. Besides it would just look odd. What I have done occasionally is wear a long sleeved base layer under a short sleeved jersey and forgone arm warmers.


I frequently wear a lightweight Tee or base layer only when I head out for hill repeat days. I live two miles up a 5 mile climb, so I’ll often just roll out the driveway straight into my efforts, and in an hour of riding, I’ll never be more than about 2 miles from my house, and with carbs in the bottle, I don’t need anything else. On these days, If the weather is warm, its nice to ditch the extra layer. The Patagonia Capilene lightweight has been my go too, and with the bit shorter sleeves, helps ease the tan lines from jerseys. I think where you’re going wrong is with the bib straps over the shirt…

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Ok… couple of questions:

  1. Is this road or MTB?

  2. Are you wearing the shirt under your bib shorts? So the bib looks like suspenders?

Why not just a jersey (and shorts) and no baselayer?

Or, shorts (not bibs) and a tshirt.

Bibs and baselayer without a jersey just looks like you’re walking around in your underwear.


You do you, dude.

While I do appreciate the functionality of jersey with back pockets (and I wear jerseys most the time), I’m just as comfortable with my hip bag and a tank or tee.

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Thanks for all the replies and advice. I think I was confused by advertising that convinced me that a quality base layer would keep me cooler, and just stuck with that. I had been wearing the base shirt under the straps for road riding, As I am always reminding myself: everyday is a school day the rest of your life. Learn and move on, thanks again everyone!


I personally wouldn’t like pockets on my pants with my legs spinning, jersey back pockets would be better for that. I do use a top tube bag and sometimes wear just a fitness shirt over my bib. I would have a laugh at seeing someone with the bib over the shirt, at least laughing to myself about it!

C’mon people. There are rules. Everybody knows the rules.

Let’s do our best to stay on point and maintain decorum.


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A buddy of mine wore a wife beater style base layer on a long ride back in the 90’s and got a terrible sunburn. Was comfy for awhile though.