Bib shorts (probably any cycling shorts) are a scam

Get Rapha kit on sale. Have 3-4 sets to rotate through. Wash on gentle without detergent right after the ride. Hang dry. They’ll last several years at least.

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I disagree. I was only thinking this morning riding along, toasty and warm in 3 degrees Celsius that i have a ton of money wrapped up in cycling shorts and jerseys for every weather and i don’t begrudge any of it because it’s all good stuff. The only pair of shorts i have no regard for are a cheap, shop-brand pair that cost 30% of the price of the good ones. I ride 6 days a week, rotating through about 4 pairs and they’ve all suffered hundreds of hours of being pressed against my hairy arse and then washed and hung up to dry overnight. They show no signs of wear at all until the pad starts to feel thin after a couple of years.
I think everything for cycling is quite expensive, but then again it’s all pretty good stuff. It’s all Castelli kit.

Don’t buy cheap stuff: Life lesson.


Is that necessarily a bad thing?



he can buy 16 $60 bibs for the price of 4 rapha. He could ride daily for 2 weeks without repeating shorts.

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I used to work at an organization that put on three cross country (west coast to east coast) cycling rides each summer. Basically 60 days straight of riding. The bibs are essentially nsfw at the end of it.

The assumption here is that all bibs perform exactly the same. We know that that’s absolutely not true. I have bibs that are absolutely unridable that I just need to donate or something. Right now, I could have two more pairs of my ‘expensive’ bibs with all the money I’ve wasted buying bibs that I can’t ride. The last time I tried to save a little bit, I was off the bike for a week with a physical problem I’ve never had, that stemmed from how the bibs folded as I pedaled.

Here is an article from Slowtwitch detailing triathlete saddle preferences:

Here’s John Cobb talking:
“The problem with pressure mapping is that you take 10 riders and put them on a bike. They’ll go through it and say, ‘this is the seat for me.’ A pretty good percentage of the time, it’ll have the worst pressure points [of all the saddles they tried]. And then that same rider can change their shorts to a different chamois, and it’ll completely change the pressure map. The chamois and the type of shorts have a huge effect on the seat.”

Now, he’s talking about something else, yes, but the point is: different chamois perform differently on different people. It’s way more complicated than just saying “This $30 pair works for me and lasts forever, everyone else is wasting their money.”


My collegiate team went with white side and back panels one year. The girls tried to warn us that it wouldn’t be pretty but no, we were all convinced we’d look super Euro and awesome. The first race of the year was cold and rainy and… revealing.

I’ve still got bibs from the early 2010s that I use on the trainer and under baggies though. The leg band elastic is well past its prime but they are not even close to see-through.


While I agree cycling clothes are expensive many companies run promotional deals and their products can be had at a discounted rate. While expensive I will say with cycling clothes you get what you pay for and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong or just doesn’t know how to care for them and probably doesn’t know how to put them on correctly.

My Velocio Signature Bibshorts ($250) are the nicest, most comfortable, and most important piece of clothing I own. I have 2 pairs and have had them for going on 2 years. Washed after each use so they don’t get bacteria build up and ALWAYS hung out to dry NEVER put in the dryer. They are never used on the trainer only for outdoor rides. Cycling clothes need to be taken care of.

I bought a performance bike kit one time for around $80 total. That first ride I thought I had games the system and was pretty stoked. It all went down hill from there. The kit started fraying and never fit the same after.

I will gladly pay more money for clothes from brands who take pride in using nice materials, quality stitching, super fit and good looks. And I ended paying less in the long run because the clothes last.


fair points…
But also assuming something is better because is more expensive is a fallacy.

Using your example. I had a “tri saddle” on my bike. ISM something or other. It was unrideable. I had it for a year and on the trainer i would always end in pain.
I switch to what most people call a road saddle (like 1/2 the price of the ISM saddle) and it is wonderful. I ride on aero all the time and it just works for me.

Point is. Its lower cost gamble to buy a 60$ bib and try it out and not working than buying a 250 bib and figure out later than the $60 one worked the same for him/her.

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Personally…I think everyone is taking wild precautions with washing expensive bibs because …they spent $250 on them, not because they are somehow different or have different requirements than non cycling clothes.

In the wash, then in the dryer. Then in a drawer…then wear them. Cant fathom why someone would want to overcomplicate it…

Only difference is for jerseys. Pulling them right out of the wash and wearing them works perfectly fine lol…they’ll be dry in 10 minutes of riding in the summer. Bibs still need the dryer because of the chamois.

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Air drying leads to longer lasting gear. Not cycling gear, but gear in general. I air dry most everything - including expensive cycling gear, but also comparatively cheap things like shirts and jeans. Basically only use the drier for things when I’m in a huge rush and need an item before it will air dry or for things like towels and sheets


I agree the prices are wild but it’s been a long time since bibs are what I used to call “water soluble.” It’s been a decade at least since I’ve own bibs that have become see-through from use.

Now I find they lose their stretch and support before anything but even then it’s after thousands of miles and years of weekly washes. Even some of the" cheaper" ones have held up fine. Even with some “emergency” dryer uses.

I’d be curious to know what OPS wash care is like. Detergent type (and amount) , washer type, washer temp and cycle, and drying. Don’t use a dryer.

I have several pairs of fox bibs that have lasted 4+ years are still comfy and in great shape. Pactimo going on 2+ years. And I machine wash and dry them all.

I’m sure it does last Longer. Life’s too short to worry about the 301st day of wear for a pair of shorts though IMO.

In the other hand…maybe I’m just lazy. Either way…my level of emotional attachment to clothes and the laundering process is minimal :joy:

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Rapha’s Core bib shorts are $115 and are a definite step up from my several pairs of The Black Bibs that I own. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are twice as good though, so where the diminishing returns are no longer worth it is up to you. Also, they aren’t so good that I can’t ever wear cheaper bibs again but are definitely more comfortable.

Full Disclosure: I also didn’t pay full price for them. They had a 25% off sale a month ago and grabbed those and the core cargo bibs.


I don’t think you need to break the bank on the top end Rapha or other premium bib shorts but it’s worth the money to buy good bib shorts or anything for that matter that is a contact point. Your hands and butt are a major contact point and can make ore break your ride.

I fell into the trap when I first started indoor training in thinking that I could use low end shorts/bibs but I was very wrong. If I’m stopping my 1.5 hour workout because my butt can’t take it any more then I’m shooting myself in the foot.

Cycling can be a very expensive hobby but you can save money on some things but don’t go for the low end on your shorts/bibs. I’ve learned from my mistakes.


Depends on how LONG those daily rides are.

I have a ~$60 pair of shorts (not bibs) from MEC/REI that are 4 years old and in great condition, much better shape than my 2-yr old $200 Castelli bibs. However, I can’t wear the $60 pair for more than an hour, they just aren’t constructed to do that. The $200 shorts I’ve ridden for 5-6 hours w/o problems.

Yeah, if you’re only doing 1hr rides, go cheap. :+1:


Sure. A good pair of bib is money well spent no matter the price point.
The question is… how much better is a $250 bib over a $60 bib?
is the padding that much better?

When it come to things, many tend to believe price dictate quality. Its called price bias.

Another well-publicized double-blind taste test was conducted in 2011 by Prof. Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire.[17][18] In a wine tasting experiment using 400 participants, Wiseman found that general members of the public were unable to distinguish expensive wines from inexpensive ones.[19] “People just could not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine.”[20]

Im sure if they do the same with bibs you would be surprised of the results (if both bib use decent padding that is)

Don’t know about Bib shorts, but almost everything else biking related is comically priced.
To me the worst examples are mountain bike jerseys, more often than not, just a plain workout shirt no different than the 10$ ones at Old Navy, only with some “logos” on them…often priced north of 60$

Same goes for the “baggy” mountainbike shorts we like to wear over our bibs. I find the vast majority of them to be no better than regular workout shorts costing less than half

I come from a running background and running shoes can vary in price and quality. I never felt like I needed the super expensive shoes at $200 but the middle of the road shoes from $130 to $150 were all the same as far as quality. The question was what fit me better. Same with bib shorts. Find what works for you and stick with it. Nothing worse than trying a new chamois and finding half way into a 80 mile ride that it chafes.

I’m not bib shaming anyone. If the lower end bibs work for you, then go for it but it’s certainly been my experience that the middle of the road ones fit better for me and definitely last longer.