Bib shorts that don't rub

Has anyone ever figured out a reliable way of buying bib shorts that don’t rub?

I have done a lot of miles in a set of castelli volo Bibs that have never caused me any issues. I often read comments about castelli Bibs not having great chamois. My volos have a rubber mesh gripper section at the bottom that started to curl up pretty soon after I got them, which annoys me, but I can’t fault the level of comfort.

I also own a pair of assos and a pair of rapha bibs that cost significantly more than my castellis. I like the assos Bibs but the rapha ones cause severe chafing within half an hour even with chamois cream. I can’t really work out why I don’t get along with them as they feel perfect while standing and at the beginning of a ride, but they always cause pain afterwards so they’re basically useless to me.

My castellis are wearing out so I’m going to buy another pair but I would like to buy a pair that doesn’t have an annoying rubber mesh. The issue is I have just never figured out a way to know if Bibs will cause chafing without riding a long way in them, at which point you can’t return them. Now that I can’t leave the house to try any shorts on in the shops, I would love to know if anyone has any tips! If there is no way of knowing then I’ll just buy more volos.


Edit: I should add that my training used to be one or two long outdoor rides a week but I’m now doing 5 sessions on the trainer which seems to exacerbate the problem!

I really like Pactimo bibs, and all their kit to be honest. It is well priced, looks good and “just works”.

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I’m also riding :scorpion: Volo’s. Two years in and they are ready to be replaced (maybe 500 hours of use?). Weirdly enough, I don’t have any leg grip curling issues that everyone else seems to have, but the rest of the garment is just kinda lost its shape, and pad stitching has become hard.

Definitely chamois shape/thickness is going to be very personal and unfortunately theres no real way to tell besides trial and error. Might feel great on a 1 hour trainer and completely terrible on a 2 hour outdoor ride…or vice versa.

Having a serious look at Louis Garneau bibs.

Chapeau! to them for having a female-specific bib. The first and only time I’ve seen that. Respect. :+1:

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If you guys are interested in trying Pactimo this referral link should give you 20% off your first order

I’m actually a brand ambassador for them this year but our BA discount codes haven’t been sent out yet or I’d have let you have that instead.

At this time we do not offer shipping to Canada.


But maybe I can get Adam to bring a pair back for me. :laughing:

(crappy year for him not being able to show off his jersey)

This is a bit like the running shoe debate when I ran…it’s so personal and annoyingly as mentioned above trial and error is required…and then they usually discontinue the ones that you like or update it so it isn’t quite the same as you remember! FWIW I use DHB bloc on the turbo - they have a chamois which is ok for 90mins - 2hrs but I wouldn’t use them on a long ride. I have 2 pairs of entry level Castelli’s ….whatever the weird Italian name was a couple of years back - they change it every year or so. I’ve found Castelli good but there isn’t much extra value in the higher cost versions. I also have some Caratti bibs as well - 2 pairs - had them 5 years and they are still great - have a thin but brilliantly shaped chamois - same one that Giordana use. Use Muc off chamois cream as well for every ride and I rarely get saddle sores - don’t like Assos - chamois is to thick …but plenty of my mates won’t ride in anything else…that is the problem :grin:

I didn’t realise they don’t ship to Canada.

I feel for all those unable to show off their hard-earned jerseys this year. I see Alex Dowsett has taken to wearing his UK TT Champ kit on the turbo during Zwift events :joy:

I really like the Pearl Izumi Pro line. It works well for me, though that doesn’t mean much for anyone else’s specific case.

I also like the Rapha Core series - they provide enough comfort for my situation, so I haven’t bothered spending into their higher tiers. Ignorance is bliss perhaps.

If I had to make a choice of one over the other for the rest of time, I’d opt for the PI. For me they are the right blend of comfort, weight, quality, fit…and they go on sale often.

I don’t have any experience with any other PI lines - only the Pro. They don’t seem to get nearly the mentions of Assos or Rapha in these sort of threads, but I think they’re great.

As usual, and even though I said “for me” a dozen times…YMMV. :slight_smile:



FWIW my first bib shorts were Garneau and purchased on closeout at 60% off for something like $100. They were really comfortable, would buy again. Our club used to buy from Voler, stuff is made in central coast of California with Italian fabrics and Italian chamois. I really like the Black Label with 6+ hour CompHP chamois and buy them on sale. I don’t like the Voler thermal bibs or the cheaper chamois options - the CompHP chamois is only way to go with Voler. I’ve done a handful of 10-16 hour days and the CompHP chamois has delivered every time.

Last year our club switched to Pactimo and they are about the same IMHO, but we pay more and they are made in China. Within the last two weeks I received the Pactimo Summit Stratos 12-hour bibs and two pair of the Voler Black Label (on sale). Honestly the Pactimo feel about the same as Voler, maybe my opinion will change after a few more rides :man_shrugging: : For comparison I’ve got a nice pair of Assos T.tiburu_s7 thermal fall/spring bibs, the chamois is a little nicer but again price/performance goes to Voler Black Label (sale price, saved $40+ over Pactimo club discount and Assos discounted / sale price). The Voler Black Label has changed over the years and every version has been great.

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I have three pairs of Castelli Volos and three pairs of Castelli Free Aero Race 4s.

Volos were my favorite bib shorts until I got the Free Aero Race 4s. They’re now my favorites by far. The chamois are thicker and better suited for longer rides.

I haven’t had curling leg grippers on any of my six pairs, so that’s something you might be able to address with warranty in the future.

Cycling clothing is an extremely personal thing. I think if Castellis worked great for you in the past, you should try them again. Competitive Cyclist currently has them on sale, albeit in limited colors because the sale has been going on for awhile.

For anyone else looking to try Castelli, they run small, FYI. I’m a borderline L/XL with other brands of bibs, but XXL with the Castellis, and they are still race tight.

check the 7mesh thread for a code and a guarantee.

I didn’t buy from them direct, I bought from a reseller, but the fit is weird to me. They are a bit tight in the crotch. That said, it sounds like your fit is a bit loose in that area, and the tightness may work better for you.

I have, Assos T.7, Rapha (Core), Sugoi, Pactimo, Voler, Castelli (skin suit), The Black Bibs, 7mesh, Jakroo. They all work for me, but 7mesh is the oddest of them all. Not to mention that you get panty wedge with them.

With the 30 day usage guarantee, direct from them, and 25% off, it’s worth a shot. I wouldn’t buy another pair, and would spend on Assos, Voler, Jakroo, Pactimo instead.

I found Rapha Core adequate, the chamois was a bit lacking, but the fit was fine.

Your not wrong - I am 5’7" tall and weigh 60.5kg and I’m still size medium in Castelli - good knows who buys size small in Castelli bibs! :grin:

Any chance you could take a pic and some measurements of the chamois in the Rapha core bibs? I can’t find this anywhere but really want to give these bibs a try. Thank you!!!

After the 2nd ride my opinion changed, these are very nice. Looking forward to trying them on a long ride.

Just got a pair of Pearl PROs and my god they are luxurious. Soft touch fabrics and the perfect compression to stay comfortable

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