Bibshorts Quality/Price Range

I started cycling/training about 1.5 years ago and been using entry level bibshorts (<$150 USD) I got from various manufacturers/LBSs. With heavy use (training 4-5 times a week) they are definitely worn down. Either the stitching around the chamois pad is getting undone or the lycra around the saddle area is getting worn down.

This holiday season I decided to get some Competizione Bibshorts ($139 USD) from Castelli. I decided Castelli based on recommendations and some research. Once I figured out my size I got a pair and absolutely love the fit. But within a month of getting them and a few indoor trainer rides I noticed that the stitching around the chamois pad was already damaged:

I concede this might have been a trivial issue but considering I just bought these and spent $140 for these I figured I would contact Castelli. I did and they quickly processed a warranty request and sent me a second pair free of charge. Great! But once I did a single ride the same issue occurred. Stitching gets damaged around the chamois, and probably not coincidentally in the same area. I am assuming the stitching gets caught on the saddle when I get on the bike but I don’t believe I have any bike fit issues.

To Castelli’s credit their support team has been great. I just notified them that their replacement product experienced the same “issue” and they agreed to send me one of their more higher end bibshorts, the Endurance 3 Bibshort ($159), free of charge.

Is this normal? I have fully accepted, like the rest of us, that our hobby is an expensive one and that cycling kit can get up there in cost but are bibshorts “worth getting” expected to be $150-200+ USD range and anything below that will deteriorate quickly?


Bibs are expensive. I know I sound pretentious as hell saying this, but $130-150 for bibs is unfortunately around mid-tier for most companies. Im a big fan of Le Col, but only their higher end stuff. Their “sport” line is on par with what youd get from the local sporting goods store on sale for $39. Just dont ever buy it full retail unless you need it now. Theyre always on sale, or have a strava code for $50-60 off (which you can stack on top of their sale price!). Their pro and hors line stuff is really top notch.

For castelli, their free-air line has been good to me. Bought 2 of them on sale for maybe 100 each? Only thing I dont like about castelli is their fit is absolutely bonkers for me. Im a 34" waist, 34" inseam and wear a XXL bib, im a L or XL in every other brand I have. I have one of their winter jackets in XXXL with a 42 inch chest…Thats a large “jersey fit” or xl “jacket fit” for pretty much every other jacket I own.

Black Bibs premium line is really good too at around 100. I like thier entry level stuff for MTB rides when im moving around a lot but when Im seated the whole time on the trainer, I prefer the nicer ones.


That has been my impressions but I suppose I am curious what you can expect from “mid-tier” and “high end” bibs respectively in terms of longevity and “features”?


Lycra that lasts, chamois that lasts, doesn’t fall apart or become see through in a month.

I’ve found Castelli stuff reasonably durable, ditto Gore and Assos.

I’ve had multiple issues with Le Col in the past and now won’t buy them again. Rapha Core stuff doesn’t last either but so far I’ve paid for 2 sets of bibs and they’ve replaced both of them when they wore out in 8-10 months, so I won’t complain at the price (both bought on sale).

Unfortunately, this is an area where you get what you pay for IME.

FWIW over the last couple years I’ve purchased 5 pair of Pactimo 12-hour bibs for summer, and 5 pair of Alpine thermal bib tights for winter. No issues with quality, before making that investment the earlier ones were purchased over 3 years ago. Purchased all of them on sale for $110-$140, usually Black Friday sales. The retail price on those is now over $200.


Unfortunately, I think bibs are like shoes and what is amazing for one is painful for another. I have never had good luck with Castelli stuff. Their jersey zippers always seem to be a pita, I don’t like their chamois shape, and their online sizing guidance is terrible. Other people love them. I do really like their leg warmers though. It’s very impressive that they replaced your product twice and even bumped you up to higher quality product. That would win some loyalty from me.

Having said that, I used to be an all Assos all the time guy. I had several pairs of their bibs that all wore poorly in the same spot and they replaced them all. I was very impressed, especially since it was probably a saddle/bib issue. Over time though, Assos has moved their $200ish bib to a fit and chamois that I don’t like as much. I switched to Rapha and love their product from a fit, chamois, and longevity perspective…but, I vastly prefer the bibs at the $250-300 price point to the cheap ones. That’s a lot of cash for something you usually want 4-5 pairs of, but they do have some great archive sales at times.

I don’t look for stitching flaws so maybe I’m blissfully ignorant but I’ve had no issue with Castelli, Huub, DHB, Sportful bibs over the last ten years.


With Castelli it’s a toss up on quality, it either lasts years or falls apart within months if purchasing, it never used to be a thing with Castelli but started a couple of years ago for me.

Louis Garneau and Voler have held out really well for me

I forgot totally about those. They’re great. I had an ancient pair that were still going strong until I fell off and tore them. Don’t know why I never re-invested.

A few folks have hinted at a great strategy: buy a couple to get started, but then aggressively shop the sales to move up in quality.

The hard part is knowing what you’ll like, as was noted above, as bib fit is a personal choice. A quality bib that doesn’t fit you well is super frustrating. Trial and error.


+1 for Black Bibs. Very good value for the price imo.


I bought pearl izumi attack and was shocked how crappy they are. I paid $50 more for intervals and found them to be acceptable. I got intervals for $115 a pair during Xmas last year

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Here is my experience with bib shorts:

  • Cheap bib shorts are not worth it, especially if you train as often as you (indeed, we) do. I have tried several brands, one of the cheap DHB bib shorts from Wiggle was so bad I tried it once and kept it in my drawer ever since. I should throw it away.
  • Mid-priced bib shorts are a crap shoot, too. Some can be alright, but they don’t last long in my experience.
  • Expensive bib shorts hold up for a long time. I was lucky and got two high-end bib shorts at a steep discount.
  • Whether they fit well depends on your anatomy and taste. My Castelli bib shorts have relatively thin straps that are slightly too short. So when I stand they are uncomfortable. My Sportful bib shorts are better and the chamois agrees with me much more. In addition, I have a pair of MAAP bib shorts, which are ok, but too tight around my thighs. My 7Mesh bib shorts are simply sublime: I don’t feel the chamois at all, my nether region was kept at the right temperature no matter if it wax 35 degrees and humid or <0 degrees and windy. The straps are super soft and wide. So you might need to try several different ones until you find those that fit. That’s the unfortunate reality.

Take a look at RedWhite bibs. Yuva is amazing to work with. He’s the most transparent business owner on the planet. He’ll tell you what bibs to get or what not to. Why some bibs cost x and others cost y.

I have four pairs on rotation just ordered more. Collectively they lasted around 15,000 miles. Cost about $140 a pair and are designed for everesting.

Oh and they’re tax free with free shipping. Takes about four days from time of order to arrival.


FWIW, Eliel bibs are 50% off right now…just saw it in IG.

I only have one pair of their bibs (plus a skinsuit) but they are very good. Usually too expensive IMO, but for 50%, that is a great deal.

ETA - use code WELCOME50

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I hear this from my male friends all the time. In women’s sizing, I find it to be the opposite. Where I am a solid small and a sometimes medium on top in Jakroo, Pactimo, DHB, I am an extra small in Castilli with a little room.

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Bibs really don’t need to cost an arm and a leg. DHB Aeron for less than 40 euro on sale. Plenty of century and 200k rides with them…


I buy from the Assos outlet store, keeping an eye on prices, normally 20-30 % discounts, then buy at the right time. Or maybe Wiggle.

Cento, Equipe RS and Spring Fall serving me well. They never wear out.

They also gave me quite a discount after crashing in a pair, and are very nice to deal with.


Accurate. I’ve had good luck with blackbibs, Voler, and neopro cycling.