12 best men's cycling bib shorts
We clocked up the miles on the road to find you the gear that will go the distance
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Nothing will ruin a ride quicker than shoddy shorts that leave you sore and squirming in the saddle.
We’ve put a wide selection to the test at prices from under £70 to nearly £200 to find pairs that will leave you sitting pretty this summer.
They all use a range of modern materials to keep you performing at your peak – from figure hugging elastane to help you carve through the air, to synthetic seat pads that stay soft ride after ride.
As well as riding in them we’ve washed and dried them and tugged at the seams to make sure they’ll stand up to the rigours of life on and off the road. Some of our choices are best suited to shorter training runs while others will see you through long days in the saddle. Whichever pair you choose, enjoy the ride!
Lusso DRS: £120, Lusso
We loved this brand new pair from Manchester brand Lusso. Just as in Formula One, DRS stands for Drag Reduction System and they’re designed to help you cut through the air just that little bit faster. The fabric – with its subtle checkered finish – feels sturdy enough to last for a good few seasons while the white Air-Tech material of the bib section is soft and yielding. Lusso say their pad will see you through eight hours in the saddle. We didn’t clock up quite that long in one go on our test rides but they were amazingly comfortable and the larger leg grippers did a fantastic job of stopping them sliding up while pedalling hard.
Etxeondo KOM 2.0: £95, Prendas Ciclismo
This Basque brand may have cycling’s most baffling moniker, but boy do they make great value kit. Etxeondo – just say Et-chay-on-doe – have been quietly turning out quality clothing since the mid-seventies, supplying some of the sport’s biggest names along the way including Sean Kelly and Alberto Contador. The stitching is first class, as you would expect from a firm founded by a former Dior and Balenciaga worker, and Etxeondo’s own-brand seat pad proved really comfortable even on longer rides. The white bands around the leg grippers and a sparkly high-vis logo at the back add some visual interest.
Rapha Cargo: £195, Rapha
Here’s something different to upset the purists – bibshorts with pockets! They’re aimed at bikepackers and gravel riders, but there’s nothing to stop you wearing them on the Sunday run or your commute. With two mesh pockets on the legs, plus another couple at the back, you no longer have to wear a traditional cycling jersey to carry your bits and bobs, so you can head out in a T-shirt or polo if the mood takes you. They have a water resistant finish too, meaning any drizzle beads up and runs off. You wouldn’t want to load up the pockets with too much stuff but they’re a handy place to store flatter items like energy gels, sunglasses and your phone. The quality is superb and they stayed comfy for mile after mile on the road, although they are pricey.
Albion: £110, Albion Cycling
If you were lucky enough to snap up Albion’s limited edition Mamnick Dark Peak top featured in our Best Cycling Jerseys round up, you’ll want these matching Italian-made bibs to complete the set. They use a tried and tested Elastic Interface seat pad and have a mesh back to help keep you cooler in warm weather. The broad straps proved comfortable in use and they washed and dried well. With just one discrete Albion logo on the leg they will appeal to anyone who prefers the minimalist look.
2XU Steel X Compression: £160, My Triathlon
Incredibly, the hip panels on this Aussie-designed pair are made from fabric that’s claimed to be 15 times stronger than steel! They’re meant to protect against road rash and rips should you find yourself sliding down the road. We take our testing duties seriously at IndyBest but we draw the line at deliberately crashing, so we’ll have to take their word for it. We thought the protection panels might prove scratchy in use but this wasn’t the case, and the seat pad was comfy too. The jury’s out on whether the slight compression effect actually made us ride better, but it certainly didn’t slow us down. Buy them if you’ve hand enough of ruining good shorts in minor spills.
Maap Team Bib 2.0: £172.43, Maap.cc
If you really want to turn heads on your cafe stop, leave your black bibs at home and rock up in these gorgeous navy numbers that won us plenty of approving comments. They ride as well as they look, too, with Maap’s own-brand seat pad offering a comfy perch and the mesh straps and back section doing a good job of preventing us overheating in the early summer heatwave. We particularly liked the oversized grippers which kept the longer-cut legs firmly in place throughout all-day adventures. As you’d expect at this price, they’re a really high quality garment that should rack up the miles in style.
Kalf Club: £64.99, Evans Cycles
Budget no longer means bad in the world of bibshorts. Despite their bargain basement price this pair has got an excellent Elastic Interface pad just like the Albions which come in at almost twice the price. The straps are mesh fabric and they’re designed with a big gap at the back to keep you cool. We found them a flattering fit and perfectly comfy on rides up to three hours long. They would make a great second pair for training in if you want to keep a more pricey set of bibs for those epic weekend rides.
Assos T Equipe Evo: £150, Wiggle
Those clever Swiss have come up with a unique idea to improve comfort in the saddle. The seat pad on this posh pair is left unstitched in the area between your legs, allowing that little bit more movement. Assos call it Goldengate and they are so proud of the idea they have had it patented. It certainly seemed to work well on our rides. The design is a bit shorter in the leg than some in our test – so one to take a look at if you’re not fan of the current trend towards knee-nudging designs. They’re another quite racy fit and looked really smart both on and off the bike.
Endura Pro SL Lite: £113.99, Evans Cycles
Endura offer this super-light set of bibs in three different pad widths so you can find your perfect fit. So confident are they that you’ll be delighted with your choice, they offer a 90-day comfort guarantee. They’re designed for hot conditions, hence the grid of tiny breathing holes across the leg panels. They also incorporate clever Coldblack Technology textiles which reflect more infrared and ultraviolet light than ordinary fabrics, again helping you stay chilled. We rode them in high humidity in steamy Singapore and they still stayed comfortable, so even the balmiest British summer should be a breeze. Watch out for them being worn by Nairo Quintana’s Movistar team at the Tour de France.
Le Col Pro: £150, Sigma Sports
Le Col’s high quality yet understated kit has really impressed us in recent tests, and that trend continues with these smart shorts. Brand founder and former racer Yanto Barker has used his years of experience to good effect and come up with a pair that will suit both competitive cyclists and Sunday potterers alike. We loved the flat-stitched seams that reduce rubbing, while the seat pad was blissfully comfortable. Le Col also embroider on their logo, so you won’t find it peeling off, annoyingly, after a season’s use. Ones to buy if you don’t mind spending a bit more on good gear which should last a few years.
Sportful BodyFit Pro SS18: £115, Wiggle
With this pair you’re getting professional level features at a knockdown price. If you’re in any doubt about their competition credentials just check out the race radio pocket between the shoulders. You’ll see a version being worn by Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team all season. They’re a sporty Italian fit so you might have to go a size up if you’re carrying a few pounds over your “racing weight”. We loved the longer legs with their broad silicone-backed grippers. And while the wide mesh straps seemed a little constricting when standing up they were perfectly comfortable when sitting in the saddle. Sportful’s TC Pro pad is a cracker too and should see you through all-day rides with no complaints.
Dhb Aeron LAB Raceline: £130, Wiggle
Thin and light, these weighed in at just 155g compared with the 219g of the Rapha pair, so they could be a great choice for anyone obsessed with shaving grams from their kit. The legs incorporate two different fabrics – stretchier and slightly shiny on the front and the inside leg, with a matt, “golfball” finish on the outside of the thighs to help the air flow smoothly. The seat pad seemed skinny but we were pleasantly surprised with how they rode. To keep the weight down there are no big leg grippers, just gummy lines to hold them in place. One thing to bear in mind – they were so light it felt like a misplaced toe might go through the material, so do be careful when pulling them on!
Verdict: Men's cycling bib shorts
We were so impressed with Lusso’s latest shorts – they’re comfortable, great quality and look amazing, all at a good price – but you won’t go wrong with any of our choices. The Maap pair will add some Aussie colour to your Sunday run, while the Kalfs and Etxeondos offer incredible value.