It’s a bit of a dilemma for many women – ride in bib-shorts or ride in regular shorts? For more experienced female mountain bikers, it’s bib-shorts all the way. They stay in place better (less chance of chafing), are more comfortable and more flattering (no waistline bumps). But some of them can be a challenge if you need the loo in a hurry.
We got one of our female testers to wear four different brands of locally available ladies bib-shorts over the past few months. She rides on average five days a week (two indoor sessions and three on the trails) and has done some stage races, so is very in tune with clothing comfort. She’s not a hardcore race snake, so understands the challenges most women face in terms of comfort and styling of clothing.
Model: W ELITE DROP TAIL CYCLING BIB
First impression: High quality design and the Lycra looks like expensive quality.
My favourite features: Really snug fit, with no chance of the pad moving around with a drop flap for easy visits to the loo. The straps and clasp are really comfortable with no itching or skin irritation.
My not so favourite features: The elastic on the legs is very thin and not 100% comfortable. On a personal note the leg length was on the longer side, which some ladies love, but I don’t.
Sizes: XS – XL
Overall: A really great bib short, not even a hint of discomfort in the saddle area on my longest ride ever. Would recommend for any rider on any ride.
Model: NECTAR PROXISION BIB Short
First Impression: Soft, feminine look without being cliche.
My favourite features: The criss-cross back straps are super soft and comfortable and made from perforated material straps with broad elastic on the legs. The shorter leg length (personal preference).
My not so favourite features: The quality of the material is not the best and I did have some stitching catch and fray.
Even though I quite liked the pink and turquoise colouring on the one leg elastic, it can be limiting for those who want to match their riding kit. Additionally you do need to take your riding jersey off to go to the loo.
Sizes: XS – XXXL
Overall: An easy to wear, comfortable pair of bibs. Recommended for short-to-medium time (up to 3 hours) in the saddle and for the recreational to semi-serious rider.
Website: Enjoy Fitness
Model: Elite Women Bib Short
First Impression: Nice packaging and quality Lycra. There is something cool about opening a box with your clothes in it.
My favourite features: The shorter leg length, the thicker elastic on the legs and the comfortable chamois comparable to some of the more expensive brands.
My not so favourite features: I am finding the difference in size between the M and the L an issue. I know this is probably more due to my body shape than the shorts, but it’s still an issue. I found the M to tight and L a fraction on the loose side.
The v-style strap that comes up between the boobs and then splits over the shoulders, sometimes feeling a little tight around my neck. Also you need to take your shirt off to go to the loo.
Sizes: XS -XL
Overall: Even though I haven’t ridden longer than 3 hours in them, I won’t hesitate to wear them for 4 to 5 hours. Very impressed and recommended for any ride and rider. Seriously good value for money.
Model: Corsa Ladies Bib Short
First Impression: The sizing is very flattering and true to form across the sizing curve.
My favourite features: The zip in the back really makes the fit snug and super comfortable. The leg length is spot on for my shape. I also prefer the oversized elastic at the bottom of the Lycra on the legs.
My not so favourite features: I do feel like the thick elastic straps could use a clip either in the front or the back, as they did tend to slip off my shoulders.
Sizes: XS – XL
Overall: A really comfortable bib although the straps could do with a little more thought for a better fit. Overall though a practical, quality bib short that ticked all the right boxes.
Recommended for any ride and rider.
All rights reserved