Not All Bib Shorts Are Created Equal

Everyone makes “the best” bib shorts right? Of course they do – why would they make the worst shorts?

“Best” is about opinion in reality. What is it that you’re looking for in a pair of shorts? Personally, I want to stop thinking about my shorts after I put them on. I should only notice them again when I take them off or when people compliment me on how prettythey look.

I’m looking for comfort and style, but mostly comfort. I’d wager a bet that you’re pretty darn interested in comfort too, especially if you ever ride for more than an hour.

Let’s examine how you actually achieve comfort in a pair of shorts and what differences there are between low-end and high-end shorts. It’s not all about price….

The Pad

This is an obvious place to start I guess. It’s what most of us think of when we consider the comfort of bib shorts. And the chamois pad is extremely important, but it’s not all about the density and form as you may think…

So first let me tell you a little-known fact. Most mid-high end shorts use exactly the same pad. That’s because there is one company that manufactures a very good range of pads and sells it to a lot of brands who incorporate it into their shorts. Take a look at this page to see who is sharing pads. Yep that’s right – even that brand – a little surprising isn’t it?

What’s wrong with this? Absolutely nothing! These pads are very good quality indeed and enhance the products that they sit in. When these companies talk about how good their pad is – they may be right, but in reality, it’s exactly the same as their competitors. To be clear, a £200 pair of shorts may have the same pad as a £100 pair. Bought in this type of volume it isn’t particularly expensive to buy a “top of the range” pad.

Our shorts use a proprietary pad. It is developed in-house by Bioracer. Bioracer specialise in biomechanics – that is their heritage – millimetre perfect fit and adjustments. It’s why a large chunk of pro-tour riders trust in them. I could talk in length about the “Dimple Layer Technology” they have developed – but it’s beyond the scope of this post. Let’s just say that they have undertaken some serious research and have designed a pad that is antibacterial, maximises airflow, reduces contact, stays dry and has a uniform density. These things improve comfort.

The Pad Placement

What’s really critical is how the pad actually sits in the shorts. Too far forward or backwards and you’ll be in agony no matter how good the pad is. BikeRadar wrote an excellent article on this matter. You can read it here.

Now, anyone can have a pair of shorts manufactured. And anyone can buy the same pads that all the others use. But you need expertise in creating the garment pattern to perfectly place the pad for all-day comfort and performance.

Bioracer… well this is their absolute expertise. Pro riders are all out racers, they need this stuff to be right or they fail. Riders who continue to trust in Bioracer include Philippe Gilbert, Tony Martin, Marianne Vos, Lars Boom, Jens Voigt and a whole host of others.

Needless to say, they get it right and that technology and knowledge lives and breathes in all of their products.

The Number Of Seams

The more seams you have in a performance garment – the more uncomfortable it becomes. It’s a simple formula. Seams create distinct areas of irritation. No-one likes irritation.

Take a close look at bib shorts in the picture above.

Q. How many seams do you see in the shorts?

A. ONE!

Yes there is just one seam in the main part of the shorts. It runs down the middle on the front and back (and under the pad so you can’t feel it there). Most shorts have numerous panels. Each panel adds multiple seams.

Why doesn’t everyone do this?

It mostly comes down to cost.

Think about it, the most costly part of manufacturing a performance product is the fabric. So how do we cut down the cost of the fabric used? Well one way is to use a cheaper fabric that doesn’t perform so well. The trouble with cheaper fabrics is they don’t hold together as well so need careful seam placement to maintain the structure and form. More advanced fabrics can form more advanced shapes.

Also, take a piece of fabric.. what’s the cheapest way of cutting it? Well into lots of little pieces, that way you get less wastage but of course – you’ll need more seams.

Cost aside, forming high-performance shapes like this takes years of knowledge and research. And that is why we trust in Bioracer to make our shorts. Simple as that.

Additional Features

You’re a cyclist, I’m a cyclist – we crave a tech spec, a feature list that goes above and beyond the competitors. This stuff is not just bragging rights, it’s how you go the extra 50 miles with a smile rather than a grimace on your face.

Well guess what sports fans… features cost money. So anything that goes beyond a basic bib short shape and spec list is the difference between low-end and high-end bib shorts.

So what extra features do our Bodyline shorts have?

Well, firstly take a look at the straps, particularly on the back – notice how they aren’t just some straps sewn on to the shorts? These are an integral part of the garment. They actually form to create – essentially a base layer for your upper body. The mesh fabric runs all the way up from the legs to the upper torso and is extremely effective at wicking moisture away from the body. This helps regulate your temperature – you’ll be cool in the summer and warm in the cooler months.

The material actually features something called ColdBlack – a type of treatment that not only makes the product UV safe but also helps insulate – a property that you cannot normally associate with materials that are black.

Like our Bodyline jerseys these shorts have an aero fit and help you stay dry comfortable and ultimately more awesome on all your rides, but especially longer ones.

 

In Conclusion

Not all cycling bib shorts are created equal. It’s also not fair to say that expensive ones are better than cheaper ones. What makes bib shorts comfortable is a combination of seam count and placement, pad technology and placement and the fabric used to construct the product.

To mix all these factors together in such a way as to produce an exceptional product takes years of experience, testing, knowledge and above all understanding of the Human body.

Bioracer excel here like no other manufacturer. And that is why we trust in their capabilities to create our own range of performance clothing.