Cyclists who ride long distances know that comfortable clothing is very important to prevent irritating chaffing and soreness between the legs. The two most comfortable shorts on the market at the moment are knicks and bibs.
Typically made of tight lycra or nylon, to prevent rubbing and help remove sweat. They are also more lightweight and aerodynamic compared to normal cotton shorts, with additional padding for comfort between the saddle.
Similar to knicks but also have straps that go over the shoulders. Professional cyclists choose bibs over knicks for a few different reasons.
Knicks have an elastic waistband to keep the shorts in place while riding. However, some cyclists find that the shorts still move above or below the waist and cut into the stomach, causing discomfort and restricted blood flow. Elastic waistbands also hold moisture which increases the chance of chaffing. The main benefit of bibs is that they have no tight waistbands because the straps hold the shorts in place. Therefore, riders no longer need to keep pulling their shorts up or down which gives more carefree movement and less chaffing.
With bibs, not only do the shorts stay in place, the chamois does too. The chamois is a protective pad inside knicks and bibs and rests between your legs and the saddle. By staying in place, saddle sores and chaffing are significantly reduced, which makes bibs the more comfortable option.
Bib straps are lightweight, breathable, and, as a whole, feel supportive and snug over the body. No pressure points or tugging is felt to give a more natural flow to the body’s movement.
Most cycling jerseys are shorter than the average length jacket. Therefore, especially for tall riders, stomach skin may show between the knicks and the jersey. Bibs avoid this unfashionable sight by having the cut higher than knicks, creating no gap between shorts and jersey.
With all the benefits outlined above, it’s clear why bibs are considered by many to be the most comfortable shorts for cyclists. The only disadvantage of bibs is the difficulty in using the toilet. However, if you can look past this inconvenience, the best way to choose is to try a pair for a while, and notice the difference for yourself.