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Re: Explain to a moutain biker: What's up with bibs?

On MTB rides, I always wear a chamois under-short with baggies over. I'm all about the padding.

A friend has loaned me a road bike to start riding pavement from time to time and much to my amusement, I really like it! But what is up with the bibs? All the roadies seem to use them as opposed to just shorts. As much as I love new bike stuff, I'd like to keep things consolidated on the clothing front.

Is it worth it to get a bib for road rides?

7 Replies

I mostly road cycle, but I get out on a mtb +/-20 times a year too. I only ride with bibs.

They just fit better in a way that's hard to describe-- the movement through the mid section is surprisingly natural. After a few minutes I don't notice that I'm wearing bibs, but I am aware during most of my ride that I'm wearing shorts. Also unless you're under 30 you probably have at least something of a gut during some of your riding season... the bibs are more comfortable since there's no waistband.

Most mtb-ers I know wear bibs under their shorts, actually... but I'm also nearing 40 🙂

Another bib-wearing mountain biker chiming in here. I prefer them for all the reasons mentioned...under a nice mtb-specific short. Some bibs are specifically designed as "under bibs" as opposed to classic road bib shorts. I've used both with great success! Compared to most liner shorts I've used (usually on shorter rides) the bibs have provided me more support, compresssion, and in-saddle comfort!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Sounds like they are definitely worth a try! 

Is there any situations where you’d choose liberty shorts over bibs?


Hey @Nate ,

I typically ride in bibs, especially for longer rides, for most of the reasons folks have already mentioned. I have heard of some cyclists choosing to go for shorts rather than bibs when doing multi-day rides for ease of changing in/out, bathroom breaks, etc. As I've gotten more into cycling, I've found that I tend to prefer bibs based on fit and comfort on the saddle. I do believe that bibs vs. shorts can be a personal preference and sometimes you may feel like shorts and other times you may feel like bibs! Take 

Happy trails!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

As a tall lady, bibs are awesome beause you don't have to deal with a waistband, but also you can avoid having any of your back exposed if you're down in the drops and your jersey rides up your back a bit!  Womens cycling jerseys are notoriously cut for short people, so this is a godsend for somebody who has a very hard time finding long-enough cycling jerseys.

They are just more comfortable for long days on the saddle.


Everyone in cycling (not triathletes) converts to bibs if they started with shorts. It’s just the way it is.