Shorts vs. Bibs

Shorts or Bibs? Think very carefully about your answer.

Cycling shorts vs bibs - It’s one of the most divisive debates in cycling circles – shorts or bibs? While they might seem like more or less the same thing, they’re actually more than a few features about each that can change a cyclist’s ride for better or worse. Which one is the right choice? We’re glad you asked.

Why Choose Shorts

Shorts are a classic cycling gear choice for an endless list of reasons, but here are the most vital:


Shorts cover a smaller area of your body which means you will feel cooler. They’re also made of lightweight and breathable material which allows for maximum ventilation. This is important when cycling in warm, humid or tropical climates. Sweat causes slips, discomfort and irritation when left to soak throughout the ride. The light, breezy fabric of cycling shorts allows for fast transfer and evaporation of moisture away from the skin. This gives the rider a cool and soothing feeling, which goes a long way when cycling in hot environments.


Cycling shorts are designed to fit the form and contours of your body. They sit tight but are so lightweight that you’ll barely notice that they’re there. Any sort of discomfort can be distracting when cycling and distractions are costly. The aim is to keep your mind and body focussed on the road and nothing else. The second skin feel of cycling shorts is enough to make you believe that you’re not wearing anything at all. Which, if we’re being honest, is the most comfortable anyone ever really is.


Cycling shorts sit closer to the body’s – like a second skin. This means there’s less friction between the athlete and the air. It also means less overall drag on the athlete’s body. This is, of course, a deliberate result of intelligent design. Cycling gear is designed to give the athletes all the support and protection they need while hindering their movements as little as possible. The science behind the design of cycling shorts ensures that riders can keep reaching and exceeding new levels in their speed and performance.

Why Choose Bibs

Bibs aren’t just shorts with suspenders. They carry a lot of unique advantages. Such as:


The suspenders that rest on a rider’s shoulders when they’re wearing cycling bibs secure the garments in place. A secure fit is important for long rides because it gives cyclists one less thing to worry about. Shorts can ride town from time to time and cyclists must constantly reach back and adjust them. Bibs, on the other hand, provide a secure and snug fit that still fulfils all the functions of cycling shorts. Perhaps even exceeding them.


Another great feature that cycling bibs have that most cycling shorts don’t is padding in the seat area. The pressure and shock that cyclists are subjected on long rides or rides on bumpy terrain is absorbed by this padding, providing extra protection and comfort. Chances are you wouldn’t dare to ride a horse without a saddle. Now repeat the same sentence but this time replace horse with bicycle and saddle with bib. Do you see our point?

Extra coverage

Bibs cover more of your body than shorts do. This is important for three main reasons. Firstly, bibs provide extra support around your waist. Secondly, bibs protect more of your body from the sun, which means greater protection against UV rays. Lastly, the greater surface area of bibs means that there is more fabric to distribute moisture through. Evaporation of moisture from the skin happens much faster, which keeps you cooler for longer.

Your final answer

The decision to choose cycling bibs or cycling shorts depends entirely on what your needs are. The great thing is you can choose both and use them on different rides in different environments. Whatever your preference is, you can be sure to find what you’re looking for in the PEARL IZUMI cycling shop. Peruse our full catalogue which includes all cycling gear and bicycling accessories.


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