When you are in the saddle of a bicycle for extended periods of time, you want to make sure you have the proper equipment to stay comfortable and protected. The clothing you choose and how it fits will largely impact your riding experience, especially over longer rides. A cycling bib is a one-piece suit that aims to give you the needed support and protection you need.
How should a women’s cycling bib fit? When wearing a cycling bib, you want it to be snug but not too tight. You should feel some tightness on the shoulder straps, and the material around your thighs should be snug enough that the material does not move or ride up. If a bib is too tight, it will be uncomfortable over time, and too loose can lead to chafing and irritation.
Let this be your guide to finding a great fit for a women’s cycling bib. We will cover sizing, materials, additional support, and all considerations you should make when choosing the right cycling bib. Because you will spend considerable amounts of time in these, you want to make sure you are making a smart and comfortable investment.
Correct Sizing and Fit for a Women’s Cycling Bib
Many choose cycling bibs over shorts because they don’t want to deal with a waistband that may be uncomfortable to breathe or chafe over long periods. Cycling bibs are held up at the shoulders, giving you snug and reliable material without the need to pull up or adjust from the waist. Because they offer support from shoulders to legs, you need to find a proper fit.
The primary goal of a cycling bib is to provide ample coverage and support during a ride. This to protect you while sitting on the bike and prevent any material movement that could lead to irritations or chafing. The two things you are looking for to achieve this fit are:
- Tight shoulders: When you are standing normally, you should feel some pressure on your shoulders. This should provide a snug fit without discomfort. When you are in the saddle with your shoulders bent towards the handlebars, the ‘perfect’ fit is achieved without being tight. If you were to keep this loose while standing, it would move around while riding.
- No leg movement: You do not want the shorts to ride up while riding the bike. Purchase a pair with a snug fit that will not allow for any movements in the material. When the material cannot move, you will not only keep support in place but prevent chafing from moving short material. This also helps to make you more air resistant!
Different brands will offer various styles that may cater more toward your preferences and needs. The sizing will vary depending on the style you choose as well as your body type. Longer torsos, for example, will require longer shoulder straps or a larger top but not necessarily larger legs. Trying on multiple brands is the best way to determine which will fit your body best.
Bib styles will vary on how the straps are designed. You can either select a true one-piece that comes in traditional or halter straps or opt for buckled straps. Many opt for this second option because it makes it much easier to go to the bathroom. You don’t have to take off the entire suit each time.
Materials to Consider for Women’s Cycling Bibs
Most women’s cycling bibs are made with spandex or Lycra because they are comfortable and form-fitting materials that are lightweight. These materials can be modified based on your needs for them while riding. Additional materials can be added for water-absorption, breathability, and to promote air resistance.
These materials are also ideal because they return to their tight shape after being washed, stretched, and worn.
Inside the bib, there is an inner lining that is known as a ‘chamois.’ This is named for the animal fur that was once used to make them. This inner lining is designed to offer extra support and is now made from synthetic materials that mimic a foam or soft material for comfort.
While almost all women’s cycling bibs are made with similar materials, the design and how they feel on your body may vary from brand to brand. The thickness of the material will also have an impact on how you ride and feel in them.
Additional Support for Women’s Cycling Bibs
Cycling bibs are preferred over other cycling clothing because they are the most comfortable. Sitting on a bike seat for an extended period of time will get uncomfortable for most riders. With this in mind, cycling bibs incorporate the chamois into the pant to add additional padding and support for sitting on the seat. This will make your riding experience much easier.
The design of the chamois and the level of support varies depending on the type of bib you choose. You can opt for more or less support depending on the type of ride you are going on and your preferred level of support. For longer rides, more support may be beneficial, but it can also backfire.
These are some important considerations to make regarding support:
- Less can be more: If you have too much inner lining, it can actually become uncomfortable and force you to press harder against your seat to get more power.
- Replace a chamois: The chamois will lose support after extended use and should be replaced in order to give you what you need. If you no longer have ample support, you should be getting new shorts.
- Chamois size: Your bike short size will also impact the size of the chamois, and this should not be too small as not to cover the seat or too large to rub against your skin.
Again, support is an important thing to determine when you are trying on your cycling bibs. You will want to make sure everything feels good not only on your legs but between your legs too. You can also use chamois cream that will help to eliminate friction between your skin and the shorts for increased comfort.
Tips for Picking the Best Cycling Bibs for Women
Here are some tips you should consider when choosing a cycling bib:
- Price: Cycling bibs range widely in price, and this is often related to the quality you get. More expensive bibs will offer more support, stronger materials, and can be longer-lasting. Investing in a good bib is often a better purchase if you plan to use it often.
- Seams: Be aware of where seams are located on the bib. These can often be uncomfortable with rubbing, and it is often overlooked when purchasing.
- Desired use: Make sure you are picking a bib that is suited to the type of cycling you are doing. You may need a more durable material for long rides or a waterproof one for wetter environments.
Doing the research and trying on bibs for yourself will help to ensure you pick one that feels great and is a smart investment.