How To Choose Your Winter Bib Shorts
Choosing bib shorts for winter cycling is no trivial matter. It often takes years of trial and error to really understand what works for us. That’s why we want to put our experience at your disposal to help you avoid making the same mistakes we made years ago.
1. The material
Let’s start with the material. The products we find are usually all good. There are those who offer products that are more or less elastic, more or less waterproof, more or less warm. As is often the case, the choice becomes very subjective.
For the winter season, which is very cold, the best are bib shorts that have that light fleece on the inside, a sign of warmth. There are several suppliers of very good products. one among many? Polartec. In this case the pants will be very elastic and it will be easy to pedal because they wrap around the whole leg.
If, on the other hand, you live in places that are not too cold or don’t intend on cycling during the colder months, there are also bib shorts without padding or with lighter padding. Companies always provide the temperature range in which the products can be used, so it is easy to see which is the best buy.Then there is the question of waterproofing. Some garments are treated to resist water, but tend to lose this characteristic after a few washes. Others are made of water-resistant material, such as Gore-Tex. In this case, the problem is to reconcile a waterproof, and therefore stiffer, fabric with the movement of the leg. Of course, it all depends on how much time you plan to spend on the saddle in the rain… If you think it will be little or no time, then we recommend that you focus only on the warmth of the material and not on the waterproofness.
2. The fit
The fit, as with summer shorts, is very important. What we recommend is that you look at the height of the bib shorts over the stomach area. This part in winter clothing is usually much higher and serves to maintain warmth. Some like it and some don’t: check before you buy.
3. The chamois
We often don’t appreciate how important it is, and we often value it too much. Let us explain better. A high-end chamois pad for use over 4 or 5 hours in the saddle is very expensive, and the final product will be just as expensive. But is it always worth it? If, for example, you only go out for two hours in winter, you don’t need a high level of padding: it is better to focus on other features of the pants, such as visibility.
Visibility is something that should not be overlooked in winter. We recommend choosing pants with reflective inserts because the light, even during the day, is much dimmer. This does not replace lights, but complements their illumination.
5. The leg loops
Then there is the choice of leg loops. We believe they are perfect in between seasons or when the temperature difference between departure and arrival is very high. There is also the possibility of having a shorty lined internally as if it were a long one, to increase the warmth and to use them with equally warm leg warmers. It is a good option but, in this case too, everything is subjective.