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Best bib shorts for men 2023: The top options from Rapha, Assos and more

Ride further, push harder and look better with our pick of the finest bib shorts on the market

Comfort is king when it comes to cycling kit, and the best bib shorts are designed to deliver it. These stretchy garments create a cushy interface between backside and saddle to prevent the pain often associated with extensive miles. If you’re regularly spending upwards of an hour on the bike, then you should definitely have a pair of bib shorts on your shopping list.

Whether you’re new to cycling and searching for your first pair or a seasoned rider looking for your next upgrade, the guide below provides all the information you need to make the right choice. We’ve tested shorts from some of the most reputable brands out there to bring you a carefully selected list of the best bib shorts on the market right now, covering a range of prices.

To discover tech-packed top-flight models to wallet-friendly budget options, here’s everything you need to know when selecting the best bib shorts for you.

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Best bib shorts for men: At a glance

How to choose the best bib shorts for you

Do I need bib shorts?

The short answer to that is “no”. But will they make your time on a bike far more comfortable? Yes. Bib shorts are far superior to other types of legwear when it comes to serious cycling. They feature a squishy pad in the seat (known as a chamois), built-in straps to stop them from slipping down, and the stretchy lycra fabric from which they’re made reduces aerodynamic drag while allowing a complete range of motion.

If you’re simply commuting a couple of miles a day then you might not benefit too much from them. But if you’re regularly spending upwards of an hour on the bike for leisure then they’re certain to make your life a lot more comfortable. Your backside will thank you for the upgrade.

How should bib shorts fit?

In a word, tight. If you’re not used to wearing cycling kit, then it might feel unusual at first. But rest assured, bib shorts should fit extremely close to the body, almost like a second skin.

That said, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If they feel like they’re cutting off the circulation then they’re too small and you should size up accordingly. You should be able to put them on and forget that you’re wearing them – the most reliable sign of a perfect fit.

In terms of length, you want them to end a couple of inches above the knee. And the straps should feel supportive without cutting into the shoulders.

How we test men’s bib shorts

There’s only one way to put a pair of bib shorts through their paces, and that’s to get out there and ride hard. That’s exactly what we did when testing all of the products below. Each pair was ridden in for at least 100 miles before we reached our verdict, and included short threshold rides and full-day endurance sessions. The only shorts that made the cut were those that kept us comfortable throughout. All these bib shorts were tested in spring and summer conditions in the UK.

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The best bib shorts for men you can buy in 2023

1. Rapha Pro Team Bib Shorts II: Best all-round bib shorts

Price: £230 | Check price at Rapha

It’s hard to fault these high-end bib shorts from Rapha. They have one of the best fits we’ve found, and while they’re geared towards racing with a nice tight fit, the chamois is substantial enough to deal with epic full-day excursions, too.

The key selling point here is their form-hugging fit. There’s almost always something we’d change about the way a pair of bib shorts sit on the body, but for us, the Pro Team IIs are perfect. The extra-wide silicone grippers on the legs keep them firmly in place and the length is pure Goldilocks territory. We also love the way they sit on the stomach. They come up a little higher than most other shorts we’ve tested, which is great for sucking in that gut, although it does make for a bit of a wrestle when stopping for a roadside comfort break.

If we had to complain about something it would be that the straps have a tendency to sit not completely flat against the shoulders. The way they’re constructed (bonded edges with mesh in the middle) means they can bunch up a little under a jersey. Still, that’s hardly a dealbreaker.

Key specs – Sizes: XS-XXL

Check price at Rapha

2. Pas Normal Studios Escapism Bib Shorts: Best cargo bib shorts

Price: £240 | Check price at Pas Normal Studios

We hope you don’t hit the deck on your next gravel adventure, but if you do, then these are the shorts you’ll want to be wearing. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill, wafer-thin, roadie-appeasing lycra; they’re made of something much tougher and more textured. Something that’s far better suited to the demands of off-road riding.

This rough fabric is every bit as stretchy and comfortable as regular lycra, but we found it much more resistant to abrasions, nicks and tears. Ordinarily, getting snagged on a thorny bush would be game over for a pair of bib shorts, but that wasn’t the case here. We’ve worn these shorts both on and off the road, hiked through heavy undergrowth, and even taken the odd spill on the rough stuff – and they’re still pristine.

They have pockets, too, which is a bonus; four of them to be precise. There’s one located on the outer side of each leg, perfect for stashing a phone or a snack, and two longer ones on the back that are ideal for valuables and a mini pump.

It’s worth noting that these bib shorts run large, so we’d advise sizing down for the best possible fit.

Key specs – Sizes: XXS-XXL

Check price at Pas Normal Studios

3. dhb Bib Shorts: Best budget bib shorts

Price: £20 | Check price at Wiggle

These no-frills bib shorts from Wiggle’s in-house brand dhb are perfect for beginners, cyclists on tight budgets and those looking to upgrade from regular old athletic shorts. They’re not designed with big miles in mind, but we found them perfectly adequate for rides of three hours and under. If you want to tackle full days out on the bike, you may want to consider spending a little more on a pair with a slightly better chamois pad.

That said, these are the best bib shorts you’ll find at this price, and they offer many of the same features you might expect to find in products double or even triple the price. These include silicone leg grippers, reflective details and nice, wide shoulder straps for comfort. They’re cut high at the front, too, which makes for a flattering fit.

Size-wise, we found these shorts to be a little loose, so we’d recommend sizing down if you like an aggressive, racy fit.

Key specs – Sizes: XS-2XL

Check price at Wiggle

4. Rapha Core Bib Shorts: Best mid-range bib shorts

Price: £110 | Check price at Rapha

Rapha’s aesthetically pleasing cycling kit is famously expensive, but the Core range makes the London-based label’s signature style a little more accessible. The quality remains excellent, but the prices are far more palatable than the top-flight Pro Team models, even though they feature a lot of the same tech and design signatures.

The Core bib shorts are ideal for those looking to upgrade from their entry-level shorts to something comfier, better-looking and more suited to longer stints in the saddle. The chamois is fantastic for the money, and we found the fit to be superior to more expensive shorts from rival brands.

The thickness of the straps gives these shorts a snug and secure fit that feels supportive without inhibiting range of motion. They fit true to size, and the understated styling and tonal branding means they work with almost any jersey.

Key specs – Sizes: XS-XXL

Check price at Rapha

5. Assos Equipe RSR S9 Targa Bib Short: Best premium bib shorts

Price: £260 | Check price at Wiggle

Does the average cyclist need a pair of bib shorts more technologically advanced than those being worn by World Tour riders? Probably not. Does knowing your kit is the best of the best make you go a little bit faster? It certainly feels that way. Such is the case when you slip on a pair of these bad boys from purveyors of high-end Swiss cycling kit, Assos.

Bib shorts don’t come much lighter, tighter or packed full of tech than this. The fabric is oddly crinkly, but also comfortable and surprisingly resistant to scuffs and scrapes considering how thin it is. We took a slide on the tarmac on a rainy day in Mallorca and they came away completely unscathed. They also feature some of the sturdiest silicone grippers we’ve come across, arranged in a polka dot pattern just inside the leg opening to keep the shorts firmly in place.

The bib straps are a stand-out feature; they extend right the way down the back of the shorts, which Assos claims helps to keep the seat pad in place. We’re not sure how much difference it makes, but at the very least it certainly looks cool. On the front of the straps, there’s a mesh fabric to aid breathability, making these bibs an excellent high-summer option for deep-pocketed cyclists.

Key specs – Sizes: XS-XXL

Check price at Wiggle

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