By Rick Schultz
Price MSRP: $109
Source: Voler websites, Team’s Sponsor
Features: Great value for bib shorts
How Obtained: Purchased 5 years ago, $49
Summary: Unbelievably L O N G Lasting
- Adequate Pad = a good 2-hour wear
- Can’t wear them out
- Stitching still 100% intact
- I prefer the newer silicon grippers vs the old-style elastic grippers. When these shorts were made, silicon grippers were still in the future. New 2021 model uses silicon grippers
I’m a member of several Facebook bicycle-related groups. One question that keeps popping up is: What’s a good set of bib’s / bib-shorts? And, as always, there are as many suggestions as responders. Really no help for the poster to sift through so many answers.
But I actually have a realistic long term test of a pair of bib shorts.
I started riding indoors around February 2020 as many others also did. I set up a “pain-cave” consisting of (now) a Wahoo KICKR, Cervelo R5ca, Windows 11 PC running the Rouvy cycling app. Rouvy is a great app that keeps my motivation going, making it possible to ride as much as I want, when I want and including some of the best climbs in the world, with most videos running at 2k.
It’s now November 2021, so I have been training indoors for 21 months at the writing of this article.
Knowing that my equipment, especially clothing, would take a serious beating, I chose to use an old pair of Garneau cycling shoes and an old set of bibs I had laying around. The shoes lasted about 6 months when I needed to change the cleats. I turned the shoes over and noticed that the cleat bolts were completely rusted into the shoes. No way to remove the cleats. Luckily these shoes were only $69. My next option was to use an old pair of Shimano SH-R320’s I had laying around. But this time I went to the local marine hardware store and bought stainless steel cleat bolts. No rust, no fuss, no hassle. Shoes still working fine and, in my opinion, the SH-R320’s were the BEST shoes Shimano ever produced.
I also started wearing an old pair of Voler bibs I had laying around. These are the ones pictured in this article. When I work out, I sweat a lot. So when I wear the bibs, I leave the straps dangling down. One thing that bugged me was that every time I stood up on the pedals, the straps would hook under the saddle. I finally got fed up with this and cut the straps. I was surprised that the bibs work fine without needing these straps.
As mentioned before, I have been riding indoors for 21 months. I ride / train 6 days a week averaging about 1.5 – 2 hours each ride. Every ride has been with these bibs, and these bibs (and towels) have been washed on warm/regular cycle after each ride. So that makes about 91 weeks * 6 rides a week = 546 rides and 546 washings. I can’t believe these shorts are still “almost new” looking! Following are 4 photos detailing these bib shorts.
Shorts turned inside out to show the condition of the chamois. The chamois material is stretching a little — but no holes, no tears and no wearing through. Bib material still in perfect shape and holding its form. Only thing I do not like is the elastic grippers. But when I bought these shorts, silicon grippers were still off in the future.
As mentioned, I cut off the bib straps since they kept getting caught under the saddle when standing on the pedals.
Closeup of chamois showing stitching is still intact. In fact, the stitching for the bibs themselves is still 100% intact. Looking at this view, I can see that the chamois material is starting to stretch, and the padding is just starting to breakdown. But what does one expect after almost 550 wearing and washings?
The saddle interface is usually the first place that bibs start showing their wear and tear. Material is still 100% intact as well as the stitching.
Here is a real world, long term, torture test of a pair of bib shorts. As you can see, I think I got my $49 out of them and they are still going strong!
Rouvy Stats JAN 1, 2021 – NOV 3, 2021
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.
My issue with bibs is fit. I am 6’3″ but have a 32″ inseam. My Welsh heritage shows through in my short legs and long torso. When I get bibs, the straps are far too short for me to wear. I take them to an alteration shop and her her add 3 to 4 inches to each strap .
Fritz Mueller says
Check out Aerotech Designs for tall men’s bib shorts. They have a size that should fit you well, and be comfortable. I’m 6’7″ tall and have worn their bibs for years; they are the only ones that work well for me. I have bibs that are ten years old and still in good condition. They’re reasonably priced and well made.Froit
Kerry Irons says
Just a point of clarification, but the grippers you refer to are silicone, not silicon. Silicone is a high performance family of chemicals and in this case, rubber like chemicals. Silicon is a metal and is the basis of computer chips.
Bike Fitness Coaching says
With legs like mine, I need silicone impregnated silicon!