Bib Shorts Guide

Do you know the history of a piece of beef in the bib shorts? Today it's called chamois padding, but believe it or not. In the very start of the cycling history, some racers put beef in their bib shorts to avoid saddle sores. Today we laugh at that story since all low priced bib shorts come with a built-in protection called chamois padding.

Bib Shorts Guide for cyclists

You probably know this type of cyclist who is an expert in cycling - well at least that's his on belief. When it comes to chamois padding he happily teaches you about quality. They often have the personal brand of their favorite and will do anything to protect the image. The fact is that we all have different body shapes and needs but this is how it goes down:

Amateur cyclists will often be going for a thick chamois padding since they are more comfortable. But sometimes (Not always) this can lead to more rubbing and irritation back there, which nobody wants.

Pro cyclists will often go for a medium protection since they need some kind of protection, but don't want to waste any WATT with a too thick chamois - yes, a thicker chamois can take away some of your WATT's. After all, this is the same reason all pro cyclists talk about the stiffness of their frames, handlebars etc.

Triathletes, on the other hand, would prefer a much thinner padding since they are using their tri shorts for running as well.

On the picture below you can see our chamois padding for some of Figata Ciclismo's shorts for a triathlon. As you can see the padding is very thin.

Chamois padding for triathlon

 On this picture below you can compare with one of our chamois paddings for cycling.

Chamois padding for cycling

Placement of chamois padding

The placement of a chamois padding it almost as important as the actual padding. If it's placed too much forward and it will feel like the cheapest padding you have ever used. The seams also have a great importance for the overall quality. The fewer seams, the less chance to get irritation from it but on the other hand, you want the seams to be strong since it needs to withstand the many hours and kilometers of work.

Another thing about chamois padding is that it should be breathable, and anti-microbial. This will eliminate moisture and friction, the two biggest chafing challenges.

The difference in men's vs. women's chamois padding

Women have larger hipbones with would normally require and wider construction of both chamois padding and bib shorts. While there are differences it's differently possible for both men to ride women's chamois padding and vice versa. Figata Ciclismo is working with both men's, women's and unisex paddings.

How Figata choose the best chamois padding

It's very simple. We asked for the best recommendations from some of our manufactures. Then we bought some samples and used the ones we would like the most. Then we integrated them into our bib shorts design and then we were ready to take them for a spin - to test them in our bib shorts. We spend several hours on the bike and chose the one we like most without looking at the price - honestly! 

Bib shorts are worn without underwear 

Okay, we are pretty sure, if you are reading this page on Figata Ciclismo's webshop for cycling clothes - we bet you know that you DON'T wear your underwear together with any kind of cycling clothes. It's simply not a legal thing to do! Sorry about that, but we cannot accept it and honestly. If you are even thinking about it, please buy your bib shorts another place for Figata Ciclismo's bib shorts will not be the right fit for you.

How to wash and clean a chamois pad

Most of Figata Ciclismo's bib shorts can handle a washing machine. We recommend a maximum of 30-40 degrees. We don't recommend a fabric softener since it can damage the functional effect of the bib shorts and chamois padding. However, a lot of riders do actually add substances that can remove the bad smell. We recommend to handwash your bib shorts after use to avoid bacteria.

The production of bib shorts

In design, this is called "pattern design" but many companies looking for new team clothes ask us about "the construction or production of our bib shorts". What they actually are asking us for is the pattern design.


Like all other clothes, bib shorts are made of fabric garments. Each piece is called a "panel". Typically bib shorts consists of 6-8 panels.


When you are deciding the length of the bib shorts you are talking about the length of the inseam. The standard inseam os about 20-23 centimeters long. Some prefer them longer and up til 28 centimeters but this also depends on the flexibility of the fabric. Women's bib shorts a typically shorter and goes from only 13 centimeters and up to 20 cm. 

INSEAM in bib shorts

Elastic bands and skin grips

Bib shorts normally comes without elastic waistbands but triathlon shorts like these often have them:

triathlon shorts elastic waist band

Some prefer them only 2 centimeters hight but Figata prefers a higher waistband of about 5-7 cm. As you can see below in the picture a leg cuff ending around the leg finishes of the shorts. On Figata's bib shorts for cycling and shorts for Triathlon, we typically place a silicone grip on the inner side. This will give the bib shorts a better looking and more comfortable fit for the body.

The length of bib shorts

The length of bib shorts has become a fashionable "thing". Riders are continuously discussing the right length. Should it be long? Should it be short? And what is exactly "long" or "short"? Let's take a look back to the very beginning of the cycling history again. In the beginning, it was normal to wear shorter cycling short (With a piece of beef between your legs). Today it's more normal to wear longer bib shorts which fits a handful of centimeters above the top of the knee. However, if you would like to look like a pro you should Google this latin muscle name Vastus Lateralis. A fit rider will have an edge on this muscle (Vastus lateralis), where the pants line typically sits a few centimeters above. Please notice this next time you watch the pros on television. 

See the length of Figata's pro 2.0 bib shorts 2017 on this picture:

The right length of bib shorts

How tight should bib shorts be?

Well, almost as tight as possible, but without making those bib shorts more white than black seen from behind. The bib shorts must not flutter at the edge so in cycling it's better to wear it too tight than too loose. 

With that said you cannot buy the bib shorts too small since the straps need to feel comfy for you. Still, you want the chamois padding to fit tight both on the front, under and behind.

Which fabric are bib shorts made of?

Figata's bib shorts are mostly made of polyester which is a synthetic fabric. We are combining our polyester fabrics with a high level of elastane which makes the cycling clothes flexible. Our polyester drys quickly and offer good moisture handling compared to natural fabrics like cotton and wool. Especially wool has in the recent years become more popular to use in cycling clothes. 

Note: Our 2017 long winter bib shorts in camo are designed in fleece material to keep your body warm. 

See more and shop Figata bib shorts here >>