Bib / Chamois Selection

Within the past couple of weeks, I have finally upgraded my indoor equipment to include clipless pedals, shoes and bib/chamois. I have definitely seen the benefit of the shoes and pedals. I am learning the hard way regarding the bib/chamois. At the time I purchased the shoes and pedals I also purchased 1 bib/chamois. I quickly realized I needed more than 1. I ordered 2 online and they arrived earlier this week. Yesterday, I rode ISLAGIATT. I suited up with one of the new kits and it was apparent early on it was not providing the appropriate cushioning. After 2 hours in the saddle, my arse was screaming. Subsequently, I compared the chamois on each of the bibs and found them to each be a different design. I guess this shouldn’t be unexpected as they are 3 different brands.

I’m sure it is largely individual physique and preference, but is there a way to know other than trial and error. Based on what I paid for each of the kits, it seems like you get what you pay for.

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It’s a bit trial and error. Also, pay close attention to the sizing conventions for each brand. They are stunningly different. That said, there are lots of places where you can find reviews. At least wrt chamois comfort, I’ve found the reviews to be helpful.

My personal favorites are the Assos GTS Mille GT C2 Bib and the Giordana FR-C Pro Bib.

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Add the Pactimo 12-hour bibs to the list. However, chamois is DEFINITELY personal. Same with saddles. What works well or supurbly outside will be a literal pain in the ass (or other places) indoors. Suggest getting a set of bibs you can return if cleaned. Assos are VERY expensive as well.

…also VERY unrivaled!!

The worst part of buying cycling shorts/bibs is figuring out which chamois don’t fit you. They may be a good feel on the backside but don’t come up enough in the front and have rubbing in all the wrong places. Or they look comfy and end up pinching you when they move. Least of all none of them are cheap.

Take Rapha and Assos for example. Almost identical chamois designs right down to the shape of the pad inserts and how they’re sewn in, yet the Assos sits kind of flat and the Rapha is “body sculpted”. For myself personally what that translates to is one sits nice and the other finds every way imaginable to make itself a wedgie. It’s a cruel world finding a good pair of shorts, usually you find them the year before they change styles so you can never buy the same thing again!

All joking aside, it really is an expensive game of trial and error. Wish you the best of luck. Also, don’t forget the chamois cream, some don’t mind it, some hate it, and others can’t ride without it.

Think about chamois cream too if you’re riding for over 90 mins!!

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So true. On long rides, my wife can’t go without it. For me, it’s just another step in getting ready and I usually skip it with no ill effects.

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100% right, bibs and chamois fit are very subjective. There are some things that can help.

  • Look at pad density. Thick pads don’t do much. Dense pads help spread force over a larger area.
  • Don’t use gel pads. Gel is great for about 10 minutes. Then it migrates away from where it’s needed.
  • 1 hr of trainer time = 2 hr of road time. Because you tend to stick in one spot on the trainer, pressure points build fast. Make a point to move around, but even that is marginal returns.
  • $$$ bibs = great pads, but $ bibs can do the same. Assos are amazing. But at $300+, do you need them? Probably not. I’ve found tons of other bibs that cost less and work just as well for training. Twin Six, Sugoi, and Voler have all been solid for me in the past.
  • Chamois cream. Use it. Don’t skimp. I’m a huge fan of Mad Alchemy. For 1-2 hour sessions, anything from the PRO series works great. Champagne Dreams is a bit thicker and luxe. For serious torture fests, PURE is like crack spackle, but stays active for 8 hours.
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I did not mention it before, but I have been using the chamois butter. I’ve found it to be helpful. Sounds like it’s another personal preference item. For my first run, I just took the recommendation from the store associate.

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Perhaps it’s time for a new saddle. When I swapped my KICKR’s saddle (SADDL?) for a Brooks B17, everything changed.

Certainly something under consideration.

There’s so much about the saddle to shorts interaction that can make things miserable or happy days. When I crashed two years ago and broke my collarbone, I took it as a time to experiment with my saddle setup as I needed to replace the saddle due to damage anyway. Long story short I lowered my saddle almost 15mm and the calf cramps from pointing my toes all the time went away, the cramming of my toes into the toebox of my shoes went away, I started using all the muscles in my legs, not just my quads and hamstrings, and I was finally able to use a saddle that for the previous 4 years I was never able to get comfortable on. That was after 3 bike fits where they didn’t really adjust the saddle height.

I found the method that worked for me by using advice from several bike fitters on youtube and an article online. If you’re interested, the method I used is detailed in post #9 of this link: Do Tour pros tend to ride lower saddle heights? - Bike Forums
More or less the post jived with what the bike fitters in the video were saying so I went with it. As typical for this subject, your mileage (and comfort) will vary.

With Chamois. You get what you pay for. Spare no expense… your jewels will thank you. Lol. As for cream I think Assos is best.

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I’ve used with varying degrees of success:
Chamois Butt’r
DZ Nuts
Buttonhole

Recommend the first for just about anyone. Eurostyle has MENTHOL which some of the Ladies may find disconcerting to PAINFUL.
The second is like a lubricant. If you can stand it, use it. But be prepared for a little slickness. I personally didn’t like it. There is a version for the Ladies that has been highly recommended as it was the only thing to completely eliminate chafing.
The last is my go-to long day in the saddle cream. It is more like butter than a viscous liquid. It also contains MENTHOL but I’ve found that some Ladies can tolerate it because it stays put rather than moving around.

Of course there are many others.

As to pads, I’ve tried quite a few. Some I cannot tolerate and were binned. There is a phrase that goes:
You get what you pay for. Cheaper pads will and do break down. I’ve bought what was then Performance 55 dollar shorts and they lasted about two hours before the pad was squished down flat. I’ve paid 200 dollars for bibs and the pad lasted over eight hours before I had to do something about it.

And lastly, find a saddle that fits your physical proportions. There are literally hundreds out there. Find a shop that will allow you to swap a few around and be prepared to change them over time.

I think your problem is with your saddle and not your shorts.
I’d highly recommend a proper bike fit and proper saddle measurement, ie sit bones measurement and start from there.
In all honesty different brands of bib shorts won’t make a damn bit of difference if your saddle isn’t right in the first place

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The bike fit is key! It’s amazing how your cleat/pedal interface will totally impact your saddle comfort! Worth every penny just find someone reputable. Personally I love Castelli for my bibs with the Progetto X2 chamois. By far the best I have tried for longer rides. Sugoi seems to last a little over a year and the stitching seems to fail for me. I recently bought a pair of Neopro Cycling bibs and initially I have to say I quite like them (but haven’t done long rides outdoors yet and haven’t had them long enough to see how they will hold up over time) but the price is amazing so if they work for a few seasons before I need to replace them I am ok with that. Good luck!

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Hi there, maybe not adding much to the discussion but one important thing to note, is that normally in indoor riding you have a more static position on the bike than outside, therefore your “interfaces” to the bike are more important! For me I learned that whilst outside for commuting I’m ok with a bib from aldi (really cheap and good) for indoor I use my best ones, I love Le col and Castelli. Assos Are the best but way out of my budget! And the ASSOS chamois cream is really good!

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I’ve had really good luck with “the black bibs” online, fairly cheap but just as good for me as some of the more expensive ones I’ve tried. Also for indoors I switched to a different saddle and have a rocker plate. It helps but anything more than an hour and a half still sucks…. I’m generally good for 2-5 hours outdoors.

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