The $40 Bib Short That Might Finally Convince You To TRY Bib Shorts!

by | Jan 3, 2019 | Gear

I’ve been saying it for years and years: Bib shorts are a gamechanger for cyclists. They alleviate the uncomfortable muffin-top effect of shorts (not just how it looks, how it feels!), providing more breathing room and comfort and—if we’re being honest—they look more flattering in ride photos. But bib shorts typically come with a higher price tag than cycling shorts, so beginners rarely opt for the suspender-style system and end up with uncomfortably tight shorts. To be honest, until I joined a team 3 years into my cycling career, I had no idea that bib shorts even existed.

And that’s where Stratton Delany of Starlight Bikes comes in. After eight years working in custom cycling apparel, he knew that bib shorts were the better option for cyclists, but that the often $150+ price tag rendered them a serious-cyclist-only piece of apparel. So, he decided to start The Black Bibs. “The Black Bibs is a simple project based around a $40 pair of bibs with no branding,” he explains. “I wanted to make simple cycling apparel affordable to new riders who may get turned off by the crazy pricetags on bibs and other apparel.”

The result was a pair of bib shorts made with standard dyed black 230gr Lycra that is used for mid-panels of the brand’s sublimated bib shorts. It’s stretchy—more so than the ‘compressive’ styles of shorts available. (Think early nineties Jazzercize-wear, but in basic black.) This may not be for everyone, but for riders sick of feeling “sucked in” every time they put on their gear, the Black Bibs provide a sigh of relief.

It’s a thicker density than pricier bibs, so it’s less cool on hot rides, but that means it won’t end up see-through after the first wash. In fact, after multiple washes and runs through the dryer, the shorts are as shiny as they were on first use. (The chamois, a dual-density foam with a microfiber cover, also held up to tough trainer rides and tougher laundry cycles.)

The pattern is the same as the one used for Starlight’s Pro+ custom bibs, worn by UCI Continental teams, and the pattern does differ between the men’s and women’s cuts. The women’s bibs feature a female-specific Coolmax chamois, and it’s surprisingly comfortable.

After weeks of riding outside and indoors on a trainer—plus plenty of wash and dry cycles in the laundry—the shorts were still in great shape, and retained their stretch and high comfort levels. Since trying a pair, I’ve waxed poetic about them to plenty of bib shorts disbelievers, and created a few converts. Because often, women in particular tend to cite the high price of most bib shorts as a reason they haven’t tried the life-changing magic of suspenders versus a waistband, having a great $40 option to share has been a gamechanger.

Available in sizes for men, women and even juniors, you can outfit a family of four for less than the cost of a standard pair of bibs, so for beginner cyclists or cyclists on a budget, this is a fantastic alternative to bargain-price shorts. And in solid, unbranded black, these shorts will complement any jersey out there — perfect for the rider who constantly changes club teams or favorite colors, and would rather save cash to splurge on a whacky patterned jersey.


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