I started road cycling when I was 21. That was back in 2009. My first bike was 4th hand. It had a steel frame, a mix of Shimano Sora and (oddly enough) Shimano Deore MTB components. It cost me a princely $250. A lot of money for a poor college student.
Note the retro curved handlebars and deore rear derailleur
My first pair of cycling bibshorts was a knock-off Team Saxo Bank pair. It cost me $30. I rarely bought new clothes in 2009, and $30 was a lot of money for shorts. Those shorts lasted a whole year. They also gave me blisters in the tender flesh between my perineum and my thighs.
The following year, i bought the same shorts again. They were cheap, and I liked the guy who sold them to me. They still gave me blisters. This time, they lasted 4 months and I had to buy more to last me the whole year. My mileage was up and I was also riding faster which is probably why they wore out so quickly. I spent $120 on shorts that year.
Buying cheap bibshorts is a rite of passage for every new cyclist. I talk often to my customers and the majority speak very fondly of the first time they got into cycling. Having spent a lot of money on a bicycle, clothing was secondary. It's normal.
I believe every new cyclist has to experience cycling on cheap bibshorts. This experience is important because when you decide to purchase something more expensive (usually better as well), the cheap bibshorts serve as a frame of reference. If you're lucky enough to be able to afford riding in expensive bibshorts all the time, I highly recommend picking up something a lot cheaper and experiencing it.
I also think splurging on really expensive bibshorts is important (if you can afford to). If you never try something new and expensive, you'll never know if it is worth it. I've purchased my fair share of really expensive bibshorts. Some were good, but cost me dearly.
RedWhite Apparel was born out of my personal experience with product from both sides of the price spectrum. I ride 3 times a week and I rotate 2 pairs of bibshorts at any given time. I retire my bibshorts after a year of heavy use and pick up fresh kit. It certainly helps if the bibshorts are affordable to do this every year.
Cheap bibshorts can be great, but from personal experience, they usually aren't. "Cheap" is also relative so for the purpose of this article, bibshorts that cost less than $50 are cheap.
Do you own a pair of bibshorts that are cheap? Are they any good?
Did you start off on a pair of cheap bibshorts? What were they like?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
@BEN ARIANS : I feel you. I actually went through a couple of suppliers before finding ones that fit well. For me, it was the fit around the thighs. I have big ones and if the fabric wasn’t good, it would overstretch and wear out really quickly. I think these replica bibs have come a long way though. I am glad new cyclists can access better quality stuff now than 10 years ago.
I’ve had two awful pairs of bib shorts in my life. One was a pair of Mapei replica bibs that fit so loose around the middle that the material didn’t contact my stomach when was leaned over in a normal riding position. If I wasn’t wearing a tight jersey, the lycra of the bibs would flap and flutter in the wind. The other pair was some CW-X bibs, and the first time I used them was to commute to work (about 10 miles). The whole day, I was dreading the ride back home. It would have been more comfortable to wear my jeans. After that I stuck with Pearl until I found RedWhite, and have made the The Bibs my go-to.