I'm actively working on a new ultra-distance bibshort. The starting point for this new project is a brand new chamois.
Cost has always been a factor in my product development work. A better product that comes at a steep premium price just doesn't work. Developing a brand new chamois is an expensive endeavour because our current bibshort chamois is heat moulded, which requires investment in a hardened steel mould (similar to the moulds used to manufacture plastic injection moulded parts).
In order to bring cost down, this new chamois uses a mould that my chamois manufacturer already has. To make it suitable for long-distance riders, I have modified the foam layers and they way they are assembled within the chamois.
The image above shows the top surface of The BIB chamois and the new prototype chamois. The new prototype chamois is slightly longer and has a wider front mesh cup. The wider mesh cup will provide better ventilation for your genitals.
The new chamois profile is also flattened on the top compared to The BIB chamois. The idea behind this is to give the rider a flatter surface to sit on. At the time of writing this article, I don't know if this would result in a more comfortable ride, but it is an idea I am exploring with this new chamois.
The bulk of the chamois is made of foam layers that are stacked on top of each other. In the case of The BIB chamois, the foam layers are stacked up towards the rider's bottom, which results in the raised profile shown in the picture above.
For the new prototype chamois, the foam layers are stacked down away from the rider's bottom, resulting in a flatter top profile with the bulk of the active layers hidden away.
The way the foam layers are stacked is show in the image above. For The BIB chamois, since the foam layers are stacked up towards the rider, the bottom of the chamois is flat. For the new prototype chamois, the foam layers are stacked down away from the rider, resulting in a raised profile below the chamois.
I'd like to pause here and say that at this time of writing, I don't know which approach will yield a more comfortable chamois. This a prototype after all and there is a lot of test riding to be done in order to know if this new approach is an upgrade over the existing chamois (which is very popular).
The bulk of the development work on this new chamois is being done on the foam layup. At the moment, I have narrowed down the specifications to 4 foam layers. Foam layers #1, #2 & #3 are medium to high-density materials. Foam layer #4 (blue colour) is an ultra-density foam layer that is at least 2x the density of the rest combined. In the prototype above, this layer is placed furthest away from the ride and it directly contacts the saddle.
I will also be testing prototypes in which this foam layer is sandwiched between different layers. The closer the ultra-density blue layer is to the rider, the more the rider feels it. This can be a good or a bad thing. Too close, and it would result in a chamois that is too stiff with very little "give". Too far away and the chamois would not be supportive enough for ultra-distance rides.
Foam Layers #1,#2 & #3 also come in a variety of densities and properties that impact the final feel of the chamois. For the sake of simplicity, I will not be covering the nuances of that in this article.
Once this chamois is finalised, I will begin work on developing the bibshort in which it will sit. That could be some time off since my prototyping work has been slowed down by the pandemic.
Got any thoughts about this current prototype chamois and the ultra-distance bibshort project? Leave it in the comment section below.
I will be very interested to see how the new approach works. I use the bib for 24hr MTB races and for me there are 2 locations that need regular chamois cream applied after about 8hrs of riding. I think the single layer closest to the skin may assist in reducing the frequency of reapplication. :)
Good on you guys Yuva, for constantly trying to improve. Definitely be interested in trying these out when ready. For something like the Seoul-Busan-Seoul 1,000km brevet or the Korea GT (1,200km) they might just be the right bib/ chamois. That said, I haven’t felt the current bibshort chamois was incapable. For me the biggest issue over the longer rides (400km+) is simply the build up of sweaty salt crystals that end up rubbing. I don’t think (tell me if I am wrong) there’s much you can do about that issue from a design point though. Ventilation is already pretty good, and easy to get down for calls of nature. But, will try these new ones out when ready.
@MICHAEL MOORE : In all honesty, the current bibshorts are more than capable of this sort of mileage. This new version is slightly more luxurious and pushes the envelope a little bit. It remains to be seen if it is an upgrade over the current shorts.
@JAMES HOLLEY : I do have a tri specific chamois with a split end that allows you the run in it. However, I don’t have any immediate plans to launch a tri suit as my current capital is being used to develop cargo bibshorts, this new chamois and more options for women’s bibshorts.
@KEVIN : Definitely. It will come in 2 versions – regular bib & cargo bib. Regular will launch first, followed by the cargo version.
I’d love to give the a try. Hoping to get in a couple double century rides this season, as well as a 5 day 600 mile 4 state adventure. I’m a big dude 6’1” 205lb and am very interested in this new chamois
This looks an excellent development. I find some bib short chamois to be too bulky and they pinch around the top of my crotch. I am a triathlete and now tend to prefer riding with a minimal Tri specific chamois, and thus kind of mirrors this, less bulk and a bit longer.
Good work, would be keen to try.
For its intent and purpose, it gotta have mesh pockets on the sides.
@AARON BARNES : The Foam Layer #4 is designed to give that extra oomph for heavier riders and by placing it further away from Foam Layer #1, I can dial in a softer ride for lighter rides as well. There are limitations of course to how much can be done within a 4 layer stack.
@KEVIN DUKES : Will do! Keep an eye out for more updates via email on this as well as the other active projects.
@GARY KEARNS : If you’re having wear of this sort on the rear panel, it’s definitely down to tension. It’s not just material, but also fit. Just like you, I wear a size Medium bibshort, but I’m only 5 foot 10 inches in height, so the rear panel doesn’t stretch out as much as it would for a taller rider. That being said, your bibshorts are from 2018 and I have rolled out quality improvement since then. For example, the rear panel fabric is now a denser weave material with a higher abrasion rating (martensitic rating). It would hold up much longer than the previous fabric.
@JOSHUA M GREENFELD : Hi Joshua, you’re correct about this. The BIB does have a dense foam layer in the perineum area, but most of the material is at the sit bone area which is where you’d usually be on longer rides. Increasing the padding at the front area does have a drawback. It tends to make the bibshort feel too bulky when you’re not hunched forward as much. I am working to strike a balance between making it supportive enough for riders like you without making it too bulky for the rest.
Keen to give this a try. Although I don’t do the ultra distances because of my weight I struggle with saddle pressure anything that can assist with that I’m up for a go
Look forward to the unveiling
Def keep me appraised of this Bib’s availability.
I have noticed in a number of brands, including my Red White bibs, that the material above the pad, across the top of the buttocks and small of the back, tends to wear and thin reletavely quickly compared to the remainder of the bib. I gather the high wear is caused by constant tension across the lower back while in the riding position. I think we all accept this wear as just part and parcel of cycling, but it is usually what dictates the retirement of the bibs, and is often the only damage. If there was something to improve, that would be it.
Love the classic BIB but the longer chamois on this prototype is really interesting. I tend to ride a very forward position with a lot of pressure towards the front of the saddle so the longer chamois sounds great. From cheaper to more expensive chamois, I’ve personally never had a problem in the sits bones/butt area but rather the frontal area. As far as I can tell, most companies aren’t paying attention to the frontal area and focus only on the butt area. Thank you for taking a more holistic approach. I’m interested to see how this turns out!
@HAN : The chamois coverage is slightly more, but only just. The current bibshorts use a pad that is incredibly popular and improving on that is quite a big challenge. I’ll likely not make the bibshort more compressive because the current fit on the existing shorts is dialed in well. I will be looking at introducing more in-between sizes to cover a wider range of body types which would make finding a perfect fit even easier.
@MARK J COX : The original plan was to have production ready prototypes by May 2020, but the pandemic has slowed down my supply chain. With luck, if I could get samples ready by end of May, I could finish testing by July and have a production batch ready to launch by October 2020. It’s a tall order though at this moment. You’d likely see a Cargo bibshort launching before this new ultra-distance bibshort.
@JEAN VAN HERREWEGE : Foam Layer #3 is almost the same width as on the current bibshorts. However, because it’s below the rider, and the rider sits on a flatter surface, it would feel wider. It’s tricky to add more width at the moment because the current chamois is already quite generously sized and plush.
@KEITH LOUIE : Yup! Foam Layer #4 is the missing piece. 24 Hour MTB riders such as yourself do push my gear to the max and the 2x dense foam in Layer #4 will give the extra support you need over such long races. Where I choose to place this layer is key at the moment. Too close to the rider, and the chamois will be too stiff.
@LINDSAY MCCRAE : Working on 2 inch shorts for the taller and leaner riders. I keep getting asked about this by the 1.9m riders and have prototypes incoming.
Hi yuva. Hope that the new chamois can cover a wider area and more cushion without feeling bouncy of the seat bone. Also, hopefully the design on the bibshort could have a better compression and better more streamline fits.
Looking good Yuva ,
Let me know when the new chamois Bibs available . What percentage of increase can we anticipate for longer rides
Dear Yuva, great work. I expect from an ultra-distance bibshort that the chamois gives even better cushioning and that the width of the damping part (foam layer 3 ?) becomes even wider compared to the classic bibshort. With the classic bib shorts I sometimes already have the feeling that the width of the cushioning part is a little bit too narrow.
Hi Yuva, keep up the great work and this looks exciting! My sit bones cops the most punishment on big rides. Just wonder if any thought has been put into this area for more comfort?
Looks very interesting. Loved the race pad but found the bib a little bulky at times? This new project may be the sweet spot? Possibly lengthen the shorts a little 2-5cm? Or offer 2 lengths? As they can feel a little short at times. Otherwise great product. I have raced 24+hrs with zero issues :o)