Best Mountain Bike Bib Shorts

The Best MTB Bib Shorts for XC Racing Review

If you are looking to get the whole package loaded safely into your MTB XC shorts, and you are tired of them moving around in uncomfortable ways, its time to go bib.

While mountain bike bib shorts are simply shorts with suspenders attached, it makes great sense.

MTB bib shorts are designed for racers or riders who prefer long rides.  XC mountain bike bib shorts provide an unmatched level of comfort and support, assuming you purchase the correct bib.

So let us assist you in making the most intelligent decision, on your next pair of XC mountain bib shorts for racing or recreation.

7 Tips for Selecting the Correct XC Racing Bib Shorts

  1. Gender Specific
  2. Chamois / Liner
  3. Shell Material
  4. Comfort / Construction
  5. Breathable
  6. Reflective
  7. Pockets

XC Mountain Bike Bib Shorts

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Gender Specific

Higher quality, better brand bib shorts are specifically cut for men, or women.  Some cheaper mountain bike bib shorts are unisex, so avoid these.

For long distance XC mountain bike riding and racing, the more perfect the bib short fits,the less likely you are to suffer skin damage, and this of the utmost importance.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Chamois / Liner

The liner within your MTB bib shorts is really the primary key to comfort and avoiding injury.  Modern mountain bike bib short liners use pre cut silicone inserts and material with stitching that is non obtrusive under extreme repetitive movement.

Typically better quality chamois are found on higher end XC racing MTB bib shorts and justify the higher price.  Some models have experimented with wool, and by far these are the best options over synthetics like polyester.  Sadly enough we live in a petroleum based economy / world, so natural products like wool that are far superior to man made synthetics, are generally priced out of the competitive market.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Shell Material

Most XC MTB bib shorts are made of a blend of either nylon / spandex or polyester / spandex.  I prefer nylon / spandex over polyester blends.  I find that polyester retains odor in a much greater capacity than nylon.

Again I prefer either pure merino wool or a merino wool blend with a small amount of spandex, but these are rare to come by.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Ergonomic / Comfort / Construction

Each company attempts to produce a size range of XC mountain bike bib shorts that must fit a wide array of riders per size.  Since all of our bodies are a little different, certain brands / cuts that are consistent tend to fit an individual better.

This can best be demonstrated with shoes.

So first, for maximum comfort, consider fit.  Then determine how the bib short stretches with your natural cycling movement.

Some XC bib short panels are cut better, and the stitching allows for better motion.  Often higher end pairs that actual racing teams use, have the best rider development feedback built into the MTB bib short’s engineering.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Breathable

A XC MTB bib short that allows for airflow is important.  Many of the fabric are coated with chemicals that claim they wick sweat, and of course the chamois itself absorbs sweat, but much depends on the temperature, and airflow externally.

Because the shell fabric is generally a very tight knit, and many times you have outer garments over the bib, this functionality and advertised feature is fairly limited.

Obviously some are worse than others, but none are great just due to the nature of the product.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Reflectivity

I think this is a bonus when it is tasteful..Everyone of us is on the road at some time, and being seen, especially during night riding, this is an important feature.

More and more mountain bike bib short manufactures are including reflective materials into their shorts.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Pockets

Having pockets can be helpful if you plan on actually using them.  If you don’t need them, avoid them simply because it is one more area of the short that can chafe you unnecessarily.

Most MTB racing bib shorts come with at least one pocket, and are usually mesh based for weight and to maximize airflow.

XC Racing MTB Bib Shorts – Conclusion

First like your daddy told you, buy the best you can from a quality brand with an excellent reputation

The higher end XC bib shorts have been team tested and represent the pinnacle of the available technology, these are your best bet.

A good pair of XC mountain bib shorts can’t be beat for both long distance riding and racing. has compiled some of the best pricing / our  favorite XC mountain bike bib shorts, click here to check them out.

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