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The top 6 best gravel cycling bibs

In this article I’m going to give you a number of the very best gravel cycling bibs worth your money.

Gravel riding has taken the world by storm, and a huge number of cyclists have turned in their road cycle for a more adventurous gravel bike.

And it’s no surprise that cycling apparel specifically designed for this discipline would follow soot. And the birth of gravel cycling bibs was a fact.

Naturally your traditional road cycling setup, or even your baggy MTB shorts will do the job, but gravel cycling bibs took the best of both worlds. Using more abrasive resistant materials and extra cargo space in cycling bibs fulfill the needs of the average gravel rider perfectly.

And some of those cycling bibs have made it onto this list of the best gravel cycling bibs. Enjoy.

Pearl Izumi Men's Expedition Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Men's Expedition Bib Short
Pearl Izumi Men's Expedition Bib Short

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Expedition Bib Short is a cargo short with plenty of storage meant for road and gravel riders.

The bib short features a dual-density Men’s ELITE Escape 1:1 chamois. Its top layer can move independently from its foam layer, which reduces friction and chafing. It means that these shorts are perfect for your average dry ride and will prove to be comfortable for a number of hours in the saddle.

The short is made from compression fabric and has 2 large thigh pockets. This means you can store larger objects, like your phone, as well as smaller ones like multiple energy bars or small tools. The compression fabric ensures a snug, yet comfortable fit.

Furthermore, the short has breathable mesh straps and a large mesh back panel. Silicone printed hems to keep the short in place.

For anything but ultra-distance riding, these shorts are a fantastic option, that doesn’t hurt your wallet too much, offers good storage options, looks the part, and are durable as well.

Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort

Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort
Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort

The Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort is a cycling short meant for riders who appreciate added level of protection in case of a crash.

It features Castelli’s top-of-the-line Progetto X2 Air chamois made for comfort for ambitious cyclists. Men’s specific pressure points are more supported with an added layer of perforated padding, besides a skin layer, and dual density foam layer. This means a further reduction of saddle soreness when riding for many hours.

Mesh straps are attached to bibs made from compression fabric and having strengthened side panels made from Dyneema® Composite Fabric, which is stronger, lighter, and more abrasion resistant than comparable nylon fabrics. So should you ever fall with this fairly expensive piece of cycling apparel, chances of you actually tearing them are significantly reduced.

If you take your riding and safety seriously and you want an exquisitely designed cycling bib, the Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort should be at the top of your list.

Sportful Supergiara Bibshort

Sportful Supergiara Bibshort
Sportful Supergiara Bibshort

The Sportful Supergiara Bib Short is a more traditional bib short from the Italian brand, which also caters to the gravel community by offering bibs with pockets.

It’s meant for race-day with a tight compression fabric but still holds their impressively comfortable gravel-specific DMS chamois. Such a pad does make a difference when traversing less than ideal road conditions for longer periods. With a firm section in the back for rough sections and minimal padding up front for going into the drops on smoother tarmac, they’re perfectly suited for gravel riding and feel amazingly comfortable.

The entire back panel and front straps are created from mesh fabric, with a large side section connecting front and back. Together with the fabric you get a pair of shorts that stay in place, look the part and feel comfortable.

There are 3 pockets. One located at the left leg and two in the back, measuring 10 x 13 cm each, with the one on the leg being 16 x 11 cm. With today’s huge phones, especially when sleeved, you might still opt to place them somewhere else. But they perform adequately for energy bars.

The shorts are beautifully crafted and fit your average build perfectly. So if you’re looking for maximum comfort for your next gravel ride the Sportful Supergiara Bib Short should be one to consider.

Sportful Ltd Shield Bibshort

Sportful Ltd Shield Bibshort
Sportful Ltd Shield Bibshort

The Sportful Ltd Shield Bibshort provides the ultimate solution for road crashes with a cycling bib built to last.

Anyone who’s ever been in a high-speed crash knows that besides bruises and fractures, it’s actually road rash that can be exceptionally painful. Sportful decided to create a cycling bib which specifically protects against this.

Panels made from Cordura are attached to elastic micromesh. This synthetic material was developed for the military and has now found its use for both ambitious road and gravel riders. Elastic mesh straps and panels keep the bib in the correct place.

The TC Pro chamois offers the best in performance-oriented comfort with a multi-density foam layer following the male anatomy, and alleviating pressure where it matters.

A premium cycling bib for those who demand nothing less.

POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts

POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts
POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts

The POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts sits at the top of the Swedish brand’s cycling bibs.

The VPDS Contour pad has all the bells and whistles other pads provide as well, including added silicone pads for maximum shock absorption and road buzz reduction. It means that these shorts are meant for those who like long hours in the saddle with possibly less than ideal road conditions.

The long leg grippers in combination with the large back panel makes sure the short always stays in place.

The cycling bibs get bonus points for its design, with the ceramic reinforced material, not only being abrasive resistant, but also featuring a delicate ringed pattern. POC claims that should you ever find yourself in a crash, this helps to slide the material along instead of ripping. Truth be told I haven’t tested this.

POC is known for making high-quality products and these shorts certainly look and feel that way, as it should for the price they charge for these premium cycling bibs.

Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts

Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts
Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts

The Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts are more than excellent shorts for a very reasonable price.

Beautifully designed, they offer a mesh back panel that wraps around your body into a high waist, ensuring a great look with comfortable straps at the front.

The C2 pad has three layers of various densities made in a way that reduces waste. The thickest parts sit at the sit bones offering necessary damping qualities.

The shorts themselves are made from recycled polyamide, so you know Craft is big into sustainability. The brand is known for creating very durable products.

It falls into the category of cargo bibs, sporting pockets at the legs and a single zip pocket in the back.

A great product for road and gravel cyclists who can appreciate high-quality comfortable bib shorts for a great price.

Specifications gravel cycling bibs

Buy at Amazon
Pearl Izumi Men’s Expedition Bib Short
125 USD
Men’s ELITE Escape 1:1®
straps w. back panel
ELITE Transfer compression fabric
silicone printed cuffs
2 thigh pockets
Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort
250 USD
Progetto X2 Air
mesh straps w. mesh back panel
Forza fabric w. Vortex panels
GIRO4 leg gripper
Sportful Supergiara Bibshort
195 USD
mesh straps w. mesh back panel
stretch woven
1 mesh cargo pocket on left leg and 2 mesh pockets on back
Sportful Ltd Shield Bibshort
240 USD
TC Pro
mesh straps w. mesh back panel
laser-cut micromesh
POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts
250 euros
VPDS Contour
mesh straps w. mesh back panel
stretch woven
Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts
140 euros
mesh straps w. mesh back panel
Lycra Sport Energy
stretch woven
1 thigh pocket, 1 zip pocket in back
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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