At first glance, any cycling shorts, be it a bibless or a bib short will look like overkill or sometimes make you think - are they supposed to look so tight? Will, they even fit me? Will I look awkward wearing them?
But ask a person who has worn and rides with them regularly and they’ll swear by the comfort and ease of usage that they provide.
Why should I be using padded shorts instead of a saddle cover?
These two words explain why padded cycling shorts are better than saddle covers - “Comfort” and ”Chafing. While a saddle cover is suitable for occasional and short rides a bib short usually has better materials used like the gel inserts used in RC 500 bib shorts which provides a greater level of comfort and absorbs the vibrations and impacts that our unevenly laid roads give us and also unlike the saddle cover they sit right on your skin and don’t rub against it as much as the saddle cover and a regular short combination does which can cause tremendous pain and discomfort in longer rides forcing you to forfeit the ride.
Why do I prefer bib shorts vs bib-less shorts?
While bibless shorts with an elasticated waistband like RC500 Bibless Shorts are a good pair of shorts, what makes the RC500 Bib Shorts great is the added mesh straps. While I own a pair of both bibless and bib shorts the straps present in the latter did offer me better support and I didn’t find myself in a situation where I had to stop and pull up my shorts (which happened a few times while riding with a bibless short). The straps may look intriguing and uncomfortable but trust me once they are on you’ll hardly notice them!
What about the fit?
Well, the first time you put on bib shorts you may feel slightly uncomfortable since it is a closer fit than your regular shorts but ideally you need to go with the sizing that is recommended for your waist size as the RC 500 Bib Shorts are designed anatomically they offer a superior fit without squeezing the life out of you. A closer fit along with the silicon-coated elasticated band on the thighs ensured that they stayed in place during my medium to long-distance rides which reduced chafing and kept me going.
Why does it have a pocket though?
We have quite some pockets present on our Jerseys, it always was on my mind if a pocket on the shorts was necessary and during my usage, it proved to be useful. Let's say you have a riding glass and the ideal place that you tend to keep it while you remove it is on the vents of your helmet which I was used to the problem being it used to fall and would often lead to scratches on them. Now with this pocket just slide one of the legs of your glass and it secures it and doesn’t let it slip and fall! You can also find an interesting read about them here.
Although it has been treated with a silver chloride treatment which gives it antibacterial properties, I recommended that you wash it regularly. Hand wash it using a mild detergent and ensure you rinse it thoroughly to ensure no detergent residue remains(it is super absorbent hence I suggest you do a thorough rinse) and for drying it use a town to pat down the water absorbed by the padding(in case you need a quicker dry time) and air dry it on a clothing line.
Don’t wash it along with gloves as the velcro they have might damage the lycra.
Is it worth the price?
Saddle being one of the 3 contact points that you have with a cycle, the combination of a good pair of cycling shorts and a saddle that suits your sit bone geometry will take your riding comfort to a whole new level. With proper care and an unmatched manufacturer’s warranty of 2 years, the RC 500 Bib shorts give you the best price to value ratio compared to any other short in the market. So I say it's worth the money and one of the best investments that you can make during your cycling life.
Few things to keep in mind
Any cycling shorts of the right size fit a little tighter than everyday use shorts. Don’t worry and trust the shorts to stretch and fit.
Don’t wear underwear when you wear them. The whole point of them being such a close fit is to reduce chafing and once you wear underwear it may slide around and reduces the benefit. The RC 500 bib shorts have great moisture management property and having underwear reduces it.
The effectiveness of the padding reduces during its usage which is not uncommon. So remember to replace this when you feel it has lost its cushioning properties.