Non-Expert Review: Women's Specialized SL Pro Bib Shorts

Don't wear bibs. Just don't. It's really hard for girls to pee. 
I like the way bibs sort-of suck in my core and smooth things out under my jersey.
All the racers wear bibs!
Men have to drop trou too! Multiple times before a race. It's not that hard. We figure out how to do it in bibs. 

With all of this in mind, I tried on some women's cycling shorts. And men's bibs because those were the only bibs in the store. I'd never worn bibs, but I typically get excellent cycling advice from the guys who really like them.

The women's shorts didn't fit well. The men's size small bibs felt pretty good, but they were just a little too big. Men's XS might work, but there were none in stock. My LBS buddies thought I'd get a better fit with women's sizes, so they ordered some women's-specific bibs for me to try and asked me to write a review.

The bibs are the Specialized SL Pro Bibs in black, boasting UV Deflectuv 50 fabric and Body Geometry (BG) chamois. The tag describes them:

Performance rider focused, lightweight and minimal for aggressive riding. 

Aggressive sounded fast! And being a performance rider sounded hella awesome.

Performance rider..... aggressive.... fast.... smooth under jersey.... 

I tried them on in a medium and a small. The smalls felt the best around my legs, which is where shorts tend to run tight on me. They felt good on my body, really good, and I imagined that I looked waaayyy better in my jersey. Something about the cuff seam is mildly unflattering on my particular thighs, but I decided to test-ride them anyway. 

I broke them in on my cross bike, which has a saddle that reminds me to stay up on my legs. If I don't sit in that one exact position that's been trained into me, it chafes at 2mm North.

I was out of the saddle a lot on the single-track of course, and I sat for the roads to and from. I was almost home when I realized I had forgotten to sit properly. I was having so much fun riding that I just didn't even think about it. An instant later, I realized that it didn't matter! No chafing! None! 2mm North was totally protected! 

I've since ridden them for a couple hundred miles, both on my fast bike with the amazingly comfortable saddle, and a few more times on the cross bike. I got similarly awesome results. 2mm North remains blissfully un-chafed. 

According to Specialized, the BG Chamois is:

The first true ergonomically designed, scientifically tested integration between saddle and pad and rider. 

The chamois looks like this:

l to r: BG Chamois, General Grievous

l to r: BG Chamois, General Grievous

The chamois has a lot of acreage. There's even more of it tucked up under the front in the image. And it feels almost architectural in spots, especially around the "eyes," where my sit-bones support my weight. I thought the chamois would be uncomfortable and bulky, but it's actually amazing. I don't think it's bulkier than any other shorts I've worn, and it protects not only 2mm North, but ALL of the other sensitive topography as well. It feels luxurious to ride on. Soft against my skin while softening the ride.

It is true that it takes a minute to dig down under winter layers to shrug off the suspenders and drop trou. 

Disrobing at 10,000 feet in early October

Disrobing at 10,000 feet in early October

I've since discovered this: the hack that allows girls to urinate easily with the bibs on. Just be sure to aim carefully and discard properly. 

The bibs are crazy comfortable. It's lovely not to have any sort of waistband. Like naked lovely. The midsection of the bibs feels great. It's not at all tight, just smooth and gently supportive of my core. I imagine that I look better in my jersey, so I probably carry myself and project confidence in a way that makes me look better in my jersey. Which generates a positive-feedback loop of feeling confident and strong and riding well.

In the ritual of preparing to ride, these bibs are my go-to bottoms. Nothing else feels as good against my skin and on the bike, and nothing else makes me feel as fast. 

MSRP: $175.


And 2mm North? Feels so good, I can hardly remember exactly where that spot is any more.