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Thermal Bib Shorts

Old 11-22-21, 11:38 AM
  #1  
force10
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Thermal Bib Shorts

Who uses these? I am wondering if I ought to include some in my wardrobe.

Currently I have a rotation of about 5 pairs of regular bibs. As the wx gets cooler, I also have a pair of 3/4 length bibs that I use. After that, I use the regular bib shorts under a pair of biking tights (no chamois) that have a very light fleece on the inside. For really cold wx (25 F and under), I have a pair heavier weight water resistant bib tights (no chamois) that I use with a separate liner/chamois.

Am I missing something by not using the thermal shorts? Are they required if you want to use leg warmers properly?

As it stands, I feel like the 3/4 length bibs only have a short window of usefulness during the year.
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Old 11-22-21, 12:54 PM
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I've never tried insulated shorts. The combos that I use, from warmest to coldest conditions are as follows:

- Bib shorts
- Bib shorts under jogging pants (not quite tights, but more snug than sweat pants)
- Insulated bib tights (ankle length)

Of course, there are several different combos for my upper body as well.

I don't see how insulated shorts would fit into this lineup, although I guess with leg warmers you'd have versatility for changing conditions.
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Old 11-22-21, 01:15 PM
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The way I do it is
>60 bib shorts
50-60 bib shorts with leg warmers
<50 insulated full length bibs
i don’t see a need for insulated bib shorts.
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Old 11-22-21, 05:27 PM
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my repertoire has a lot of overlap, generally speaking I break it down this way.

>55 bib shorts
45-55 bibs with knee warmers
30-50 thermal bib shorts with knee warmers (sometimes leg warmers)
30-50 3/4 bibs
25-40 thermal bib tights, full-length
>35 (and up to 40 if raining) PI AmFib bib tights

I don't need the thermal bib shorts, but I have them, so I use them. Also, all of my options have a chamois, I don't layer on the lower body. Personal preference.
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Old 11-22-21, 05:56 PM
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I use and like thermal bib shorts because they’re quite flexible temp-wise, filling in that fall shoulder season, when 50°F feels frigid even though come spring, that same temp feels balmy! Pair thermal leg warmers, and the effective range of thermal bib shorts dips to freezing. It’s true I don’t use the a lot, but they’re perfect for the days they’re perfect for.
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Old 11-22-21, 06:15 PM
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I do not see the need/use for thermal bib shorts. For cold weather I wear full length thermal bibs. In cool weather I'll opt for 3/4 length knickers. That combination seems to work well for me.
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Old 11-22-21, 08:11 PM
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Long early season rides can swing from the 30's to the 70's. Thermal bibs with knee warmers are perfect for a ride like that. I agree with chaadster , I don't use them a lot, but they're nice to have when I do.
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Old 11-22-21, 09:24 PM
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I use wool or lycra tights down to about freezing (0°C/32°F). Below that, I'll wear silk long underwear under the tights.
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Old 11-23-21, 06:15 AM
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I've never even heard of thermal bib shorts before your post. I use a combo of bibs/knee warmers/tights/thermal tights like the others above. If really cold, I've worn an extra wind blocking layer (rain pants from my hiking/skiing/snowshoeing clothes closet).

That said, if money was not a concern, thermal bib shorts do sound like they might be nice in certain conditions. Of course, wearing thermal bibs just means you're not wearing regular bibs, extending the life of the regular bibs, so actually if the thermal bibs are not significantly more expensive then the cost is a wash.

Dammit, now you've got me thinking about buying a pair, or two. I already have a closet full of cycling clothing and bits of gear. And if I get them, my wife will want some too.

Thanks a lot, OP.
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Old 11-23-21, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Dammit, now you've got me thinking about buying a pair, or two. I already have a closet full of cycling clothing and bits of gear. And if I get them, my wife will want some too.

Thanks a lot, OP.
Voler has 20% off everything right now. treat yo self!
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Old 11-23-21, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Dammit, now you've got me thinking about buying a pair, or two. I already have a closet full of cycling clothing and bits of gear. And if I get them, my wife will want some too.

Thanks a lot, OP.


A similar situation (too many cycling clothes already) is why I'm not tempted. That, and not much flexibility temperature wise, and I've already got that temperature range covered (and then some) with the rest of the gear. Too cold for regular shorts or bibs? I add knee warmers. Too cold for knee warmers? Tights. And if, as happens sometimes on long rides, it gets warm in the middle of the day, the knee warmers and tights can come off and I'll carry them for a while. Kind of hard to imagine doing that with thermal bibs.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:04 AM
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Knickers are fine for the purpose. I'm fine with them from ~40-60 degree weather which can cover a lot of the shoulder season temps in the northeast. With 6" socks there's only a few inches of exposed leg and it's not a part of me that I feel anyway. And even above 60 degrees, I don't detect overheating because my knees are too warm. Then again, I've never been attracted to the notion of knee or arm warmers -- I like to dress once and undress once. But there evidently are parts of the world (Illinois it seems above) where 40 degree swings in temperature occur during the course of ride, in which case I start to see the attraction.
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Old 11-23-21, 11:04 AM
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Interesting range of opinions. Seems like climate has some bearing on the utility of thermal bibs, unsurprisingly.

For those that who use thermal bibs, do I read it correctly that you always head out with at least knee warmers in addition? In other words, you are never wearing just the thermal bibs unless temps rise enough mid-ride?

I guess I am asking if purchasing thermal bibs also kinda commits you to buying leg/knee warmers as well if you don’t already use them?
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Old 11-23-21, 11:48 AM
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I like thermal bib shorts. I ride them all winter, in Chicago. I pair them with knee warmers for temps ranging from 45F down to around 32F. For temps below 32F, I'll pair them with thermal leg warmers. If it's super cold (below 25F) I'll throw a pair of tights on top of the bibs/leg warmers for an extra layer. I don't really ride in temps below 20F very often, so there's that I suppose.

Thermal knickers and thermal bib tights would accomplish the same thing, but I find the shorts + knee/leg warmers to give me a lot more flexibility, particularly for days when I start out in the 30s and it warms up to the 50-60s.
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Old 11-23-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Interesting range of opinions. Seems like climate has some bearing on the utility of thermal bibs, unsurprisingly.

For those that who use thermal bibs, do I read it correctly that you always head out with at least knee warmers in addition? In other words, you are never wearing just the thermal bibs unless temps rise enough mid-ride?

I guess I am asking if purchasing thermal bibs also kinda commits you to buying leg/knee warmers as well if you don’t already use them?
For me, if it's warm enough to have my knees uncovered when I head out, I'm just wearing regular bib shorts. I don't think I've ever started a ride in thermal bib shorts without knee or leg warmers.

For reference, I tend to wear knee warmers when the temps are between 35F-60F. If it's above 50F, I'd probably just wear regular bib shorts with them.
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Old 11-23-21, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
For those that who use thermal bibs, do I read it correctly that you always head out with at least knee warmers in addition? In other words, you are never wearing just the thermal bibs unless temps rise enough mid-ride?

I guess I am asking if purchasing thermal bibs also kinda commits you to buying leg/knee warmers as well if you don’t already use them?
That's true for me. I only wear thermal bibs if there are going to be big temp swings and I'll need knee/leg warmers either in the morning or at night. If it never gets above 60 I'll just wear knickers, and if it never gets below 60 regular shorts are fine.
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Old 11-23-21, 07:24 PM
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Before Lycra became the main material for cycling clothing, knicks and jerseys were mostly made from wool. During an Australian summer, wool was WAY too hot but for much of Europe it was still fine for most of the year.
I assume that what you call "thermal" is what I know as "Super Roubaix" material and this is much closer to wool in its warmth than lycra is.
Thermal bibs are good for 60 Fahrenheit and bellow but above 70 Fahrenheit they feel a bit too warm.
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