The Best Bike Shorts of 2018
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Nothing makes a ride like a sweet pair of shorts.
POC Raceday Enduro Shorts ($130)
These are meant for going fast downhill, but the Raceday has become our go-to on big-mountain outings. The massive side-zip front pocket is a handy place to stash a phone, bar, and tool, and the stitched-in elastic-Velcro belt makes fit a cinch. Over-the-knee scalloped tailoring adds a touch more protection.
Gore C7 Pro 2in1 Bib Shorts ($200)
The C7 Pro’s materials and economy of fit won us over. The design is genius, combining well-made bibs with built-in baggies so you don’t have to, and eliminating spandex creep below the hem of your shorts. The pad is also a highlight—better quality than you typically find at this price.
Assos T.équipe Evo Bibs ($220)
Assos bibs are the plushest on the market, but the price tag can be prohibitive. Enter the T.équipe, which is affordable and also comfier and higher-performing than most brands’ premium offerings. It retains the Swiss company’s expert tailoring and proprietary materials while adding a slick ventilated pad that won’t chafe.
7mesh WK2 Shorts ($130)
Our testers prefer bibs. Or they did until they pulled on the WK2. A massive waistband that puts yoga tights to shame, combined with a women-specific cut and chamois, makes these our favorite bottoms. What’s more, shorts are cooler and more conducive to nature’s call. Consider us converts.
Wild Rye Freel Shorts ($109)
Even after a summer spent mashing through piñon and juniper, these women’s shorts have yet to tear or fray. Not only are they durable, but they’re insanely comfortable, with stretchy nylon fabric and a wide waistband. The Freel is best on cool days—all that durability sacrifices breathability—when you want to get after it. Plus, cactus.
Rapha Brevet Cargo Bibs ($270)
Cargo bibs aren’t new, but the Brevet resets the bar, with two full mesh pockets in the rear and another on each quad that are nearly big enough to fit an iPad. We were able to carry everything we needed without dragging around a heavy, sweaty hydration pack. Oh, and Rapha’s thick pad takes the sting out of washboard.