(Inga Hendrickson)

The Best Bike Shorts of 2018


Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Nothing makes a ride like a sweet pair of shorts.

(Courtesy POC)

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.

Buy Now

(Courtesy Gore)

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.

Buy Now

(Courtesy Assos)

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.

Buy Now

(Courtesy 7mesh)

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.

Buy Now

(Courtesy Wild Rye)

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.

Buy Now

(Courtesy Rapha)

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.

Buy Now

From Summer 2018 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.