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Fabric and Features Matter

Why are certain fabrics used on shorts and bibs? What is the advantage? Why wear tight fitting shorts? All your questions are answered here.



Not all compression is created equal. And, people react differently to various levels of compression. We've seen riders wearing shorts and bibs two sizes too big that are loose and have wrinkles to riders wearing bibs two sizes smaller because they like the compression. Generally, a more compressive fit is better for more elite athletic activity. Compression has multiple benefits, including: improving blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to the muscles, increasing muscle movement accuracy, increasing power output, and reducing fatigue. However, if a product feels too tight, the mental strain can produce more fatigue than the compression provides physical value.


We advise using our size guide as a base for finding the right product size, and if you have any questions, you can call us at 800.275.6953, and we can talk you through it. 


The fabric and the pattern of the garment create compression. When combined with a 3D pattern, the short or bib may feel different when standing because it is designed for the bicycling position. Also, the sublimated version of the fabric contains a higher level of polyester, which can change the material's flexibility. Here is a list of our shorts and bibs fabric rated by compression: 


(This will be a graphic)

Highest Compression:




High Compression:

ATLANTA Plus by Carvico




Medium Compression:


PriFlex - SOLID



High Flexibility:





Highest Flexibility:




What else matters?

Several elements on a short can provide additional comfort, performance, or utility, depending on where and how long you are riding.



Shorts & Bib Features:



There are several finishes on the leg opening of cycling shorts and bibs. Grippers can provide compression, keep everything in place, and look cool. Generally, grippers fall into five categories: Sewn-in, Woven, Laser Cut, Integrated, and Gripper-less. They also have different treatments for grip: Silicone, Rubberized, and Textured Fabric.




These can either be rubberized or silicone. It is a strip of elastic that is treated with the gripping material. The installation of the gripper is sewn on top and bottom. The out-of-the-box flexibility of the gripper can be reduced by the layering and sewing of material on top of the gripper. The Sewn-in has a lower profile, meaning the surface area is not as large as a wider gripper. 




The woven gripper is a high-end elastic that can be treated with or without silicone. Primal shorts and bibs use an Italian MARC® woven material that can be sublimated or dyed colors. The gripper is installed with stitching on the top only and provides the most flexibility.



Laser Cut:

MARC® Elastic Laser Cut bands are wider, which spreads out the compression over a larger surface area, and by increasing the surface area, the wider band prevents the sausage leg effect. The laser cut bands can be treated with or without silicone backing.




Using High-End Cut-Free fabrics, Integrated grippers are silicone treatments directly to the shorts and bibs fabrics. This allows the short or bib to be created without a separate gripper, creating a seamless panel and reducing the opportunities for hot spots to form. 




A few of our shorts and bibs are created without a gripper or silicone treatment. The leg opening is secured by the pattern design.



Bib Straps:

Are these just fancy suspenders? Nope. Bib straps remove the elastic at the waist of shorts, providing better comfort, superior fit, and improved blood flow. If you've never worn bibs, we can't recommend them enough. The improvement in overall ride enjoyability is so much more significant with bibs that we almost stopped selling shorts. Almost. But just like the chamois, not all bib straps are created equal. Some can be too long, others too short, and some have no flex. Just like the compression of the short, bib straps are a personal preference. We also suggest deciding based on the bicycle riding position, not how the straps feel when standing upright. We provide: Laser Perforated Seamless, AE Elite Mesh, Seamless AirMesh, and Promesh bib straps.


Need more info on what type of short or bib is best for you? Check out our guide here.



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