Where your bib-short meets the saddle is both a sensitive and crucial point. The ‘tail end’ of your cycling experience can hugely impact how a ride feels. That’s why Shimano’s bib short designers decided to work together with the professionals of bikefitting.com and make sure this all-important point of contact is as scientifically supported as possible.

Because where your bib hugs the saddle and how this feels is essential for enjoying rides and your performance. That's why we design and test our bib shorts and chamois both through real-world rides and science.

In the search for the perfect fit between your behind and bike, we collaborate closely with bikefitting.com. They are specialists when it comes to dialling in bikes for thousands of serious cyclists. But we trust their knowledge and tools in a new and different way. Our Apparel and Accessories team combine their knowledge of pads, materials, fit and usage with insights from the bikeftting experts into positioning and pressure points. In practice, this means that product developers like Laura Bartels and Katlijn Engelberts found a new edge when it comes to developing new (bib) shorts.

“With this collaboration, we’re able to use a standardised bike set-up to test the first impression of a lot of different (bib) shorts” Katlijn explains. “This extra source of input actually helps us to get more consistent ‘data’. Because external factors like the bike, the saddle or weather and riding conditions are taken out of the equation during this phase of testing.”

“We set the bike-fitting rig up for each test rider so we can recreate the exact same conditions each time we test this way. This is important because every single small detail of a (bib) short can influence the perceived fit. Every seam, every panel and millimetre of material affects this, besides the all-important chamois. Because we use the same setup every time we test we can focus on these details. Every test rider needs to get on the bike-fitting bike for just a few minutes, because we’re interested in their initial response and experience, and combine that feedback with the pressure map per rider and short combo. This way we listen to the riders and match that with data, creating a unique and way more scientific insight.”

“The added value of the pressure points maps is that we can check qualitative feedback from the test riders to more quantitive scientific data. If we see values or feedback from the questions the riders answer after each test and can connect that to a specific position that tells us as designers a lot. Besides creating a clearer feedback picture, it also helps us understand the difference between men's and women's shorts and chamois even better. You can imagine that differences in anatomy and body shape play a huge part in finding that perfect combination of material and thickness of the chamois and the design of the (bib) short.”

Another aspect is sizing. There is way more to this than just adding or cutting some material. Body dimensions play a huge part in understanding correct sizing and this is where our collaboration also comes into play. “Now we can test every possible size of the bib shorts and can take a way wider variety of body types into account, making our approach more inclusive because we care for every booty on a bike” product developer Katlijn adds smiling.

“With this approach, we know better how to find the best fit possible. We can design, develop and create the optimal bib short more effectively through science. You can experience the result yourself online via the online bib selector. So let the ride decide over on (https://shimano-bib-selector.web.app/) where you can find your bib from the comfort of your own home. But the true verdict can only come from testing it yourself. So make sure to try one of our scientifically tested and designed bibshorts yourself at your local Shimano reseller too.”

“Being able to collaborate with the experts of bikefiiting.com really elevates the whole design process. We are better able to make decisions on very important details. For most (bib) shorts we produce two to three different prototype iterations. For every version, we make use of this scientific approach as it is the fastest way to get a lot of valuable feedback. We’re even looking into the possibility of using data sets from other bikefitting.com sessions or even AI to extrapolate or cross-reference feedback.”

Besides this new and unique way of scientific testing, the collaborating specialists also still rely on the more traditional way of extensive outdoor testing. Resulting in hundreds of hours of actual cycling by the test riders. “Outdoor testing is a bit different. Here the feeling and experience over multiple rides are the focus points. There are so many variables that can influence the outcome here, it comes down to simulating as many different scenarios as possible. Riders will head out on shorter rides but will also do up to ten-hour stints on the bike, depending on what sort of (bib) short they are testing. “Faster, more aero-focused efforts demand a different kind of kit than for a relaxed, coffee ride, and we make sure we add every imaginable kind of ride to the real-world test rides. Combining the outcome of these two different phases we combine the best qualitative and quantitative data” - Laura Bartels -

“Of course know what each new (bib) short is intended for the same sort of riding. Intensity, conditions, duration and experience all decide the best fit. For longer endurance efforts a rider’s position and demands will be different than for more intense workouts or races. We create an extensive range of (bib) shorts for every kind of ride. From the lightweight and aero S-PHYRE shorts to more relaxed gravel gear and just about every conceivable kind of kit in between. Discover yours online and let the ride decide: [https://shimano-bib-selector.web.app]

Find out more about our collaboration.

Find out more about the women's shorts

Find out more about the men's shorts