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Bike Stuff | November 2021 | Edition #1

Knicks. Bibs. 

What’s the difference?

Guest post by Petra Kliese

When you’re starting out, or expanding your cycling wardrobe, the right kit for the right activity is key! If you’re unsure on buying a pair of bibs, Knicks or both – and when you should be wearing them - keep reading!

What are Knicks and Bibs?

Knicks are a pair of cycling shorts, held up by a waistband, while Bibs differ as they are held up primarily with straps that cover over your shoulders (similar to suspenders). While Bibs hold firm around you body and waist, there isn’t a waistband holding them up like Knicks.

When do I wear my Knicks?

Knicks are an awesome choice for a number of recreational biking activities – and they are generally a bit cheaper… Win! I wear my knicks for… 

  • Commuting to work (which is an easy 8km for me): I’m all for a quick change over at the end of my commute, so using Knicks makes sense – quick pull on and off!
  • Short easy rides: I reach for my Knicks when I’m heading out on the bike for an easy ride, where I’m unlikely to be getting into any aerodynamic positions on my bike (the more bent over you are the more you do not want a waistband!).
  • Mountain biking: Mountain biking isn’t my primary type of biking – so sometimes my road cycling kit becomes a mountain biking kit overnight! When I’m bashing around, I much prefer to be wearing my knicks – they are easier to pull off for a quick rest break in the bushes and if I have a big fall and damage them, they are a bit cheaper to replace!

When do I wear my Bibs?

Bibs are the pinnacle of cycling shorts, they are super versatile and are often the shorts of choice for the majority of my cycling activities. Bibs are comfortable around your belly and waist and come up higher than Knicks; This means when you are leaned over and your jersey creeps up – you wont be exposing your lower back (super important in winter!). I wear my bibs for…

  • Medium to long rides and/or climbing mountains: My general rule is – if the ride is over 20kms I put on bibs. It just means when you are on the bike for an hour+ you are comfy the whole time! f!
  • Races: When racing I’m often tucked into an aerodynamic position or resting on triathlon bars – in this position bibs far outperform knicks. No pressure on your waist/belly (so you can do deep belly breaths), and if your jersey creeps up you don’t show any skin!
  • When I don’t know what I’m expecting:  If you are like me – you often meet up with mates and the ride could end up being 20kms, 40kms, 50kms, climbing a random mountain, getting stuck in the rain etc. For these rides bibs mean you are prepared for anything! e!

Rule of thumb 1 – activity type

If you are cycling for a longer period of time and/or you are likely to be crouched over in an aerodynamic position, Knicks are not the right shorts for that activity – get some bibs! For every other ride – Knicks are a good choice! .

Rule of thumb 2 – body type

Consider your body shape, sometimes if you have a larger belly/waist – the preference is unlikely to be Knicks as the waist band may be uncomfortable.

Final word of advice…

If you’re starting out and buying your first pair of cycling shorts (and might only have one pair for awhile) – I would recommend getting yourself a pair of bibs – this means that you are not restricted at all and can feel confident you have shorts for any ride that you are looking to tackle. If you’re expanding your wardrobe and want some variety, I would recommend a pair of Knicks to add an extra easy option for that commute or easy ride.

About the Author

Petra Kliese

Petra, a Brissie local, has had a love for riding around South East Qld on two wheels for as long as she can remember! As primarily a road cyclist, she’s always getting involved with community cycling events. Not to mention her involvement with her group triathlon team, Still_triing, where she races in the cycling leg (check them out on Instagram @still_triing). As well as this she is an aspiring Strava local legend, New Farm roundabout record holder and an all round sporting enthusiast. She is proud to be an ambassador for Birds on Bikes, a brand which she finds herself wearing almost daily!

You can check out our Birds on Bikes Knicks and Bibs here