7 Pee Break-Friendly Cycling Bibs for Women

The right bike bib shorts and pants make trailside bathroom breaks a cinch while biking. 

If you’ve ever been pregnant — or ridden with someone who is — then you already know that a ride goes something like this: ride five miles, pull over for a quick pee break; ride five more miles. Repeat. By the end of our respective pregnancies, my friend Laura and I had a pretty well-honed routine that incorporated several densely wooded pull-offs where we’d each find a tree in opposite directions, then meet back up to continue on with our ride. 

Our routine wasn’t always so well-established. When I first grew out of my normal riding clothes, I borrowed some from my husband. But men have different needs for trail-side bathroom breaks, and I soon grew tired of taking off all of my upper layers for a quick pee break — particularly when the temperatures dropped. (And honestly, I never want to have to take my shirt off to go to the bathroom, regardless of the weather.)

So my new mission became clear: Find pee break-friendly bibs that were comfortable, durable, flattering, and that made dropping trou on the trail quick and easy. Here are some favorites.

Velocio Women’s Concept Bib Short

With generously long, smooth-fitting leg grippers and a chamois that’s so cleverly integrated into the design that it’s nearly invisible, the Velocio Women’s Concept bib shorts are top-of-the-line racing bibs that are insanely flattering. They also have one of the simplest — and best — systems for enabling nature breaks. Unlike all of the other bib shorts I tested, which featured buckles, snaps, or halter-neck designs, the Concept bibs — like all of Velocio’s women’s bibs — rely on extra-stretchy straps made from narrow-knit, high-gauge elastic that’s held in place by a wide band spanning your shoulder blades. When you need to pee, you simply pull the shorts down in back; the straps stretch generously enough to allow for a nature break without needing to be removed from your shoulders. When you’re done, you simply pull the shorts back up and everything eases back into place. Best of all, the system is nearly invisible, save for a small “FreeFly” tag on the straps that makes it easier for me to tell my bibs from my husband’s when they go through the wash.

This isn’t Velocio’s first attempt at making a pee break-friendly short; the brand launched its first collection in early 2014 with 20 women’s styles and two men’s styles; among the women’s launch was a pair of pee break-friendly bib shorts featuring a zipper down the back, inspired by Velocio designer Brad Sheehan’s wife, then pregnant with their son. 

The zipper is long gone and so are the tight leg grippers that used to dominate Velocio bibs, replaced by a high-performance bib short that makes you feel fast going down the road — and that shaves times off of bathroom breaks, too.

Rapha Detachable Bib Shorts

If you prefer a little more give and grace while dropping trou trailside, the buckle on the Rapha Detachable bib shorts may help you retain a little dignity — or at least will lessen your effort if you’re hot and sweaty. A single buckle at the very back of the bibs detaches the bib straps entirely from the bib shorts, no stretching or tugging required. The brand has taken criticism for the size of the buckle — it’s about an inch wide and almost two inches long — but anything smaller, and you’d struggle to reattach the straps to the shorts when you’re done, even with the handy magnet feature that ensures you unite the two pieces correctly without twisting. Yet, if you’re planning to wear these under a hip pack or backpack, you may encounter friction due to the placement of the buckle. 

Cafe du Cycliste Sophie women’s release bib shorts

The first pair of pee-break friendly bib shorts I tested back in 2016 had a halterneck style, and I wasn’t a huge fan. The design has come a long way since then, and I really enjoyed the functionality of the Sophie bibs from Cafe du Cycliste. 

The Sophies have an all-mesh upper (both front and back) with a smooth, stretchy 9-inch insert for the part of the strap that runs around the back of your neck. There’s a small clip at the breastbone to provide a little extra structure to the mesh, but you don’t actually have to unclip it to pull the strap over your helmet and drop the shorts. I found the amount of stretch in the halter to be sufficient; critically, I didn’t feel that it cut into my neck or weighed me down in the saddle. And with the primo-feeling, laser-cut leg and nearly seamless construction, the Sophie bibs feel luxurious and look really good in the saddle — particularly in the navy color.

Kaden Primo Shorts

The Primo shorts from Vermont-based Kaden Apparel are a bit of an outlier. For one, they’re high-waisted shorts, not bibs. And they’re technically maternity shorts, though you could roll the high waist down around your hips and no one would be the wiser. But since I was testing while pregnant and since the Primos are very pee-break friendly, they made the cut. (Plus, basically no other brands are making maternity cycling gear.) 

While I still prefer bibs to shorts, the Primos would be a good gateway for shorts-loyal friends who are also bib-curious, as that tall waistband tucks everything neatly inside while providing insurance against your shirt riding up and your shorts riding down while on the trail. For all of those reasons, I put a lot of miles on the Primos during my pregnancy, riding in everything from 90-degree Florida heat, to 20-degree Vermont winters. With a dual-density, Italian-made chamois, that extra-tall belly band, and an articulated curve under the belly area, the Kaden feels smooth and bib-like in its fit, whether you’re pregnant or not. The leg bands are wide and compressive without being restrictive, and they have one pocket on the left thigh to stash snacks. 

RAB Women’s Cinder Cargo Bib Shorts

The RAB Cinder cargo bib shorts are packed full of features for a nice price. They’re the only bibs I tested with a split design in back, where the bib straps and the rear waistband stay put around your midriff while a horizontal slash allows you to pull the shorts down low enough to do your business. 

The chamois is low-bulk and the legs are laser-cut with silicone grips to keep things in place, but the real star of the Cinder bib short is its pocket design. Large, tapered mesh pockets on both thighs swallow up snacks or your phone (depending on your tolerance for things in your pockets while riding) while the midriff band hides two more mesh pockets for gels, bars, or, heck — RAB’s Cinder Phantom jacket, which tucks neatly inside. This featherweight jacket is breathable and waterproof yet packs down small enough to fit the rear midriff pockets, which I appreciated when an already cold ride turned wet.

  • Price: $160
  • Buy from RAB

Pearl Izumi Women’s PRO bib shorts

A small, inconspicuous plastic buckle holds the U-shaped straps of Pearl Izumi’s drop-tail bibs in place across your ribs. When nature calls, unbuckle the clip and activate the full width of the V-shaped crossover rear design for just enough give to let you drop trou without removing your jersey. 

I tested both the PRO and the Expedition PRO bib shorts; both have the same drop-tail design, but the Expedition version has hip pockets and two small rear pockets on the lower back, as well as a light water-resistant coating. Although slightly less expensive than the Velocio options I tested, the PRO line from Pearl Izumi feels like a top-of-the-line racing bib, with a flattering, laser-cut raw-edge leg hem and a smooth chamois integration. I also loved the lightweight fabric and appreciated the “dark ink” colorway — a nice alternative to black.

Velocio Women’s Luxe Bib Tight

Featuring the same FreeFly design I loved on the Velocio women’s Concept bib shorts, the Luxe bib tights are designed for cool — but not freezing cold — days. They’re not insulated, but I do a lot of riding in 40- to 60-degree temperatures, and I’ve banished leg warmers from my repertoire ever since one of them failed me during a cyclocross race, leaving me riding around looking like Pippi Longstocking. 

The Luxe bib tights are exactly that — luxe — with smooth lines and a mesh front panel that keeps baselayers neatly contained under your kit and make it easy to layer on baggies or mountain bike pants. At $299 they’re not cheap — but they’re also the first pair I reach for when the temperatures drop. They do take a tad more effort to pull back into place due to the high-compression fabric, but I never resented a little extra wriggling once they were smoothly back in place and I was back in the saddle.