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On the other hand it's certainly possible to find good stuff that's cheap. Top of the line Performance Bike stuff (Ultra 2) is cheap but actually really good. The Ultra 2 bibs are just about the best deal going in bibs these days: great waffle fabric, nice leg bands and a very well designed pad. They're also indestructable and very well fitted. They're a steal for ~$70. Ultra 2s are my everyday shorts when I'm putting in lots of miles.
IMO, good cycling clothes are extremely important. A good pair of bike shorts and a good jersey make the difference between a terrible, uncomfortable day where you just want to stop and an "epic" day where you feel like you can ride for days at 26MPH. IMO, it makes sense to save a few bucks on bling-tastic carbon stuff and get good cycling clothes, it's money well spent.
"Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps"
My wife bought me some fancy Assos jobs. They were great on the road bike, but as I went to Tri, they wadded up in the front. They have held up great though. Definitely worth the investment if you want a long lasting product.
Since I got a TT bike, I cheaped through two 2XU jobs (POS) before finding DeSoto. Love Desoto. I now have 2 suits and a set of bibs. I can't imagine ever switching.
hope that helps
Race Reports -- DimondBikes.com -- Team Zoot
Now that I've experienced great bibs (or shorts if you go that route), I have a drawer full of formerly "great bibs/shorts" that I never touch . I wash my castellis every time between rides rather than have to go back to one of the others. That's how much better they are.
...not to change subjects, but I would say the same thing about jerseys. On the low to middle end, they are all the same (and I own a lot of them). Move up to a great jersey and they feel and perform differently. My louis garneau carbon ets (at $150) is amazingly comfortable on a long ride in difficult weather. I would say the same for my Pearl Pro jersey (at $200). Way way better in fit, ventilation, aerodynamics than anything middle of the road. ...but again, look for those closeouts, those mega sales, etc. Last year's $200 jersey on closeout for $100 or so is worth more than having 2 or 3 brand new middle of the road jerseys from this year. After many trial and error years, my motto has been become buy smarter, buy less, and buy the best you can and take good care of it. Its almost always worth it.
Pearl Izumi'sc cheap ass tri short... LOL
The entire event (IM) is like "death by 1000 cuts" and the best race is minimizing all those cuts and losing less blood than the other guy. - Dev
If money was no object, I would definitely always ride the expensive bib. But for short rides, the cheap stuff is adequate. Since the washing machine and drying does a large part of the wear and tear, having to wash an expensive bib after a one-hour ride is not the best choice finance-wise.
Fit is, of course, ultra-important. An 250$ bib that is too large will NOT be comfortable.
Francois in Montreal
Can't comment on anything higher priced though.