The Petunia Bib is unique in our line-up of the top women's cycling shorts. Most noticeably, it deviates from the "basic black" of the traditional cycling short, adding something unexpected: a psychedelic palm tree print with an accent of some trippy pink and purple diamond patterns.
Beyond aesthetics, though, the bib offered several surprises. The multi-panel design conforms to our tester's bodies to provide comfort and coverage where it is needed. The Shelastic 2.0 chamois - while not the most protective on our roster, nonetheless does an adequate job without adding extra, unflattering bulk. While this might not be your go-to short for those 100+ mile rides, we had a lot of fun on everything from spin classes, road races and century rides in these funky and flattering shorts.
The Shebeest model scores high in the Comfort & Fit metric for its women's specific cut that enabled our testers to ride across previously uncharted territory.
Comfort & Fit
What drew our testers to this model was its unique approach to comfort and style. The halter bib upper is an elegant solution for (no pun intended) removing that awkward moment of completely undressing in a porta-potty — just slip the strap over your head and voila!
Testers also appreciate the extra back pocket for a smartphone that keeps it under the protection of whatever jersey you have on as well as the tall, contoured waistband that keeps everything tucked in place and you looking your curvy, awesome self. Bibs aren't for everyone, though, and some testers - taller ones - found the pressure around the neck of this model to be unbearable.
The Shebeest Petunia won extra style points for, honestly, looking pretty awesome for a functional cycling short.
Padding & Protection
While most testers enjoyed the colorful ensemble, some commented that the Shelastic 2.0 chamois didn't offer enough padding. Admittedly, the SheBeest design falls somewhere between a well-endowed triathlon short and traditional cycling short. Testers who had been triathletes didn't mind the chamois at all (in fact, one tester has completed the 128-mile Death Ride in them); while others preferred thicker chamois, such as those offered in the SUGOI RS Pro Bib or Castelli Free Aero.
It is essential to keep in mind that you want to look for a well-padded chamois, and bigger isn't always better. Instead, you need to keep the length and width of it in mind. In this respect, the Shelastic 2.0 is more protective than less expensive shorts, especially the Canari Pro Gel, REI Co-Op Cycles 9", and the Terry Hi-Rise Holster who failed to meet the two-hour/40 mile threshold. We advise you to try them out. At the very least, they might be your most fashionable option for spin classes.
The polyester/spandex blend creates a breathable bib that performs reasonably well in cool and hot conditions: on mountain climbs at dawn, through a thunderstorm and on 100+ degree days, our testers feel the short does a great job of wicking sweat away, keeping your skin high and dry. The high-quality threads are smooth against the skin and, because the short is base-black, doesn't show the world how hard you are working in the saddle (i.e., it doesn't show sweat.)
Caught in a rainstorm? The Petunia Bib was among our top performers in the breathability category. In soak-tests, the Petunia bib ranked with the top third of the shorts in this review, including the SUGOI RS Pro-Bib, the Castelli Velocissima Bib, and the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit.
With reinforced seams and contoured panels, the Petunia is sure to fit like a glove and last a good long while. What worried testers most is the raw edges of the leg grippers; while nothing frayed during our testing period, this would be the short's most vulnerable area.
Even though these shorts fared well through our rigorous testing (they show no signs of wear despite some serious hours in the saddle,) the Petunia Bib ranked lower in durability due to the company's warranty policy which seemed stricter than other shorts in this review. SheBeest offers a 30-day window in which to return to exchange their product. Warranties, however, must be processed through the retailer from which you bought the bibs.
Although we saw no wear during the testing period, two "vulnerable" spots on these otherwise excellent bibs are the raw edge around the legs and the upper mesh that holds the halter in place. These could show signs of wear before other areas of this short.
This bib gets a gold star when it comes to style. Granted, looks aren't everything, but really, they rarely hurt. Of all the shorts included in this review, the Petunia bib blows style out of the water, with options that include: hot pink kitten faces, psychedelic flowers, palm fronds, gingham plaid and a crossword puzzle (among others.) If expressing your unique style is just as important as comfort, this is definitely your short.
Even if the style isn't as important to you, we still encourage you to give the Petunia Bib a try. Its unique cut and design might surprise you.
Due to its careful design and fashion-fun looks, this is a highly versatile bib that can handle everything from a spin class at your local gym to a century ride. It performs the absolute best somewhere in the middle of those two extremes — 3-4 hours in the saddle, and these SheBeest bibs as among the best performers with the most flattering details.
Colorful patterns, and a truly female-specific design make this super-flattering short the kind of garment that inspires you to explore the world from the saddle of your bike.
At $130, the Petunia Bib is certainly not the cheapest bib on the roster. But if you are looking for the protection offered by a bib with the ease of a well-made cycling short and wouldn't mind a little extra "zing" to your cycling wardrobe, you won't be disappointed in the SheBeest.
Despite all the hard work over the past two months and hundreds of miles, our testers found out one very important thing: testing out bike shorts can be fun!
This high-performing bib caught our testers by surprise: we simply love it. From the well-articulated cut, the halter bib, compact chamois, and its fashion-forward design, the SheBeest Petunia Bib is definitely worth a second look. If you're on a budget, you might want to try the short that won our Best Buy Award (the Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5) - but for the price, we doubt you'll find anything as fun and functional as the Petunia Bib.