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Machines For Freedom Bib Shorts & Cycling Jersey Review

Looking for your next favorite cycling kit? Meet Machines For Freedom. The clothing from this company is high-quality, comfortable, and designed for women (by women).

In addition to creating top-notch cycling apparel, the company has also made an effort to create clothing that works and fits women of a wide variety of sizes. If you’ve ever struggled to find a pair of shorts that fit at your local bike shop (hand raised!), you’ll appreciate that Machines For Freedom has designed their clothing for you.

In my experience, the best women’s cycling apparel comes from smaller, women-owned brands. That’s why I was excited to try out the Machines For Freedom endurance bib shorts and their longsleeve summerweight jersey.

In this review, I share my experience and opinions with both to help you decide if this brand might be a good fit for you. (Pun totally intended).


Where To Buy:



Machines For Freedom Endurance Bib Shorts

machines for freedom endurance bib shorts

Pros:

  • Come in a wide variety of sizes
  • Thick, comfortable chamois
  • Wide comfortable leg grippers
  • Lots of compression
  • No waistband to dig in / no plumbers crack
  • 30 day trial period

Cons:

  • No halter or snaps for easy pee breaks
  • Stitching on multiple panels caused some irritation

Price: $235

Bibs Come In A Huge Range Of Sizes

Most women’s bike shorts come in S, M, or L and don’t really fit that well regardless of what size you are. The Machines For Freedom bibs, on the other hand come in sizes ranging from XS to XXXL and fit hips from 34 inches to 54 inches.

They have a pretty good fit guide on their website, and I found that I was able to order the right size based on my measurements.

Compression Is Startling AT First…But Nice Once You Get Used To It

The first time I tried the bibs on, I thought for sure that they were too small. I had to wiggle my way into the bibs and they were TIGHT.

Then, I discovered that the “tightness” is really compression and that the shorts are intended to be that way. If you’re not used to your bibs being that compressive, it might be a bit startling at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it.

I found that the compression was supportive and felt good on long rides. In fact, once I got used to it, I really enjoyed the compression.

Chamois Is Super Comfortable, Even On Long Rides

The chamois on the MFF bibs are where this short really shines. It’s comfortable, doesn’t bunch of rub the wrong way, and is thick enough for even the very longest rides.

In recent years, I’ve become a bit of a chamois minimalist–primarily because I found that thicker chamois had a tendentcy of giving me saddle sores. No such problem with the MFF chamois.

If you’re looking for a chamois for century or all day rides, you should definitely take a look at the Machines For Freedom bib short.

machines for freedom chamois

Nice, Wide, Non-Restrictive Leg Bands

Unlike the leg bands on most shorts–those awful ones that dig into your legs–the ones of the Machines For Freedom bibs are comfortable. They are nice and wide and have grippy material to keep the shorts in place. With these shorts, you’ll never suffer from the dreaded sausage legs again!

I found that the legs were comfortable and stayed in place. They didn’t ride up or dig into my skin.

leg gripper

Why You Should Try Bibs

Compared to regular bike shorts, bibs are awesome! There is no waistband to dig in and you’ll never have to worry about your muffintop or plumbers crack spilling out.

As someone who constantly adjusts her jersey to make sure I don’t have any skin showing around my middle, I find that bibs provide me way more comfort. I don’t have to worry about clothing malfunctions, I can just ride my bike.

Not Easy To Get On….Or To Take Off For Bathroom Breaks

My only real complaint with theses bibs is that there’s no easy way to get them off to pee. I would love if they came with a halter, buckle, or snaps like many women’s bibs do, so that I could take them off without stripping all the way down.

The other issue is that the shorts take some serious finagling to get on. They are TIGHT. This made it even harder to deal with in road-side poratpotties, as I had to wiggle to get them over my hips.

machines for freedom cycling bibs

Seams May Irritate Sensitive Skin

Let me preface this section by emphasizing that I have VERY sensitive skin. As in, I can’t leave tags in new clothes for an entire day without getting an awful rash.

That said, the MFF bibs really irritated my skin on longer rides. There are a bunch of panels sewn together on the shorts, and after an hour or so they would start to irritate my skin. Chamois cream DID help when I applied it on those sensitive areas.

For women without sensitive skin, you should be just fine. For ladies with delicate skin like mine, however, look for a pair of bibs with fewer seams.

seams

30 Day Trial Period Helps Reduce Buyer’s Remorse

These bibs aren’t cheap. At $235 it might be scary to take the leap on hitting that buy button.

MFF has helped address this hang-up by offering a 30 day trial period where you can return the bibs if you don’t love them. That means if the compression is too much for you, or you end up having sensitive skin like me, then you can simply ship them back.

But chances are, you’ll keep the shorts.


Machines For Freedom Long Sleeve Summerweight Jersey

machines for freedom cycling jersey

Pros:

  • Plenty of pocket space, including a zippered pocket
  • Adorable prints
  • Full-length zipper
  • Protection from the sun (and road rash)
  • High-end fit and fabric

Cons:

  • None that I could find

Price: $168

Provides Sun Protection On Brutal Summer Days

If you’re riding for more than an hour or so, you know how hard it can be to keep your shoulders, chest, and arms from getting fried on the bike. The Machines For Freedom summerweight jersey covers all these areas with UPF 50 protection.

But unlike most longsleeve jerseys, this one won’t make you sweat. Panels on the sides, underarms, and sidearms have small ventilation holes, and the fabric on the rest of the jersey is lightweight and feels cool to the touch.

I was easily able to wear this jersey on 80 degree rides without being uncomfortable.

ventilation

Plenty Of Pocket Space For All Your Stuff

On the road bike, I want plenty of pocket space. Fortunately, the Machines For Freedom summerweight jersey has three large rear pockets with room for my phone, an energy bar, a CO2 cartridge, and more.

There is also a water-resistant zippered pocket where I can stash my driver’s license and some cash.

machines for freedom cycling kit

Prints So Cute You’ll Want Them All

The jersey comes in several beautiful prints. They are so head-turning in fact, that I’ve received multiple comments from complete strangers. Go ahead: just try and pick one.

Full-Length Zipper For Easy On And Off

The zipper is full length which makes it easy to get on and off–which is doubly important if you’re pairing it with the MFF bibs. The zipper is easy to zip and hasn’t snagged or given me any issues.

zipper

Gripper At Bottom Rear Of Jersey Keeps It In Place

The bottom rear of the jersey has a grip strip to keep the jersey from riding up. While this might not be as important with a pair of bibs underneath, it’s still nice to have things stay in place. And if I was wearing it with non-bib shorts, I’d be even more appreciative as the gripper helps you avoid the dreaded plumber’s crack.

grip strip

Top-Notch Fit and Construction

Machines For Freedom hasn’t cut any corners with this jersey. It looks and feels amazing. The construction is top-notch, and the fabric is silky smooth.

I’m confident that this is a peice that will last for years. Again, the price tag isn’t cheap, but this isn’t a “cheap” looking or feeling jersey.


Learn More About Choosing Bike Shorts!

1 thought on “Machines For Freedom Bib Shorts & Cycling Jersey Review”

  1. Thank you for the great review! Very helpful and I appreciated the interjection of humor. I am back to cycling after a fairly lengthy hiatus and look forward to many great rides but definitely need new gear/clothing.
    Femme Cyclist rocks!

    Reply

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