If you’ve ridden any kind of distance on our two-wheeled friends, you’ll know the powerful sting of an unpadded short. For those of you who aren’t quite ready for a good bit of full lycra, padded cycling shorts will keep you in the saddle without any of the chafing. They’re designed to keep you comfortable with breathable fabrics and shock absorbing pads. Less sweat, less friction = more riding.
Choosing the right pair of cycling shorts can be a bit of a minefield though. Especially when trying them on first isn’t really an option, for obvious reasons... You’ll need to consider where you’ll be taking your bike - you probably won’t be donning any full-length bib tights if downhill is your deal. This guide will help you choose the right cycling shorts for the style of riding you love.
Turning up to work in the morning with your dignity on full show isn’t really an appealing offer. Instead, keep it concealed with liner shorts - a great option for wearing underneath your jeans whilst you’re commuting, or even under a skirt for you ladies.
Worn next to the skin (yes there’s no underwear), liner shorts are great for short distance riding, there’s no reason why you can’t ride in comfort even if you’re only on your bike for 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re an adrenaline-seeking MTB rider, liner shorts underneath your baggies will take the pounding out of those hills.
So get ready to go commando and no turning them inside out for another ride’s wear.
...OR Bib Shorts?
If downhilling is your thing, you probably won’t be into these, but bib shorts are a staple of the road rider’s wardrobe. They leave a little to be desired on the aesthetic front, but you’ll be happy enough when you’re time-trialling for full days in the saddle.
Bib shorts mean there’s no pressure on the stomach and no digging in from a waistband. The shoulder straps keep the fabric taut so they’ll stay firmly in place at race pace and give you a super streamlined profile that reduces drag. Aka they’ll turn you into a spandex bullet in no time. Only problem is they make going to the toilet a little inconvenient, especially for women. But if you can compromise on your toilet breaks, you won’t be compromising on comfort.
The all-important ‘chamois’. Aka The Padding
Here’s where the magic happens. The short pad or ‘chamois’ you choose depends whether you’re a weekend rider or an all-day roadie. Basically, how rough you’re going to be hitting it and therefore how much padding and shock absorption you need.
Pads are either made from foam using high performance synthetic fibers, like Coolmax polyester, or gel. Foam inserts should do the trick for shorter rides. But if you’re going the distance, a gel pad will keep you riding. Our Advanced Ergonomic Performance (AED) pads are 30% lighter than traditional gel pads so you won’t compromise your speed.
Features to look out for
If you’re looking to up your comfort when you’re out on all things two-wheeled, chances are you’re big into the details. So geek up on what to look out for and improve your performance on the road or on the mountain.
- Material and fit. Nylon and polyester are the main players. Lightweight nylon and elastane will give you the advantage of full-stretch motion. It usually comes down to preference but a thicker fabric will feel more snug. And that means less chance of anything flapping in the wind.
- Flatlock stitching. This refers to the seams on cycling shorts - flat stitching for flat seams means they won’t dig in and chafe. Makes sense.
- Gel grip. This nifty little detail is usually made from silicone rubber, inbuilt around the leg opening to stop your shorts from riding up as you pedal.
- Panel construction. Using different panels of fabric means your shorts will fit your body shape better. Generally, the more panels used means a more precise fit - 6 or 8 panels are the best. And if you remember your basic biology, it makes sense there are different designs for men and women.