No matter what discipline of cycling you prefer, quality shorts are a sound investment, with lycra with padding being the best choice for pedaling long hours and tough, lightweight baggy shorts that can handle trail riding. The number one piece of cycling gear in every rider’s wardrobe is a pair of cycling shorts – a good pair of padded cycling tights will ensure you’re able to put in the time on the bike, a bad pair will make you uncomfortable, taking the enjoyment out of the ride.
Shorts for cycling come in two forms: bib shorts and waist shorts.In general, the ideal cycling shorts are the bib option, especially when riding one of the best road bikes as these often provide greater comfort by eliminating waistband compression and preventing gaps between your jersey and shorts while riding. For waist shorts, you’ll want to choose a pair with a wide and high band to prevent discomfort on your tummy. The shorts are also perfect for popping under casual clothing for a more comfortable ride on a comfort bike.
Non-cyclists often wonder how we can tolerate sitting on those tiny saddles for hours at a time without coming home looking like we’ve just given birth to several kids. The secret lies mostly in the bib-shorts. It’s a necessity to wear padded cycling shorts while biking, so much so that even purpose-built baggy shorts usually come with a pair of matching cycling shorts to wear under them if they don’t come with pads themselves.
Cycling shorts: why do I need them?
In light of technology’s ability to develop new materials, cycling shorts have benefited the most. Now you can wear cycling shorts that keep you dry, warm, and comfortable. A more premium chamois is now available, as is lightweight and durable material, as well as fabric that allows moisture to flow away from the skin. Cycling shorts, like other cycle clothing, are designed to keep you dry by channeling moisture away from your skin (wicking) and warm, like Lycra garments, by trapping an insulating layer of air near your skin.In contrast to ‘normal’ shorts, bike shorts are designed to take into account the needs of cycling and riding – high, elasticized waistbands; vents to allow cool air to enter; avoidance of flapping fabrics which can chafe or irritate the skin; and strategically placed seams.
BETTER CYCLING SHORTS & BIBS
The type of shorts will depend on the discipline and the intended use. The products range from padded bib shorts used primarily by road and cyclocross cyclists for improved comfort and aerodynamics to MTB ‘baggies’ which allow a more relaxed fit. We’ve included shorts on this page that have been tested by men, but much up the buying guide is relevant to men and women.The same shorts are often available in women’s versions,
but we cannot vouch for their comfort. There is a dedicated page which details exactly what to look for and hand picks the best women’s cycling shorts. Would you be interested in more affordable riding apparel? We have rounded up the best cheap cycling clothing to help you on your bike for less.As cycling tights, these are made to meet the same need, but much more comfortably. Two straps go over your shoulders and support the shorts from above, so you won’t need a tight waistband.
The form of bib shorts may look like glorified underwear, but they actually have a lot more function than that. It’s important that cycling gear is built to withstand a specific type of repetitive movement in the legs for as long as possible. When a rider is pedaling, any clothing that fits in the standing position will stretch, putting strain on that part of the body. The result is that bib shorts require a bit more tailoring. They must reduce or eliminate friction and chafing, shed heat and sweat, and remain comfortable sitting for long periods on a bike. In order to achieve this, bib shorts have several key elements that affect fit, feel, and function.
Types of shorts available:
- A waist short is a Lycra short secured by an elasticated waistband (rather than a bib, as below).
- The bib shorts extend up over the abdomen and have straps that cross over the shoulders instead of a waistband. They are less likely to chafe or cut into the stomach.
- For colder conditions, tights (34″ or full-length, bib or non-bib) provide more coverage of the legs.
- A winter tight is made from thicker material that keeps you warm in sub-zero temperatures. These shorts are heavier, less breathable and more restrictive than ‘normal’ shorts, which makes them ideal for cold weather.
- MTB baggies are typically made of more sustainable outdoor materials like GORE-TEX and have pockets and waist cinch adjusters. Fit is looser than bib shorts.
- There is a wide selection of women’s bib shorts, cut to reflect the differences in female anatomy and with chamois contoured for women’s bodies.
Check these features when buying bib shorts:
The most important things to look for in bib shorts are:
- Textiles that are lightweight
- Chamois pad is comfortable
- Waistband adjusted
- Straps to support the bib
- Grippers for legs
Here are our picks for the best cycling clothing. We have a full buyer’s guide at the end of this article for more advice on what to look for.
Cycling shorts in summer are made from stretchy, lightweight fabrics that are breathable and provide a comfortable, anatomical fit. Featuring flatlock seams strategically placed to provide maximum comfort and support. They are neatly stitched together for maximum comfort and support. Skintight and supportive shorts should not be uncomfortable.
The chamois stitched inside the cycling shorts will provide relief and comfort around the sit bones. Choosing a pad that is comfortable for you is crucial for long-term comfort. A snug fit is essential to prevent chafing, While a breathable pad keeps things cool downstairs. Some pads use gel inserts under the chamois to improve comfort. While others vary the density and thickness of padding across the chamois to provide support where it is needed most.
Comfortable bib straps
Your bib shorts will stay in place with the help of bib straps, without the need for an uncomfortable waistband.It is important that the stretchy straps are tight enough to hold. Your shorts securely in place. But not so tight that it is difficult to put them on. Try shorts on for size before making a purchase if possible.
Easy Adjusted Waistband
Comfortable elasticated waistbands and easy-to-use closures (snap buttons or velcro instead of traditional buttons, for example) are both essential. A Lycra stretch panel is ideal for an ideal fit on your bike. While cooling vents may appeal if you are a hard-working rider.
Some adrenaline junkies love speeding down a hill and picking up speed as they go.Although it’s not for everyone, feeling that adrenaline rush is pretty awesome!
Socializing after the ride
We all love the post-ride socializing at the pub with a good feed, a pint, and a recap of what you just did. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of finishing a bike ride.
Leg grippers keep the shorts’ ends in place while pedaling, ideally providing a comfortable fit without causing discomfort. There are many ways to accomplish this, from a silicone strip or elasticated band on more affordable shorts to a laser-cut hem backed with a sticky fabric on high-end shorts.