Cycling Shorts

If you are just getting into cycling you might think that you don’t need cycling shorts. Maybe you think they look silly or they are just a waste of money. But the fact is that cycling shorts can greatly increase your comfort and decrease your chances of nasty, painful problems such as saddle sores. The more comfortable and healthy you are, the more you’ll be able to ride your bike as much as you want, enjoy the weather and get a great work out.

The basic concept of cycling shorts is that they are made to be seamless, or with very fine seams, that prevent friction from your body rubbing against the saddle as you are biking. This also means you should never wear underwear under your cycling shorts, as this just adds a layer of friction inducing clothes right back in. Additionally, cycling shorts help prevent moisture from building up and also feature an extra layer of padding under your crotch for more comfort and protection.

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So how do you pick the pair of cycling shorts for you?

Leg and waste length – The waste of the cycling shorts should be higher in the back than in the front. This is due to the bent over nature of cycling, and a lower front allows for more movement while the higher back keeps your shorts on in the same position. Leg length is largely for comfort and style, but they should never be so short as to enable any bare body friction against the saddle.

Stretch and Size – Cycling shorts are stretchy because that provides for a full range of unrestricted motion while you’re on the bike. This is important and also provides comfort. Additionally, the waist band should have some stretch so you can pull them on easy enough but they remain snug and secure.

You should try on cycling shorts just as you would try on anything else. When you do try them on, pretend you’re on your bike and bend forward. This will show the true fit of the bike shorts, as opposed to standing upright. Also, the leg grippers should prevent the shorts from riding up on you, but shouldn’t be restrictively tight.

Liners – The liner on a pair of cycling shorts, or the chamois, is one of the most important elements. It provides protection and comfort to that most sensitive of regions. The liner should be entirely seamless or have extremely fine seams.

You should probably opt for ones without gel inserts, and use ones with one piece of extra synthetic material as the liner. Too much padding can be counterproductive, but again, ultimately it comes down to some trial and error and figuring out what works best for you.

Price and detail – A high price doesn’t guarantee higher quality, but it does ensure higher quality materials and construction. You also want to look for cycling shorts with a higher number of panels, typically 8 panel shorts, which allow greater comfort, fit and range of motion. Cheaper shorts will typically have fewer panels and exposed seams that can lead to irritation.

Finding the right pair of cycling shorts is all about your comfort. Not all shorts are made for all people, that’s why there’s so many different styles and fits. Try a few to see what works for you. Remember above all else that you want snug, tightness, without restriction and you want an appropriate level of padding with minimal seams.