On a beautiful sunny morning, you decide to go cycling with your new mount. Dressed in your best athletic shorts or most comfortable leggings, your coolest t-shirt and your best workout top. A little snack in the pack-bag and you're good to go. After 10 km, discomfort appears, lower body pain… as some J. Ayoye would say, my butt!… And you are not yet halfway there! Well yes unfortunately ... too many people do not consider the importance of this piece of clothing until they have experienced the difference.
How can a good shorts improve ?
Comfort first and foremost. No one should suffer on a bicycle! The cycling shorts protect your most sensitive areas from the pain that can be caused by sitting on your bike for a long time. The padding of a short can be thin or thick. The thicker pads also absorb shock. Additional protection for roads in Quebec or mountain trails… which are sometimes the same! Reduction of friction in the crotch thanks to the pads and the removal of the seams. The design reduces the rubbing action of the inside of your thighs against the saddle by the smooth surface of the shorts and a generously padded chamois. The thighs with pads having a line or compression in the center are designed for the male anatomy, while the chamois for women have an insert positioned differently.
The density of a chamois leather needed depends mainly on the time you spend on your bike on your outings. The more regularly you ride and cover long distances on your bike, the more you will need to go upmarket and move towards a short with a thicker and therefore more comfortable insert.
Technical materials that breathe, both robust and comfortable.
Most cycling shorts are made from a stretchy fabric called lycra. The advantage of lycra is its great freedom of movement and the muscle support it offers. Nylon / Lycra blends are tough and abrasion resistant. Polyester / Lycra blends, on the other hand, are perfect for riding in all seasons. Compression helps improve blood flow to the muscles, which helps reduce fatigue by maintaining optimal blood flow to the legs.
Regular clothing has stitched seams while on shorts, the seams are flat and positioned in specific places to avoid chafing. Some models even offer taped seams. Don't forget about heat and humidity. Main enemies of comfort. Companies are motivated to find fabrics that are ever more breathable, antibacterial and dry quickly.
The liner or boxer (shorts suitable for mountain biking). For mountain biking, we wear a liner so as not to have pain in the face of changing and uneven terrain. Made with a thin fabric to be well ventilated and specially designed to fit underneath cycling or sports shorts. The liner can be sold alone or already offered in the shorts.
Road and x-country
A road cycling shorts will have a thicker padding compared to the liner because they are usually set up for longer rides. Quality shorts have non-slip material on the thighs so that there is no movement of the fabrics when you pedal. The more we invest in quality, the better the resistance of the chamois, the comfort on long hikes, the temperature control ... and so on!
The shorts with suspenders are called bib.
The advantage is that the shorts hold better and do not offer any elastic tightening at the waist. The main disadvantage is that it is less practical for small natural needs, man or woman ... but we find techniques.
And what about underwear ... well it's a no !
Cotton has the characteristic of retaining moisture. With two layers of fabric, this increases friction and causes discomfort and irritation ... enough to deprive you of your favorite sport. The liner, as well as the shorts and the bib must be worn without underwear. Save this for your after-bike look!
There is no one-size-fits-all truth about shorts. A model may be the perfect fit for you, while your cycling friend may find it less comfortable. We all have different body types, which is why brands offer different products. There are many cycling shorts on the market. Similar in appearance, there are big differences from one model of shorts to another.
Remember that the pleasure of cycling comes first and foremost. By taking the right advice, the right type of shorts for you… will quickly become an asset.
Billie's P.S. For longer expeditions, the chamoix Butt'r could really save your...
...skin ! Just saying :)