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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-09-16, 08:39 AM   #1
BrazAd
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Bike shorts questions...

I got back into biking 5 years ago... bought a pristine '83 Trek 400, added a Brooks B17 and had a blast in the summer of 2011... got sidetracked with a new career and only rode casually since then.

Did all my riding so far in cargo shorts, t-shirt and running shoes...

Did a 17.5 mile ride yesterday and - dadgummit, I'm ready to get decent biking shorts.

A) I'm 6'-2", 255... what size sounds right? XXL?

B) What to look for?

C) What to avoid?

D) Should I go ahead and get the bike tight fit shirt, too? (I'm excited for my out of shape body to show up there - ha!)

Thanks,

Gary
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Old 05-09-16, 08:48 AM   #2
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If you have a LBS handy stop in and try on shorts for size. I'm 5'10"/200lbs and I wear a large in shorts/bibs and XL in a jersey. I was also hesitant to wear 'offical' riding clothes - I originally would wear bike shorts under a pair of regular hiking style shorts with a synthetic top of some sort. When I started wearing a bike jersey I realized the convenience of the back pockets (where I carry two energy bars, my phone, license and a $20 bill). I found that it's much more comfortable to ride in appropriate/sport specific clothing.
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Old 05-09-16, 09:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BrazAd View Post
I got back into biking 5 years ago... bought a pristine '83 Trek 400, added a Brooks B17 and had a blast in the summer of 2011... got sidetracked with a new career and only rode casually since then.

Did all my riding so far in cargo shorts, t-shirt and running shoes...

Did a 17.5 mile ride yesterday and - dadgummit, I'm ready to get decent biking shorts.

A) I'm 6'-2", 255... what size sounds right? XXL?

B) What to look for?

C) What to avoid?

D) Should I go ahead and get the bike tight fit shirt, too? (I'm excited for my out of shape body to show up there - ha!)

Thanks,

Gary
It varies but in general, XXL should work at 255 lbs. Beware, though, sizing is not standard across the industry. I am just a little heavier than you, but shorter 5'8", and I wear an XXL shorts. When I was slimmer (220 to 230 lbs), I wore a sized XL in various brands and models.

These are some brands that I have worn over the years that seems reasonable for the over 200 lbs set.

Trek/Bontrager - Don't recall the model, but I wore a pair in sized XL when I was 225 lbs and they fit alright.
Specialized - Currently wear a pair of Specialized in sized XXL. They are my current go to shorts.
Gore - Sized XXL. Fits a bit snug, but not uncomfortable.
Pace - Sized XXL. My previous go to shorts, still very comfortable.
Nashbar - Sized XL and XXL- Seems to run a bit larger than the above brands, but the quality isn't as good, either.
Craft - Sized XXL. Just bought these. They seem to run a little smaller than the others. I am waiting until I get into better riding shape before working these shorts into the rotation.

As far as jerseys go, yes, go get yourself a cycling jersey. The technical fabric, combined with a longer back, back pockets, and front zipper are better suited for cycling than a cotton T shirt. As for fit, it varies from racing shirts cut for supper skinny 130 lb racers, to club fit jerseys made for regular people. Look for club fit, and avoid race fit or form fit as you won't be able to wear those.
Bontrager Solstice is the loosest fit. The XXL fits almost like a T Shirt, and I can even wear an XL. These are my go to jerseys when I just want to be comfortable and inconspicuous.
Pearl Izumi - Club fit jersey in XXL is about the same fit as Bontrager Solstice in XL.
Nashbar - XL is a little tight on me. XXL fits about right. More snug than Bontrager XXL, but looser than Pearl Izumi in XXL. As with shorts, Nashbar brand isn't quite as good quality as some of the other brands (material is a little cheaper feeling, zipper isn't quite as smooth), but the price is right and they actually look pretty good.
Twin Six - Just bought a Twin Six Jersey, advertised as semi form fit. Bought in in 3XL. Lucky I did. It fits about the same as Pearl Izumi in 2XL. Quality looks very good.

Last edited by MRT2; 05-09-16 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 05-09-16, 09:44 AM   #4
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That's some good data from MRT2 up there. It may not be readily apparent but all the brands he's mentioning are basically north american, so the sizing is sort of north american. If you start mixing in Italian brands, size up!

I'm 6'2" and about 220 right now, and my preferred size is XL for shorts (Castelli & Girodana are snug, Pearl Izumi pro is snug, Pearl Izumi Elite is loose, Assos is just right, Sugoi is loose, Craft is good and a pair of Performance Pro bibs is too tight, but I got those in L because I was feeling cocky.) I was able to wear these same sizes when I was 240 so you may prefer XXL.

Did anybody mention bibs yet? Get bibs, not shorts. Shorts suck for us larger folk. The waist band gets all muddled up with the gut and it's just awkward. Bibs magically solve that problem. Skip right past shorts and get bibs.

As for jerseys, it's a real mixed bag. Your tolerance for snug fitting jerseys will probably change as you ride more but you just can't trust sizing. I'm wearing XXL most of the time, although I do have a couple XL jerseys. I don't really like club fit because they're too baggy for me, but I don't really fit in race fit either, so I won't buy jerseys that I can't return.
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Old 05-09-16, 09:51 AM   #5
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I use Aero Tech Design; their sizing charts are accurate, superb quality, and the fit is great whether bib or shorts, and jersey.
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Old 05-09-16, 09:54 AM   #6
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That's some good data from MRT2 up there. It may not be readily apparent but all the brands he's mentioning are basically north american, so the sizing is sort of north american. If you start mixing in Italian brands, size up!

I'm 6'2" and about 220 right now, and my preferred size is XL for shorts (Castelli & Girodana are snug, Pearl Izumi pro is snug, Pearl Izumi Elite is loose, Assos is just right, Sugoi is loose, Craft is good and a pair of Performance Pro bibs is too tight, but I got those in L because I was feeling cocky.) I was able to wear these same sizes when I was 240 so you may prefer XXL.

Did anybody mention bibs yet? Get bibs, not shorts. Shorts suck for us larger folk. The waist band gets all muddled up with the gut and it's just awkward. Bibs magically solve that problem. Skip right past shorts and get bibs.

As for jerseys, it's a real mixed bag. Your tolerance for snug fitting jerseys will probably change as you ride more but you just can't trust sizing. I'm wearing XXL most of the time, although I do have a couple XL jerseys. I don't really like club fit because they're too baggy for me, but I don't really fit in race fit either, so I won't buy jerseys that I can't return.
It really depends on the person. I am fine with snug fitting jerseys, even with my gut, so long as there is enough material to hold my gut in. On the other hand, I have a friend who has switched over from casual clothes for riding to cycling gear, but insists they fit loose. He is 6'5" and maybe 220 lbs and he insists on wearing the Bontrager Solstice Jersey in XXL, even though the XL or even L fits him better.

RE: European brands, maybe best to steer clear of them at 255 lbs. I bought my wife, who is not overweight, a Louis Garneau jersey in sized XL and it was too small. Though she wears a L Jersey in Bontrager and Moxie (a women's brand of cycling apparel), she had trouble fitting into a Louis Garneau women's jersey in size XL. Apparently XL in France is closer to M in the USA.

Last edited by MRT2; 05-09-16 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 05-09-16, 09:55 AM   #7
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I use Aero Tech Design; their sizing charts are accurate, superb quality, and the fit is great whether bib or shorts, and jersey.
I have heard good things about them.
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Old 05-09-16, 10:19 AM   #8
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RE: European brands, maybe best to steer clear of them at 255 lbs. I bought my wife, who is not overweight, a Louis Garneau jersey in sized XL and it was too small. Though she wears a L Jersey in Bontrager and Moxie (a women's brand of cycling apparel), she had trouble fitting into a Louis Garneau women's jersey in size XL. Apparently XL in France is closer to M in the USA.
Garneau is Canadian. I have a Garneu jersey and the sizing seems to run pretty close to what I'd expect from an american company - mine is an XL! and it fits just fine. Is your wife 6'2 220? I kid but your experience sort of reinforces the fact that sizing can change even within a brand so you really have to be able to try them on or return them.
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Old 05-09-16, 10:32 AM   #9
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Garneau is Canadian. I have a Garneu jersey and the sizing seems to run pretty close to what I'd expect from an american company - mine is an XL! and it fits just fine. Is your wife 6'2 220? I kid but your experience sort of reinforces the fact that sizing can change even within a brand so you really have to be able to try them on or return them.
My mistake. Maybe the jersey in question was a race fit, don't know. The fit was just strange as it was not so much the waist that was the problem, as it was the chest and shoulders. I did return it in favor of a Moxie jersey, which, if there are any female cyclists out there, are very flattering and appealing to women cyclists. My wife loves her Moxie Jerseys, and tends to wear them much more than her second favorite brand, which are the Bontragers.
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Old 05-09-16, 10:34 AM   #10
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My wife seems to like shopping at team estrogen for all her bike needs. They do have some very nice gear for women over there. Never heard of moxie though, thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-09-16, 11:11 AM   #11
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A few years ago I met a cousin of Garneau's during a ferry ride from NJ to DE. He's definitely French Canadian. However, he said the company was opening a manufacturing operation across the border in VT.

Try a pair of bibs. Once you go bib you never go back.
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Old 05-09-16, 11:20 AM   #12
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My wife seems to like shopping at team estrogen for all her bike needs. They do have some very nice gear for women over there. Never heard of moxie though, thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-09-16, 11:58 AM   #13
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Wow, I post and leave for 2 hours, come back and there's a wealth of good information! Y'all rock!

Thanks to all who replied, especially MRT2!

Gary
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Old 05-09-16, 01:01 PM   #14
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My favorite is the Boure elite bib with a pro chamois. (They'll make it any way you want it, don't get me started on my custom 'winter' knicker length bibs)

Men's Cycling Shorts - Bouré Bicycle Clothing
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Old 05-09-16, 08:56 PM   #15
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I'm the same height and weight as you and wear XL in Pearl Izumi, Garneau and Performance Ultra bibs. XXL is too baggy for me. Everyone is shaped differently though.
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Old 05-10-16, 09:40 AM   #16
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nashbar sizing chart has a lot of brands

Nashbar - NBSizingCharts

note if you need talls in jerseys: Only some nashbar items come in tall. Aero Tech almost always offers talls, but if the budget is tight hunt the nashbar items for talls.
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Old 05-10-16, 03:31 PM   #17
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I got back into biking 5 years ago... bought a pristine '83 Trek 400, added a Brooks B17 and had a blast in the summer of 2011... got sidetracked with a new career and only rode casually since then.

Did all my riding so far in cargo shorts, t-shirt and running shoes...

Did a 17.5 mile ride yesterday and - dadgummit, I'm ready to get decent biking shorts.

A) I'm 6'-2", 255... what size sounds right? XXL?
Whatever the manufacturers' size charts say based on your hip/weight/waist/etc. measurements.

Your measurements could vary _a lot_ depending on where your mass is located and how much of it comes from lifting heavy objects.

Different manufacturers also vary significantly. I noticed a three size overlap after I shrunk and had to buy new clothes.

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D) Should I go ahead and get the bike tight fit shirt, too? (I'm excited for my out of shape body to show up there - ha!)
I would. You don't get drenched like you do wearing cotton, the longer tail prevents plumber's crack, the pockets are the most convenient place to store food for long rides so you can eat without stopping, and the pockets are a comfortable place to stow other things like wind vests/leg warmers/wallet/phone.

I also have thermal jerseys for cooler weather / riding sans sun.

Note that fit varies. Traditionally there's "race" and "club" fit, although some manufacturers have more. Louis Garneau has 4-5 fits with an 8" circumference range between tightest and loosest.. There's also no standardization on how tight the different fits are when you're looking at clothes made by different companies for people with the same measurements.

Buy from someplace with a good return policy starting with the size charts and you should figure it out what works for you at a given size.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 05-10-16 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 05-10-16, 03:34 PM   #18
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Garneau is Canadian. I have a Garneu jersey and the sizing seems to run pretty close to what I'd expect from an american company - mine is an XL! and it fits just fine. Is your wife 6'2 220? I kid but your experience sort of reinforces the fact that sizing can change even within a brand so you really have to be able to try them on or return them.
Louis Garneau women's sizes are two less than mens - as in womens' XL is like men's medium.

There's also a lot of variation based on cut. Racer fit is about a size smaller than standard, and the more relaxed fits are a size or more larger. Standard is tighter than some brands' race fit for people with the same measurements.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 05-10-16 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 05-10-16, 04:15 PM   #19
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Specialized, RBX PRO costly but they fit right.
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Old 05-10-16, 05:47 PM   #20
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Wow, I post and leave for 2 hours, come back and there's a wealth of good information! Y'all rock!

Thanks to all who replied, especially MRT2!

Gary
A lot of people (including me) really like the Performance Ultra Bib shorts. They are good quality without busting the bank. They recently got redesigned, so they're now about $110 retail, but you can normally find them for up about 30% -50% off if you wait for a sale.

GH
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Old 05-10-16, 08:30 PM   #21
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Wow,

Gary
I really like the Nashbar bibs, and they aren't expensive. I can't help you with fit, but don't rule out bibs as an alternative to cycling shorts - comfy
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Old 05-10-16, 08:57 PM   #22
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+1 on Aerotech and +1 on bibs, too. Way more comfortable then shorts because they eliminate that waist/gut rollover. They are, however, more challenging when nature calls.

Last edited by bransom; 05-10-16 at 08:58 PM. Reason: To fix iPad autocorrect stupidity
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Old 05-10-16, 09:59 PM   #23
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Bib shorts all the way. Thought I would try regular bike shorts again recently . . . THAT lasted about five minutes!
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Old 05-11-16, 06:38 AM   #24
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Louis Garneau women's sizes are two less than mens - as in womens' XL is like men's medium.

There's also a lot of variation based on cut. Racer fit is about a size smaller than standard, and the more relaxed fits are a size or more larger. Standard is tighter than some brands' race fit for people with the same measurements.
That is why I stay away from Louis Garneau, unless I can find a 3XL or 4XL. Just too small for me. For those of us over 250 lbs, we just need to check our egos. Sizes on cycling gear don't seem to match sizes on standard sporting gear, with a few exceptions.

My son can wear some of these race fit jerseys, but even there, he is a high school mountain bike racer, 5'10" and just north of 135 lbs, and he wears a sized M in a semi form fit jersey or a L in a race fit. Only in cycling is a 135 or 140 lb kid considered a large.
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Old 05-11-16, 06:45 AM   #25
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Wow, I post and leave for 2 hours, come back and there's a wealth of good information! Y'all rock!

Thanks to all who replied, especially MRT2!

Gary
Not a problem. I only went to jerseys a 3 or 4 years ago. I started wearing cotton T shirts, then switched over about 10 years ago to technical shirts I bought at Target, or at local sporting good stores. These worked better than cotton, but I still had a sense that maybe the fully kitted cyclists were on to something. After that, it was trial and error. I bought a few jerseys from online stores that I had to return or give away because they were too small.
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