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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 07-20-09, 10:22 PM   #1
isara
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What am I looking for in a pair of shorts?

My apologies if this exact same question has been asked before, but my search of the forums only brought up more jargon and a range of options.

I've been riding the past few months wearing a pair of short yoga pants (I know, I know, but it was all I had). Needless to say, there aren't a lot of local stores (or any) that carry larger sizes. PLUS, I have no idea what I'm even looking for. Padding? Butt Butter? Lycra vs. Spandex? Huh?

So can someone please explain what I should be looking for in terms of quality, fit, and features? I don't want to overspend, simply because I don't know what I'm looking at.

And if someone has a suggestion of a brand or style they like, I'm somewhere around a size 24.

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-09, 11:28 PM   #2
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Grab some from either Performance Bike or Luv2Pedal.com (both carry Athena sizes). Get something with a pad and also purchase some butt butter (or udder balm, same stuff). The balm is for areas of your body that will touch the seat (help prevent friction / heat rash & will help heal any sores). Everything else is personal preference. Start with the cheap ones and upgrade if they have problems.
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Old 07-20-09, 11:30 PM   #3
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Thanks, Greg!

Any tips on cleaning? Hand wash, air out, etc?
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Old 07-21-09, 05:30 AM   #4
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Thanks, Greg!

Any tips on cleaning? Hand wash, air out, etc?
Hand or machine wash in cold water, line dry. Use a detergent without additives or a Woolite - type product.
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Old 07-21-09, 07:25 AM   #5
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and make sure the chamois (padding) is dry before you wear them. Otherwise, you will get diaper rash.

When you start getting in some distance, you might want to consider a barrier cream like Udder Butter, Bag Balm, or Chamois Butter as a lubricant/moisture barrier between thee and thy shorts.
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Old 07-21-09, 09:10 AM   #6
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You asked about quality, fit and features:

Quality: Inexpensive doesn't always mean "cheap", and expensive doesn't equal comfortable. There are plenty of value priced shorts which are well constructed. Don't expect that just because a pair of Performance or Aerotech shorts is 1/4 the cost of a pair of Castelli or Assos top-of-the-line that the expensive ones will automatically be more comfortable. The cut of the material and the shape/density of the padding is what it all depends on. I have a $70 pair of Performance bibs which (up to a certain mileage) are just as comfy as my $175 Pearl Izumis.

Fit: If you're getting shorts, you want the waist to be snug but not binding. The material should offer some compression and support throughout, but you don't want it to feel like it's crushing you. They're bike shorts, not a powerlifter's squat suit. If, like many of us, you find lycra shorts uncomfortable due to roll-down at the waistband, you should look into bib shorts. The bib top will keep the material securely in place and gives some extra support through the waist.

Features: Flat lock seams. Silicone leg grippers; while elastic works, it wears out and the exposed elastic bits can fall apart over time. Newer designs use a bonded clear silicone which is more comfortable (IMO) and holds more secure when you sweat. Chamois padding with anti-microbial fibers; lots of companies are using this now. With bibs - mesh upper section; egads, I owned a pair that wasn't and it's ridiculously hot. Get the mesh.

The two pairs I wear the most are my Performance Elite and PI Ultrasensors.
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Old 07-21-09, 09:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_R View Post
Grab some from either Performance Bike or Luv2Pedal.com (both carry Athena sizes). Get something with a pad and also purchase some butt butter (or udder balm, same stuff). The balm is for areas of your body that will touch the seat (help prevent friction / heat rash & will help heal any sores).
With the right saddle and a decent pair of shorts, you may find that the expensive creams are unnecessary...
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Old 07-21-09, 10:35 AM   #8
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Wow - thanks everyone! That's exactly the information I was looking for. The yoga pants just aren't cutting it anymore for these longer rides. Bit burn = ow!
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Old 07-21-09, 12:08 PM   #9
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Wow - thanks everyone! That's exactly the information I was looking for. The yoga pants just aren't cutting it anymore for these longer rides. Bit burn = ow!
My advice is to buy a decent pair of shorts and give them a try. If you're still not comfortable, don't be afraid to try a different saddle. In my experience, the saddles sold with most bikes are pretty uncomfortable...
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Old 07-21-09, 12:17 PM   #10
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+1 on aerotechdesigns.com - I bought a pair of their shorts last year, and they're holding up fine. I just toss them in the washer with the other dark clothes, then on to the dryer (on high heat, even); no special treatment and they still fit and feel fine. I do need to order a couple more pairs, though - I may even try the bib shorts.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:37 PM   #11
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With the right saddle and a decent pair of shorts, you may find that the expensive creams are unnecessary...
Quite true. However, the cream ran $4 for a big tube the last time I got some. I think when you start out doing longer distances the cream helps until your skin gets toughened up. After that it is personal preference (often dictated by mileage and how hot it is).
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Old 07-21-09, 07:16 PM   #12
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Shebeest makes women's bike shorts & jerseys in plus sizes. I am quite happy with their 8-panel shorts with a silicone gripper at the bottom of the legs and an antimicrobial chamois. I got some of their shorts in an older style with a yoga pant-style soft waistband but the chamois, compression, and stay-in-place isn't as good. Buy snug -- not loose, not constricting.

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Old 07-21-09, 08:52 PM   #13
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I bought two pairs of shorts, one made by serfas and another I can't think of off the top of my head. I definitely prefer the shorts made by serfas, very comfy.
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Old 07-21-09, 11:51 PM   #14
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I'm a budget shopper and love Peformance for certain things but shrots? EEGADS! I used to like their stuff but now ,they are pretty cheesey. I'd avoid them and go for the LUv2 ride or areotech stuff.

Perfomance sizes seem to run much smaller than they did years ago. Gel inserts on gel shorts have cut way back in material and no more than a lil strip now. They suck, look elsewhere!

My wife uses shorts made by Terry. She loves them. ell constucted and nice thick supportive material Paid about $80 a pair but well worth it. Far more comfy for her than PI, Nike, Performance, Hind and a few others. She hasn't tried LUv2ride or aerotech yet.
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Old 07-22-09, 12:29 AM   #15
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The most important thing of all that no one has mentioned yet is that the shorts should have 3 holes. No more, no less

One big one at the waist and one at the end of each leg. If any of those are missing or if there are any extras, then look elsewhere.
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Old 07-22-09, 08:49 AM   #16
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The most important thing of all that no one has mentioned yet is that the shorts should have 3 holes. No more, no less
Unless they're bib shorts. Then they should have 5.
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Old 07-22-09, 10:40 AM   #17
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Unless they're bib shorts. Then they should have 5.
What? No butt flaps for long rides?
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Old 07-22-09, 10:49 AM   #18
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What? No butt flaps for long rides?
For some reason, I'm thinking that the Assos Union-Suit wouldn't be one of their top sellers.
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Old 07-22-09, 10:52 AM   #19
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For some reason, I'm thinking that the Assos Union-Suit wouldn't be one of their top sellers.
I could see them coming in handy for long races... and they'd serve as a secret weapon. (and I bet there's nothing in the rule books about that - yet)
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Old 07-22-09, 11:01 AM   #20
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Hmmm, I wonder what the reaction would be at an event with long lines at the porta potties if there was a guy trying desperately to hold his cheeks together with one hand while trying to shuck his jersey with the other and get the straps of his bib shorts off his shoulders while attempting to get to the front of the line......

Low comedy or high drama?
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Old 07-22-09, 11:09 AM   #21
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Just in case anyone out there lurking hasn't discovered this yet: when you wear the proper shorts/bibs you go commanado--no undies! It defeats one of the main purposes--to wick away sweat from your private regions.
Shorts/bibs are definitely a "personal preference" item. My wife swears by Peal Izumi Sensors. I bought a pair of the PI and HATED them. One 15 mile ride and they went back to the store. (Can used shorts be re-sold???)
You may have to go through trial and error to find the one you like but when you do find the One, take my advice and buy more than one pair. I found my beloved Nike bibs on a closeout rack at the LBS and thought I would give them a try. I LOVE THESE THINGS. Problem is they are discontinued and I can't find another pair of them anywhere...Eventually I may have a pair with extra holes...Maybe even the dreaded Union-Suit!
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Old 07-22-09, 12:49 PM   #22
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Women around here that ride a lot tend to prefer Terry and Pearl Izumi shorts. The Terry shorts are only made for women, and my wife says that they fit the best.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:14 PM   #23
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Shorts/bibs are definitely a "personal preference" item. My wife swears by Peal Izumi Sensors. I bought a pair of the PI and HATED them. One 15 mile ride and they went back to the store.
Which 'Sensor' model was it you didn't like? I didn't like the fit of the old Microsensor, which used a bulkier chamois and fabric compared to the Ultrasensor or P.R.O.
I've yet to try the P.R.O. Octane model.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:18 PM   #24
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Women around here that ride a lot tend to prefer Terry and Pearl Izumi shorts. The Terry shorts are only made for women, and my wife says that they fit the best.

Agreed! My wife rides 3000 a year. Not sure if that's considered alot in this place but she loves the Terry. Nice thick constuction. She's got some junk in the trunk and doesn't have to worry about others viewing too much. Plus she needs a high waisted fit, No low cut stuf up front.

I've seen too many women wearing thin see thru stuff stretched a little too much. Not so with Terry. As much as I love the wimmins, I hate to see thru the shorts. Grosses me out!
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Old 07-22-09, 01:25 PM   #25
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My wife swears by the Shebeest. Both shorts and jerseys.
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