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  1. #1
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    New to Bicycle Shorts..... Umm.. Yeah..

    Last week while my bike was in the shop getting a tune-up I decided to stock up on riding gear. Among the items is a brand new pair of riding shorts, specifically Pearl Izumi triathlon shorts, as they were all they had in XXL. I have never owned a pair of shorts like these before and I have a few questions.



    First of all; Am I supposed to wear underwear with these things??!!?? There isn't much room for anything else but me in the shorts, but the thought of "going commando" in them is more than a little nerve-wracking. Maybe I should wear them underneath another layer of clothing like cargo shorts?


    A silly question, I'm sure.............

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    No underwear - go commando.

    No need to wear something over them. No one will be looking at your unit.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    You will get use to them.
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    Senior Member Jumpinj98's Avatar
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    Commando is the way to go. Underwear will just increase chaffing. If your a little uncomfortable in them, you could always get the moutain biking shorts. They have the spandex and padding on the inside, but loose cargo short type exterior. Kinda like swim trunks...
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  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhand View Post
    Last week while my bike was in the shop getting a tune-up I decided to stock up on riding gear. Among the items is a brand new pair of riding shorts, specifically Pearl Izumi triathlon shorts, as they were all they had in XXL. I have never owned a pair of shorts like these before and I have a few questions.



    First of all; Am I supposed to wear underwear with these things??!!?? There isn't much room for anything else but me in the shorts, but the thought of "going commando" in them is more than a little nerve-wracking. Maybe I should wear them underneath another layer of clothing like cargo shorts?


    A silly question, I'm sure.............
    Not really silly.

    Don't wear underclothing with bike shorts. Ever. The shorts are supposed to form a second skin, with padding where it's needed.

    If you want to wear cargo or gym shorts over them, go for it. But I see no reason you'd need to. Don't be shy. I'm not.


  6. #6
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Just like to reinforce what everyone has already said. It was hard the first time but then you realize how comfortable they make you when you ride and then you get over it. For longer ride some usually apply some lube to the chamois part.

  7. #7
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    It took me a while to get used to it. It IS weird. As a bigger man I usually either go baggy to try to hide or dress well, to disguise it. Im still weirded out about walking around in Spandex. I USED to think spandex was a privilege not a right, but its only shorts.. and really, people only see me for 5 seconds as they whizz by me.. or I whizz by them. Go for it!!

  8. #8
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    The other Big Secret to bike shorts (for men) is to pull your, um, equipment, up out of the way and allow the relatively form-fitting fabric to hold it there, more or less, while you ride.
    Craig in Indy

  9. #9
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    First off, if you're not racing triathlons then don't get tri shorts.

    Tri shorts have a shorter inseam and less padding than a regular pair of bike shorts. They're designed to be worn for all 3 events. They're the hotpants of cycling shorts.
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  10. #10
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    If you do decide to wear baggy shorts over them, look for shorts with a gusseted crotch that don't have a seam running right down the middle.

    Wearing 'normal' pants/shorts with a midseam creates a pressure point right where you don't want one, which is one of the things cycling shorts are designed to eliminate.
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  11. #11
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    They're the hotpants of cycling shorts.
    Maybe we should move this discussion to the Athena/Clyde Fashion thread.
    Craig in Indy

  12. #12
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Maybe we should move this discussion to the Athena/Clyde Fashion thread.
    Heck, once the Sayre-seal photo surfaced through the ice, anything became game.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    The other Big Secret to bike shorts (for men) is to pull your, um, equipment, up out of the way and allow the relatively form-fitting fabric to hold it there, more or less, while you ride.

    Gotcha'...




    My 14 year old son has been riding my bike when I"m in class on Monday evenings, and I asked him how he liked it. His response was brief, but unforgettable...




    " It hurts my b*lls, Pop.."


    So I guess it's off to the bike shop for shorts for him, too.


    ClintonGK1: I got the triathlon shorts because theu were all I could find that fit. I understand they're not the greatest but until I get around to finding some other shorts, they'll have to do. Do you recommend any particular brands and styles?

  14. #14
    Senior Member RunningPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    ... pull your, um, equipment, up out of the way...
    I believe that the proper medical term is "Pendulous Items"

    I'm going to second the bit about the Tri-shorts...not the hotpants comment so much as they do have a short inseam (...which I guess would make them hot pant, wouldn't they? )

    Also, I think you might find bibs to be more agreeable (no waistband cutting in to you). I just bought my first pair of bibs a couple of weeks ago - $35 from love2pedal.com. So far, I think they're great! Even if you try and don't like them, you're only out $35.

    Now, starting out, the fit was a bit *ahem* self conscious. After about 5 minutes, I forgot what I was wearing and was tooling down the road, happy as a clam.
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  15. #15
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more with the suggestion that you try bibs. I rode for 30 years with standard lycra bike shorts, and being of a reasonably large circumference, I constantly fought waist-band rollover while riding. I didn't find them constricting or painful, just inconvenient (though I did get good at pulling them back up one-handed). With bibs, that's a thing of the past. I never should have waited so long.
    Last edited by CraigB; 02-15-11 at 09:19 AM.
    Craig in Indy

  16. #16
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpinj98 View Post
    Commando is the way to go. Underwear will just increase chaffing.
    I've actually found the opposite to be true. But boxers or briefs don't work; I got cycling underwear at Target. They are kind of like briefs but extend down into the thigh area, kind of like bike shorts. anyway, I am more comfy wearing them with bike shorts than with the shorts alone.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    I've actually found the opposite to be true. But boxers or briefs don't work; I got cycling underwear at Target. They are kind of like briefs but extend down into the thigh area, kind of like bike shorts. anyway, I am more comfy wearing them with bike shorts than with the shorts alone.

    I believe they're called boxer briefs. I've been wearing them for years.


    A quick sat adjustment question. Is the front of the saddle supposed to tilt upwards towards your..... region, or is it supposed t tilt forward, so most of your weight is on the rear of the saddle?

  18. #18
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Saddle should be level to start.
    Make adjustment after you ride it some, if needed.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member RunningPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhand View Post
    I believe they're called boxer briefs. I've been wearing them for years.


    A quick sat adjustment question. Is the front of the saddle supposed to tilt upwards towards your..... region, or is it supposed t tilt forward, so most of your weight is on the rear of the saddle?
    I think it's a matter of preference. My saddle is slightly nose-up, reason being is that when it was slightly nose-down, I'd keep sliding forward when wearing bibs - I don't notice that much if I'm wearing street clothes. As an additional data point, I have a leather saddle, so that might be more slickery than non-leather.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Tri shorts have a shorter inseam and less padding than a regular pair of bike shorts. They're designed to be worn for all 3 events. They're the hotpants of cycling shorts.
    +1 Get some regular bike shorts or, even better, bib shorts. I rode in regular lycra shorts for years, but now that I've discovered bibs I won't go back. I'm a big fan of the bib shorts sold by Love2Pedal.com. They're so good, that I took the time to write a lengthy review.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhand View Post
    ...ClintonGK1: I got the triathlon shorts because theu were all I could find that fit. I understand they're not the greatest but until I get around to finding some other shorts, they'll have to do. Do you recommend any particular brands and styles?
    [soapbox]There are three things you should not skimp on in cycling: shoes, saddles, and shorts. These are the contact points between you & the bike. If any of them are poorly fitting, you won't enjoy the sport.[/soapbox]

    I certainly understand your reasoning. But, I would just be concerned that these shorts may hinder your enjoyment of the sport and the usefulness of cycling shorts, turning you off to the sport. I've never used Tri-shorts, but I would imagine that they have more padding up front and it would be a somewhat higher water-repellent type designed for longer duration, leading it to be not the most comfortable for shorter road-rides.

    Most cycling clothing manufacturers have very good shorts. As a very general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. However, there are exceptions. I understand Performance--the bargain clothing manufacturer--has a nice pair somewhere. I ride Pactimo (because that's what my team buys), but Pearl Izumis have never let me down. Assos is the Cadillac of shorts, but probably over-priced. Louis Garneau makes some good ones, but not quite as good as the other two.

    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Saddle should be level to start.
    Make adjustment after you ride it some, if needed.
    Yeah, just to reinforce this: saddle being level is the starting point. Each person is different. After riding awhile, you adjust it to fit you. If you feel like you're sliding forward, you tilt the nose up. If you feel like you're falling off the back of the saddle, you tilt the nose down.

    Many saddles have a slight curve in them, so you want to find "level". To determine if it's level, place an actual level along the length of the saddle.

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  22. #22
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhand View Post
    ClintonGK1: I got the triathlon shorts because theu were all I could find that fit. I understand they're not the greatest but until I get around to finding some other shorts, they'll have to do. Do you recommend any particular brands and styles?
    I have some PI Ultrasensor bibs in 2XL which are very comfy. I also like my 2XL Performance Elite bibs and a pair of 2XL Craft winter knicker bibs. My favourites are my Assos FI.Mille bibs in XL, but you're looking at dropping a good chunk of change for those. However, they're super comfy for all day riding and if the XL isn't enough then they make the XL-TIR which is a bit roomier cut at the waist and bumside.
    Aerotech gets good reviews on here, although I don't have any of their stuff. My team's kit is from Hincapie, and the 2XL bibs fit me fine.
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  23. #23
    Godbotherer dwellman's Avatar
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    +1 (or is it +8 now? heck make it an even +11) on the MTB shorts. Lot less conspicuous if one decides to breeze by the library or hang out at the cafe or pop into Autozone (or whichever) for some grease.

    I wear under my tights (unpadded), sometimes under my shorts, depending on the temp. I also sweat a lot so the extra layer helps, as long as it's not a "natural" fiber. I tend to eschew natural fibers (silk, wool, cotton) including blends, except for socks. Love me my Icebreaker wool socks.
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  24. #24
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    And suddenly, I miss lycra...

    I wore padded and unpadded shorts depending on ride length and if I was going to be off the bike for a significant time. Of course I was also living in Hawaii, and wore Nike Aquasocks everywhere, so don't ask me for fashion advice!!! I never owned but one real cycling jersey.

    OK, truth be told, my training on the indoor trainer has me wondering when its time for new shorts...

  25. #25
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    Great info. I had the same questions but....ew.....

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