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Old 05-12-05, 12:03 AM   #1
TheRCF
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Shorts problem

As some may recall, I have trouble with bike shorts. Only found one kind that fits snug at the leg opening (Blackbottoms) so it is real hard to compare, so I need to bring up a problem I think I'm having here to get comments from those who can try different brands and materials.

I typically ride 15 miles before a 3 hour break at the beach, then ride 14 miles home. Sometimes I ride much further like today's 36 miles before stopping.

The Blackbottom shorts seem to just have a chamois type material for the pad. To me it seems to hold some moisture against the skin and on either long rides or even a short ride and then sitting around, that moisture results in butt irritation - at least I assume that is the cause.

Also, the material tends to stick to my butt and other private areas. Again, since only one brand fits me at all, I don't know if this sticking is normal or if chamois makes a poor pad (not wicking moisture away).

Yet I know I've seen at least one person either post here or perhaps it was in a review, about being happy to find some kind of shorts that had a chamois pad.

So, what's your experience with various materials and is there some way to solve this problem if I can't find other shorts that fit?
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Old 05-12-05, 07:45 AM   #2
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Shorts, as you've said, aren't just about wicking away moisture, it's also about fit. As such, if you're really happy with the fit and have explored other shorts, then maybe you should wear underwear I know, Cardinal Rule #1!

Do a search for a recent (within the last week) thread about shorts, cuz different underwear was recommended in that thread. I can say that I've been very happy with Under Armor shorts, but I've never worn them except for the occassional jog or stairclimber machine, so I don't know how they'll do under lycra.
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Old 05-12-05, 09:25 AM   #3
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Try wearing a pair of compression shorts underneath. UnderArmour is one of the better known brand names, but Starter sells a much cheaper (in cost, not quaility) version. Wally-World stocks back in the unmentionables area, about $10 a pair.
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Old 05-12-05, 10:31 AM   #4
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Is your primary problem that your legs are too thin? Blackbottoms are the narrowest in the leg you can find? I have that problem a bit myself and have found that some of the Performance shorts aren't too bad, also Bellweather (if they are still made). Oh, and check out Voler.
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Old 05-12-05, 11:50 AM   #5
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try cornstarch or baby powder
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Old 05-12-05, 11:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordOpie
Shorts, as you've said, aren't just about wicking away moisture, it's also about fit. As such, if you're really happy with the fit and have explored other shorts, then maybe you should wear underwear I know, Cardinal Rule #1!
Well, I can't say I'm happy with the fit - when you only have on option for a snug leg band, I have nothing to compare to. It's like saying make sure a new bike "feels" right, but if you have only ridden one bike, how would you know it is "right"?

I'll consider the underwear though.
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Old 05-12-05, 11:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoore
Is your primary problem that your legs are too thin? Blackbottoms are the narrowest in the leg you can find? I have that problem a bit myself and have found that some of the Performance shorts aren't too bad, also Bellweather (if they are still made). Oh, and check out Voler.
Steve
I don't know. They look normal, but I assume there is something different about the structure since I've tried various other brands and all have the same problem. I'm willing to try anything, but having to ship things back that don't fit (from Hawaii) is expensive.
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Old 05-12-05, 11:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by slagjumper
try cornstarch or baby powder
I've tried baby powder, Bag Balm, and some stick stuff.

Maybe I should note than while it gets pretty irritated, I don't seem to actually get sores for some reason.
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Old 05-12-05, 12:17 PM   #9
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Sweat is a major cause of friction so buy some barrier cream, normally used by nurses to protect their hands. Apply this to your nooks and crannies and this will stop the moisture underneath. This makes a huge difference, try it.
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Old 05-12-05, 12:30 PM   #10
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Actually, it isn't the nooks and crannies that cause the big problem (I use either Bag Balm or the sport stick stuff there). The irritation is on the butt, where it makes contact with the seat.

Sitting in my normal clothes now, I can still feel a little irritation from yesterday's ride, though it isn't a big deal.

Is "barrier creme" something different than these other items I've been using? I know the Bag Balm, in particular, seems to cause more sticking of the padding to my body, though I don't know if that also causes irritation.

That's one reason that on recent rides, I've just tried baby powder on my butt, but the dampness still irritates (at least, I'm assuming that is the cause).
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Old 05-12-05, 03:05 PM   #11
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You could perhaps try a leather saddle like a Brooks? They seem to have two advantages: your shorts don't stick to the saddle so much, so there is less irritation from friction; and the leather breathes, reducing the amount of dampness in the first place. Imagine how sticky your feet would get if shoes were made of non-breathable plastic instead of leather.

I recently got a Brooks and I like it for the above reasons.
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Old 05-12-05, 03:47 PM   #12
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Try some women's shorts! They might have the fit you need, and I don't see much difference in how they're made, tell the folks at the shop that you and your wife or GF wear the same size if they really wanna know.... Izumi's have this huge pad, I don't like them, I have some Sugoi's I do like, the pad's a lot thinner and doesn't seem to get sticky etc., - there are a lot of different types of chamois and "chamois" out there, also, you might consider some you can't get there, like Castelli's etc., shorts made for the european market might fit your build better, it sounds like you have thinner legs than most.
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Old 05-12-05, 07:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanB
You could perhaps try a leather saddle like a Brooks? They seem to have two advantages: your shorts don't stick to the saddle so much, so there is less irritation from friction; and the leather breathes, reducing the amount of dampness in the first place. Imagine how sticky your feet would get if shoes were made of non-breathable plastic instead of leather.

I recently got a Brooks and I like it for the above reasons.
I had considered getting a Brooks, but got a Terry Fly instead. I read a lot about the Brooks and seems some just love them while others hate them. I never though about the fact that leather breathes though. Still, other people ride longer, faster, and more aggressively than I do yet don't seem to have this problem - hence my wondering what they have that I don't (whether shorts or some other item).

As for sticking to the saddle, the problem seems to be the shorts sticking to ME! As I said, maybe all shorts do this, but since I can't wear other brands (so far), I don't know if that is normal.
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Old 05-12-05, 07:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilHinault
Try some women's shorts! They might have the fit you need, and I don't see much difference in how they're made, tell the folks at the shop that you and your wife or GF wear the same size if they really wanna know.... Izumi's have this huge pad, I don't like them, I have some Sugoi's I do like, the pad's a lot thinner and doesn't seem to get sticky etc., - there are a lot of different types of chamois and "chamois" out there, also, you might consider some you can't get there, like Castelli's etc., shorts made for the european market might fit your build better, it sounds like you have thinner legs than most.
Actually, the shop had me try women's shorts once - only tried one pair though. I found the pad to be too wide to suit me. Wish I had more options for bike shops to try things here. I rarely get back to the mainland where more shops - and bigger shops - are available.

I don't know if my legs are thinner - most of the shorts seem to be snug enough (at least with my limited experience) - it is just that last little bit that is too big. I'm wondering if the length of my upper leg down to the knee area is shorter than average - meaning that the narrowest part of that part of the leg is more likely to coincide with the leg hem.
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Old 05-12-05, 08:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheRCF
...I typically ride 15 miles before a 3 hour break at the beach, then ride 14 miles home. Sometimes I ride much further like today's 36 miles before stopping...
I can give no help in bike clothing selection but try this (probably no help either) ...

3 hours at the beach? Bring a change of clothes. Get to the beach ... change to beach apparel ... let the bike stuff dry (inside out in the sun) while you're frolicing in the sand... change back to bike clothes ... ride off into the sunset.

d.tipton
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Old 05-12-05, 09:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by tippy
I can give no help in bike clothing selection but try this (probably no help either) ...

3 hours at the beach? Bring a change of clothes. Get to the beach ... change to beach apparel ... let the bike stuff dry (inside out in the sun) while you're frolicing in the sand... change back to bike clothes ... ride off into the sunset.

d.tipton
I have thought about that, but then I think that it wouldn't solve the problem when I ride longer - still wearing the stuff, but just riding instead of resting. Heck, I ride around 3:00-5:00 AM for the outbound part of the ride and it tends to only be 74 degrees max usually even in summer. Imagine if I was riding that much after sunrise!

Of course, I also like to minimize what I have to carry - my beach time is rarely in the water and, early as I go, most of the time I'm not even getting any until I'm returning home. I can't think of any place I could leave stuff inside anyway. Public buildings tend not to like that!
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Old 05-13-05, 06:26 PM   #17
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Pulled out an older pair of bike shorts today (Primal) to see how they worked out. After all, I've change a number of things since I last tried them last (saddle, saddle position, etc).

Did 16 miles and then the usual sitting around for several hours before going home.

After the initial ride, the padding - whatever it is they use - was definitely much drier. It was warmer than usual riding home and I had a couple stops to make. After the second stop (about 40 minutes, mostly sitting), I was getting the usual irritation on my butt. Once home, I found that part of the padding was a little damp, though not as much as my other shorts.

Other than that comparison, these shorts were a bit more problematic in other ways. I got a little irritation on my inner thighs - whether because of the padding design or because the legband isn't snug, I don't know.

Maybe my next ride I'll try my triathlon shorts since they have a different padding material and not a lot of it. They were my best solution before finding the Blackbottoms.
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Old 05-13-05, 06:50 PM   #18
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Try some coolmax under wear, that's what I do.
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Old 05-15-05, 06:24 AM   #19
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Hmmm, didn't ride yesterday so I was wearing normal clothes. Spent some time in the sun waiting for a bus and then had an even longer wait - over 30 minutes - waiting for the return bus. All this wating was spent sitting on a hard bench.

Anyway, got exactly the same irritation on my butt as I do riding. Took less time sitting though - maybe because this was all in the afternoon heat while on my normal rides, I start out pre-darwn when it is cooler.

And I suppose it is worse because some irritation is probably there from the prior day's ride.

I might need to try coolmax underwear in these situations too! Hope to get to a Walmart soon and find some.
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Old 05-15-05, 04:38 PM   #20
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Tried my triathlon shorts today - they have the local bike shop name on them, but inside they say Sugio on the hem. The padding is thin. Not sure what it is, but it could be a plushy flannel or maybe a felt-like material.

My but did pretty good, so that's a good sign. However, I had some problems in the creases and some scrotum burning - so the search goes on.
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