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  1. #1
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    cycling shorts, your opinions?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a college student who is designing cycling shorts for a fashion design class that I'm in. I was hoping to get other's opinions on what you look for when purchasing cycling shorts. Do you prefer 6 panel, 8 panel, any certain fabrics you like or dislike, specific lengths or waistbands, etc? Also, if you could specify whether you ride long distance or more for leisure, and whether you're male or female would be great. Thanks for your help!

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    IMO, lacking is not a fashionable cycle short- there are plenty of those.
    Too much attention is paid to riding dressed up in some kit, not enough focus
    on comfortable regular looking clothes to cycle in. Clothes that help keep you
    cool and warm when needed. Clothes that fit loosely, but don't snag in chain or
    flap in the breeze. Don't need a diaper size crotch pad, but a little padding does
    seem to help on a long ride. Clothes that it is easy to hop off of the bike and
    go walk some place or go into a shop, coffee shop or movie. Clothes that don't
    smell up easily, easy to clean and are rugged. Clothes that look "normal" and
    function well for biking. A few companies make cycling knickers that are pretty
    close to meeting these criteria. I've modified a couple of pants by cutting a few
    inches off of the bottoms. I have a pair of old jersey pants, the cuffs got bike
    grimy- so I wacked off about 6 " and made a simple hem. I think they work
    really well, my partner mocks me when every i wear them for their odd look.
    Perhaps they could use a little stream lining. Did the same to a pair of baseball
    pants, they were a little more stream lined, however the material does not
    breath well for cycling. I ride for purpose and pleasure, often shorter trips
    of 15-20 km. My gender is male and don't look like a Tour de something other
    rider, my waist is about a XXXL in cycling clothes size- if that size is made.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Don't need 'em.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  4. #4
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    OK, now that I've had a good laugh at Operator's cruel, flippant, and totally hilarious response, let me see if I can offer something worthwhile.

    I'm a man, ride about 80-150 miles/week. I wear a size large shorts.

    I live in Hawaii, so I prefer a thinner lycra material. I have a bunch of Performance Ultra shorts because the material is thin so it keeps me cool. Lots of people like bibs, but I don't because they're kind of uncomfortable in this climate. All the shorts I have have a drawstring waistband, but to me, they're entirely unnecessary. I'm certainly not fat (31 inch waist), so I have no idea who actually needs the drawstring. I prefer the 8 panel shorts more. I prefer the shorts to go be long enough inseam to end a few inches above my knees. One thing that Performance has on their Ultra shorts is a little rubberized strip on the interior of the bottom that helps prevent the shorts from riding up - that's a nice feature. Thick pad is a must, even if it is uncomfortable when not riding a bike. I only wear black shorts.

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    6 panel? 8 panel? wassat? I don't have any cycling shorts, mostly because of "the lycra thing". Shorts that didn't look like cycling shorts, but were padded would be useful. That said, I suspect some mountain biking shorts do that - perhaps I should investigate more closely.

    Steve

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    If I could, I would design a pair of shorts that is friendlier to the male parts. The chamois in most shorts (esp. shorts that have thicker chamois) create pain for my testicles. They need to be more embracing and less smashing. Need I say more? Maybe this is just my problem. But pain in that region is a problem for me. Couldn't there be some kind of pouch?

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    Quote Originally Posted by martianone View Post
    IMO, lacking is not a fashionable cycle short- there are plenty of those.
    Too much attention is paid to riding dressed up in some kit, not enough focus
    on comfortable regular looking clothes to cycle in. Clothes that help keep you
    cool and warm when needed. Clothes that fit loosely, but don't snag in chain or
    flap in the breeze. Don't need a diaper size crotch pad, but a little padding does
    seem to help on a long ride. Clothes that it is easy to hop off of the bike and
    go walk some place or go into a shop, coffee shop or movie. Clothes that don't
    smell up easily, easy to clean and are rugged. Clothes that look "normal" and
    function well for biking. A few companies make cycling knickers that are pretty
    close to meeting these criteria. I've modified a couple of pants by cutting a few
    inches off of the bottoms. I have a pair of old jersey pants, the cuffs got bike
    grimy- so I wacked off about 6 " and made a simple hem. I think they work
    really well, my partner mocks me when every i wear them for their odd look.
    Perhaps they could use a little stream lining. Did the same to a pair of baseball
    pants, they were a little more stream lined, however the material does not
    breath well for cycling. I ride for purpose and pleasure, often shorter trips
    of 15-20 km. My gender is male and don't look like a Tour de something other
    rider, my waist is about a XXXL in cycling clothes size- if that size is made.


    I have nothing constructive to add. Merely amused that I agree with operator's amusing response.

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    I partially agree with the request for "normal looking." What I would like is a pair of shorts that are comfortable to cycle in, but also comfortable for living in. When I use my bike for errands, instead of just a work-out, I would like to be able to wear something that doesn't scream out "biker", yet still offers some of the advantages of dedicated gear. For example, seams strategically placed to feel better on a bike seat, but without the spandex!

  9. #9
    These go to 11. DavidLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
    I partially agree with the request for "normal looking." What I would like is a pair of shorts that are comfortable to cycle in, but also comfortable for living in. When I use my bike for errands, instead of just a work-out, I would like to be able to wear something that doesn't scream out "biker", yet still offers some of the advantages of dedicated gear. For example, seams strategically placed to feel better on a bike seat, but without the spandex!
    Buy some padded cycling briefs & wear regular shorts.

  10. #10
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    I commute 125 miles each week then do about 75 to 150 miles each weekend. I ride for commuting, leisure and exercise. I like Pearl Izumi microsensor shorts. They have a perfect (layered) chamois pad and feel like they fit well. I really don't care how they look. They work. The places where a person's body contacts the bike (hands, feet, rear end) are critical to get just right as those places can get irritated and cause discomfort. It comes down to individual choices in these areas and its better to focus on function for those spots.

  11. #11
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    Do NOT make them white.

    I ended behind a guy at a crossing yesterday evening with a white panel across the back of his shorts. Let's just say he was not spending any money for a bikini wax. Eww. Puke. Disgusting.

    He was on a high-end tri bike and I figured he would take off down the path after crossing. No. He road just fast enough that I couldn't easily pass him. I braked and let him get far ahead so I wouldn't have to see any more.

    Repeat: DO NOT MAKE THEM WHITE!!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member akatsuki's Avatar
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    Take a set of tweed hunting breeks, add a chamois pad and call it a gentleman's cycling pant.
    Current: Lynskey R210 | Miyata 610
    Selling: Anchor PCD3 (NJS)

  13. #13
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    holy crap, there's no way you should be able to see through the damn shorts. that's disgusting.

    There's a design element to consider.

    I might consider getting some if they were normal looking, baggy and you couldn't see through them!

    that would be my criteria.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  14. #14
    Zan
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    Make 'em black. Or... make the part around the butt + the crotch black. Why? Sweat shows. Sweat doesn't show on black. Thigh material and waist material can be a different color, but i would recommend the seat part being black.

    Really uncomfortable when you get off the bike + there is a sweat stain right around there. Everyone sees!
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

  15. #15
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    Another reason why black is preferable - sometimes you drop a chain or get your hands really dirty from changing a tire. Wipe 'em on the black shorts and your hands are clean without showing any dirty smudges on your clothes.

    Perhaps the OP should be clear on the purpose of the cycling clothes. If it's for training or racing, I wear lycra. If it's for a quick jaunt down to the store or just a short recreational ride, I ride with whatever shorts I have on at the time.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocket Man View Post
    Another reason why black is preferable - sometimes you drop a chain or get your hands really dirty from changing a tire. Wipe 'em on the black shorts and your hands are clean without showing any dirty smudges on your clothes.
    I always thought that was why they were black... simple utility.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by labailarin503 View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I'm a college student who is designing cycling shorts for a fashion design class that I'm in. I was hoping to get other's opinions on what you look for when purchasing cycling shorts. Do you prefer 6 panel, 8 panel, any certain fabrics you like or dislike, specific lengths or waistbands, etc? Also, if you could specify whether you ride long distance or more for leisure, and whether you're male or female would be great. Thanks for your help!
    Hi, labailarin,
    Good luck with your project. I'll try to address each of your points here.

    I'm a male utility cycler in a small town so I probably do twenty five or fewer miles per week.

    For cycling shorts, Under Armor boxer briefs are super super comfortable for me. One panel for each leg, one across the seat, and two in the front to provide athletic support (a must for men).

    As far as fabric goes, it must be synthetic so it wicks moisture away and so that it dries rapidly. It should have a lycra component so that it is stretchy and form-fitting to prevent uncomfortable bunching among the moving parts. It should be high-thread count so that it does not have a coarse hand like many synthetic fiber-based fabrics do. It must be black, as others have noted.

    For specific lengths, this may be more of a preference thing than are the specifications for the fabric. For me, a boxer brief that's a little longer lasts better, because the elastic holding the hem from riding up can grip better around my lower quads, just above my kneecaps.

    Along the same philosophy, an elastic waistband and no itchy stitched-in label are good.

    Regarding how it should look, I wear them under regular shorts/pants, so it doesn't particularly matter how they look. Also I am a comparatively short-distance rider, so padding is not desirable in my case. It is good to not have a baboon-assed-short if you can avoid it.


  18. #18
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    If I could, I would design a pair of shorts that is friendlier to the male parts. The chamois in most shorts (esp. shorts that have thicker chamois) create pain for my testicles. They need to be more embracing and less smashing. Need I say more? Maybe this is just my problem. But pain in that region is a problem for me. Couldn't there be some kind of pouch?
    +1

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    To go against the grain here... all cycling shorts are ugly and undignified (all shorts are undignified and should only be worn while swimming). The only justification I can see for cycling shorts is if you're racing and need the aerodynamics.

    There are already fashionable cycling shorts: they're called knickers. Chrome, Swrve, Bicycle Fixation, Swobo, Under the Weather all offer commercial "cycling shants." Or you can make your own from any pair of durable fabric pants. I've never needed padding, even on the ass hatchet seat my road bike, which is my main commuter and getting around bike, came with, but I understand that some people do. Most knickers don't have padding so you'd have to buy a size larger and wear padded something underneath.

    Cycling shorts always look like cycling shorts, no matter how many panels or what fabric they're made from. A nice pair of wool knickers at least sort of fit in fashionably in the rest of the world and ride great on the bicycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidLee View Post
    Buy some padded cycling briefs & wear regular shorts.

    I agree

  21. #21
    cyclopath
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    How about a jock cut for the "package"?. If we gotta wear lycra we might as well enhance our "product's" presentation to reach as many potential consumers as possible.

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    Oh my lord...
    How about a cod piece as well?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    Oh my lord...
    How about a cod piece as well?
    Okay, but it's gotta be those monster plastic things like Alex and his droogs wore in A Clockwork Orange.
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
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    HopliteGrad, what do you mean by having "two in the front to provide athletic support (a must for men)"? Do you mean having a seam down the center front of the short and also another running down each thigh? And how does this provide athletic support? Thanks so much for your input!

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    A fully fashioned jock would surely be more comfortable if designed into the chamois - it would hold you high, forward and out of harm's way. Better profile? Well that would be a bonus; but, like a good sports bra for a women, it would stop the wobble.

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