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  1. #1
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    Selecting bike shorts

    I've biked a fair bit in the past, been away from it for a few years, and am going to resume soon. I ride a Trek "Hybrid". I have never worn bike shorts, and frankly, I have no idea how to select a pair. I'm sure this is a dumb question to most here, but if anyone can come up with any pointers, I'd appreciate it. I have a Performance Bike shop nearby (Seattle area), and since $$$ is a bit tight at the moment, I'd prefer to spend no more than necessary. Here's a link to the Performance Bike page with men's lycra shorts, if that helps: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._400000_400020 Again, any suggestions appreciated.

    Also, can you generally try these things on in the stores?

    TIA

    Dan

    I should add that what I'm finding I need that "regular" shorts don't give me is padding of my backside (one reason I haven't ridden in a year is I injured my butt riding last year on a rail-to-trails section where you could feel where each tie USED to be), and support for the gonads.
    Last edited by Gunga Dan; 05-09-11 at 01:39 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'm quite biased on this - when someone asks what shorts to get - my suggestion is the J & G touring short.
    They have a thin pad, are comfortable, long wearing, not hugely expensive, don't make you look like a stuffed sausage and I believe made in the USA [oregon].
    If you need more traditional compressive shorts - check out the Aerotech brand - they have a plain cycle short with a good pad - these are also fairly comfortable, wear well, not hugely expensive and made in USA [PA].
    ride long & prosper

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. Make sure your bicycle fits first. One of the leading causes of saddle discomfort is an incorrectly set up bicycle.
    See this link for bicycle fit advice: http://www.cyclemetrics.com/Pages/Fi..._fit_links.htm

    2. Get a good saddle. Make sure it is wide enough for you, but not too wide. It needs to be wide enough so that you sit on your sitbones, but not too wide to cause friction issues and misalignment issues. You may also need to determine whether you like a flat saddle or a saddle that curves up in the back. I need one that curves up in the back or I get lower back pain. But others like a flat saddle.

    If your bicycle fits and you've got a good saddle, you shouldn't need padded bicycle shorts ... especially not for short rides.

    With a properly set up bicycle and a broken-in Brooks saddle, I've been able to cycle up to 80 km in a bathing suit and beach shorts.


    If you do want to go for padded shorts, remember that you don't need to spend a lot to get comfortable shorts. My favourites are the least expensive MEC ones. Don't be afraid to try inexpensive shorts. And also remember that quite often less is more when it comes to the padding. The padding should cover your sitbones ... you should not end up sitting on the seams ... but as for the thickness, many riders (myself included) find that thick padding, and especially think padding with all those sections and lumps and bumps that some cycling shorts padding seems to have, causes more problems than it solves. My second favourite shorts are very inexpensive Nashbar shorts with next to no padding.

    The key is to try several pairs of shorts on in the store ... sit in them, squat in them, move your legs up and down in a pedalling motion, straddle something in them. Make sure they've got the flexibility you want and that you feel comfortable in the material. Reach around behind you and check to make sure the padding covers your sitbones. Take your time making your decision. Pick a bad (for you) pair of shorts and you will regret it.

  4. #4
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunga Dan View Post
    Also, can you generally try these things on in the stores?
    Yes, if they have a changing room.

    You might also consider bibs instead of shorts.

    Try Voler. Good quality and a decent price --> www.voler.com.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  5. #5
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    Bike shorts is one thing I have learned not to go cheap, although I never pay more than $70.00.

    Its difficult to tell as everybody is so unique in this specific subject. Its not like putting on some jeans and keep going.

    I have noticed try to buy the ones that have 6 or more contour panels, not straight down. At least for me the ones that work are Pearl Izumi and Canari, all others do not fit me well and are super uncomfortable. What may work for me may not for you.

    Try to see if there is a Performance Bike, REI, Sports Academy or Dickies and try them out. Check there return policy just in case. Because they may fit well but then go on a 40 mile bike ride and have excessive chafing. Be advised, shorts are like saddles, got to give it some time to break in.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by martianone View Post
    I'm quite biased on this - when someone asks what shorts to get - my suggestion is the J & G touring short.
    They have a thin pad, are comfortable, long wearing, not hugely expensive, don't make you look like a stuffed sausage and I believe made in the USA [oregon].
    If you need more traditional compressive shorts - check out the Aerotech brand - they have a plain cycle short with a good pad - these are also fairly comfortable, wear well, not hugely expensive and made in USA [PA].
    Martian - Are these what you're referring to? http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Touring-Shorts.html I would prefer something more like that, a "regular" short. I see they offer a bit of padding. My other problem is support for the genitals. I keep my seat up as you should, leg almost fully extended when the peddle is all the way down, and I just find in getting on/off that I'm "flopping around" quite a bit (sorry for the TMI ;-) and have actually hurt myself a couple of times on the horn of the seat. I'm thinking I need something like an athletic supporter. Do these shorts, or biking shorts in general, have anything like that? Sorry again for being so in the dark on this basic biking aspect! I've been riding off and on for 30 years, you'd think I'd know this stuff!

  7. #7
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    Machka - I think the bike's et up OK, but I'll check the link you sent to make sure, thanks. The "sit bones" are the issue, that and support. I injured myself nearly a year ago, haven't ridden since, and it I rub the area (left side, right on top of the "sit bone" on that side), it's STILL a bit sore. I had a decent saddle which I'd probably put about 1,000 miles on, without a problem. I have a Terry Liberator "Y" saddle, similar to this one http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...551_1032481_-1 The injury happened with no padding in the shorts. I'm so desperate, I actually went to Walmart & bought one of these monster "Granny seats", though I haven't ridden with it yet http://www.amazon.com/Bell-GelTech-U.../dp/B000667LV4 It's a cheap POS which will probably wear out fast, but it is much wider & with gel pads. I really want to get back to riding! Any more suggestions appreciated!

    Dan

  8. #8
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    Thanks to EVERYONE for the replies. There are both several Performance Bikes & a huge REI here in Seattle, I'll check out their inventory with these suggestions in mind!

    Dan

  9. #9
    Godbotherer dwellman's Avatar
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    On one hand something is often better than nothing, on the other hand, the only way to really EVER get it right is to try them on. I actually found I prefer tri shorts.
    "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize"
    "So I do not run like someone who doesn't run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air."
    "And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
    "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

  10. #10
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    After buying a pair of basketball shorts and going for a bike ride today, I realize why there are specific bike shorts. So..

    a)what makes a good pair of shorts..paneling, stretch, fabric, etc?. The last thing I want is for them to rip, shred, wear out in places or ride down after a few uses.

    b) how not to look like a muffin top and how a pair should fit. Will they loosen up over time or do they shrink the first time you wash a pair?

    c) if I can't throw them in the wash/dryer forget it.

    d) if you are on the larger side, anything to stay away from other than the obvious?

    As my true hobby is sewing/quilting it's finding the right fit not necessarily about brand. On the opposite hand, if you look like a dork, at least cars will notice that you exist.

  11. #11
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    I partook of the Kool-Aid that says "minimal padding" and "Brooks Saddle". I wear the Performance Classic II shorts (Usually $25 on "sale") and sit on a Brooks B-17. The soft padded saddles seem to cause a great deal of discomfort for most riders when ridden for more than a few minutes. YMMV!

    Regards,
    Bob P.

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