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Old 03-25-08, 02:07 PM   #1
squeakywheel
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padding in bike shorts

What is the padding in bike shorts for? Simply a cussion? If so why don't the usual reasons given against soft seats apply to these pads?

I always ride wearing spandex compression shorts without a pad. Just wondering what I'm missing.
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Old 03-25-08, 02:08 PM   #2
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You can turn them inside out and dry a car with bike shorts if you want.
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Old 03-25-08, 02:08 PM   #3
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The "padding" is pretty thin, and not much of a cushion. My understanding is it reduces chafing more than anything else.
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Old 03-25-08, 06:37 PM   #4
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Wicks moisture away, prevents chaffing. They are probably not needed for less than 2 hour rides. I never wore them until the late 80's, but I would get a lot of chaffing sometimes. Now I never get chaffing.

Having said that,...

The expensive ones, like the ion in the voler shorts do this better than others, but when I go on centuries, the overriding comfort factor is the periodic change in shorts- not what the padding is made of.
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Old 03-25-08, 07:04 PM   #5
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Yep, wicking away moisture, keeping things clean. Lots of problems in that general region (e.g. saddle sores) are caused by bacteria rather than impact or pressure.
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Old 03-26-08, 11:10 AM   #6
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On a related note . . . what is up with so many shorts nowadays having these excessively complicated, diaper-thick pads????? It drives me insane. I used to love the Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts -- they were well-made and long-lasting, with a plain, thin pad. Several years ago, they also succumbed to the ballooning chamois phenomenon.

As everyone says, all I really want is whatever is minimally necessary to wick away the moisture and keep annoying seams away from prone-to-seam-annoyment areas. It also makes me crazy when I'm looking at shorts on-line, or in a paper catalog, and they show a picture of the shorts being modeled by a person (which is utterly useless, IMO -- most of the shorts end up looking pretty much alike) but don't show a picture of what the padding looks like.

*sigh*

So, would anyone care to give a shout out to their favorite make/model of uncomplicated-chamois shorts? Right now I'm using a few old pair that I got from REI and Canari, but they're about ready for the boneyard, and I'm dreading the hunt to replace them.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:04 PM   #7
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On a related note . . . what is up with so many shorts nowadays having these excessively complicated, diaper-thick pads????? It drives me insane. I used to love the Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts -- they were well-made and long-lasting, with a plain, thin pad. Several years ago, they also succumbed to the ballooning chamois phenomenon.

As everyone says, all I really want is whatever is minimally necessary to wick away the moisture and keep annoying seams away from prone-to-seam-annoyment areas. It also makes me crazy when I'm looking at shorts on-line, or in a paper catalog, and they show a picture of the shorts being modeled by a person (which is utterly useless, IMO -- most of the shorts end up looking pretty much alike) but don't show a picture of what the padding looks like.

*sigh*

So, would anyone care to give a shout out to their favorite make/model of uncomplicated-chamois shorts? Right now I'm using a few old pair that I got from REI and Canari, but they're about ready for the boneyard, and I'm dreading the hunt to replace them.
I just bought a pair of Cannondale Surpass shorts that fit well and don't have the diaper feeling. The padding seems to be just about right for me: not too much, not to little.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:39 PM   #8
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So, would anyone care to give a shout out to their favorite make/model of uncomplicated-chamois shorts? Right now I'm using a few old pair that I got from REI and Canari, but they're about ready for the boneyard, and I'm dreading the hunt to replace them.
If you don't mind ebay:

Love2Pedal sells Ascent Cycling shorts with a plain coolmax pad that is a minimalist 8 panel short ($27):

http://cgi.ebay.com/Ascent-CYCLING-S...713.m153.l1262
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Old 03-26-08, 02:29 PM   #9
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I also wear padded biking shorts to prevent chafing. The moisture whicking helps a little bit, but only if I stand up enough for the moisture to be able to evaporate. The main thing that they do for me, is that the pad does not move or rub against my skin. Especially with cotton shorts or undergarments, you eventually end up with the equivalent of a moist or wet towel that is constantly rubbing and scrubbing between you and the saddle. The pad prevents that.

I don't like shorts with too much cushion, either. Just a thin, preferrably anit-microbial, pad works great for me. Most thick-padded shorts are almost as uncomfortable as wearing cotton shorts, and HATE gel shorts.

Have fun out there!
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Old 03-26-08, 02:43 PM   #10
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Anyone used Ibex wool shorts? Considering buying a pair or two for a tour this summer.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:43 PM   #11
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For those who wear thinly padded shorts, do you use chamois cream and do you find it makes a big difference only past a certain number of miles? What's your favourite (and least favourite) brand?
I've been wearing gel padded shorts, but for rides over 60 miles they get very uncomfortable, especially when it's warm weather. I'm looking at getting some new bibs with thinner padding, and wondering if a tub of chamois cream is worth the money.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:34 PM   #12
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I'm starting to think I'll buy a tub of chamois cream and keep my cheap ($20) Nike Pro compression shorts. They're every bit as tight fitting as anything with a built in pad.
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Old 03-27-08, 01:17 AM   #13
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For those who wear thinly padded shorts, do you use chamois cream and do you find it makes a big difference only past a certain number of miles? What's your favourite (and least favourite) brand?
I've been wearing gel padded shorts, but for rides over 60 miles they get very uncomfortable, especially when it's warm weather. I'm looking at getting some new bibs with thinner padding, and wondering if a tub of chamois cream is worth the money.
Chamois cream is way overrated. Use a bit of queen helene:

http://www.naturalmarket.com/shop/de...L5587/S/637010

I buy it at the local dollar store. Walmart has it. It's cheap and works as well as the bicycle specific stuff. The key to preventing chaffing is bringing along extra shorts. I change mine every 50 miles or so.
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Old 03-27-08, 02:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by squeakywheel View Post
What is the padding in bike shorts for? Simply a cussion? If so why don't the usual reasons given against soft seats apply to these pads?

I always ride wearing spandex compression shorts without a pad. Just wondering what I'm missing.
I agree with you. The spandex compression shorts keep me from chaffing and I noticed that the padding bothered me more the longer the ride was.
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Old 04-01-08, 02:36 PM   #15
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chafing? thought it was to do with racing saddles, they're shaped that way for maneuverability (weight shifting - getting in & out of the saddle) AND comfort PROVIDED you wear these cycle shorts? the two are supposed to work together. the padding helps mold shape to said saddles & for some, aids the sliding of position on / off saddle. next question: why do some people like saddles with non-slip surface?
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Old 04-01-08, 03:21 PM   #16
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With padded cycling shorts, I really like non-slip saddles. It allows me to really lock down onto the saddle, to get more power to the pedals, and get my hamstrings into the motion a little bit more. If I'm not wearing padded shorts, then I prefer a slippery saddle, like on my mountain bike. That allows the outside of my pants to slide around on the saddle, instead of being locked onto the saddle and my own skin sliding against my shorts and undies.

I don't like creams at all, while I'm riding. Fresh air and ventilation while standing works better than lube, for me.
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Old 04-06-08, 11:07 AM   #17
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I found less to be more. My favorite pair is the very first pair I bought. They are a Fox brand, not baggies but regular lycra type shorts. I use these for doubles all the time and they have the least amount of padding of any shorts I have. PI's are a death sentence for me, and the cheap Volers work well too.
But what I've found to really work the best is to have a comfortable saddle. No shorts in the world will compensate for a bad fitting saddle.
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