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Old 05-20-07, 04:54 PM   #1
cynergy
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Benefits of bike shorts?

Hi All,

I'm planning to do some mini tours (2 or 3 day tours) this summer. Currently when I ride I wear some jogging/running shorts. they have wicking liners and don't seem to chafe me during my rides (I've been doing 25 mile rides to start getting in shape for my summer trip). For my mini tours, I only plan on riding about 50 to 60 miles per day.

Is it really worth the extra money to purchase dedicated riding shorts? What are the benefits of such shorts? I do prefer wearing the running shorts over cotton briefs and shorts since the cotton stuff chafes if I ride longer distances. However, the riding specific shorts seem kinda pricey and I was wondering if they would be a worthwhile investment for me (the occasional tourer) or if my money would be better spent elsewhere.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by cynergy; 05-21-07 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 05-20-07, 04:58 PM   #2
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YES, it is!

After you try them,you'll understand, is all I can really say. Look at Bibs, they are the most comfortable.


www.aerotechdesigns.com
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Old 05-20-07, 06:34 PM   #3
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Get up to 4-6 hours in the saddle on several consecutive days and chafing is more of an issue. Also more of an issue if you're overweight (like me). If you find you are comfortable in your running shorts, good on ya - they're cheaper, better ventilated and don't look stupid at the pub.

However, I predict that when you hit 2-3-4 hours in the saddle both days of the weekend on your training rides, you'll spend much of Sunday standing up and coasting. If cost is an issue, go for close-fitting synthetic boxers (Coolmax is better than lycra in this setting; Tactel also seems to work well, it is a nylon/lycra blend), with no seams in the seat/crotch area, and stitch some grippy elastic into the inside of the hems on the legs to stop them riding up as you pedal. You won't have padding but that's not as much of an issue as the dreaded chafe.

Try one decent pair of bike shorts once you get up to longer distances. Look for tight-fitting shorts, with grippy elastic around the legs and a sewn-in synthetic chamois that is either moulded into shape or made of 4 panels.

If you ride infrequently the padding is a major contributor to comfort, but sounds like you are serious about training, soon you will be a hard-arse and able to replace your cushy saddle with the blade of an axe. But until then, the padding helps.
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Old 05-20-07, 07:25 PM   #4
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You leave out my favorite part of bike shorts. I always get a kick out of walking through a small town in the south wearing them. People's eyes always look straight at your face, then they immediately drop to your crotch. Its inevitable and I always get a kick out of it.
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Old 05-20-07, 07:44 PM   #5
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I don't wear true biking shorts, but you might want to take a look at Aerotech shorts. http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/

Their website is fantastic, they have something for everyone, and their prices seem good. They have an incredible range of colors and sizes and they're very nice folks to deal with directly.
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Old 05-20-07, 07:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkauffman
You leave out my favorite part of bike shorts. I always get a kick out of walking through a small town in the south wearing them. People's eyes always look straight at your face, then they immediately drop to your crotch. Its inevitable and I always get a kick out of it.
Why? What's wrong with your crotch?

And are you saying Northerners are too up-tight to look at your crotch?
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Old 05-20-07, 07:55 PM   #7
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Bike shorts have padding in them that I dont think running shorts have. At the end of a long ride, you will appreciate this padding.
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Old 05-20-07, 08:24 PM   #8
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I just found it much more common down south. I guess people just aren't used to a group of guys walking through Walmart in spandex.
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Old 05-20-07, 08:26 PM   #9
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I wear bike shorts when touring but pack some lightweight paints I can wear over the biking shorts. When I get off the bike I just slip into the "normal" shorts with pockets providing a modest appearance and pockets for the wallet and other pocket filling necessities when dealing with a cycling deficient population.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:23 PM   #10
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I can certainly see the value of the bike shorts padding on tour, even with my comfy B-17. I was wondering if there are any shorts with a lighter, thinner chamois? I know that on my upcoming European tour that I'm going stop in town and museums midday and I won't feel all that comfortable walking around in bike shorts with a thick chamois... Any suggestions?
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Old 05-21-07, 01:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n4zou
I wear bike shorts when touring but pack some lightweight paints I can wear over the biking shorts. When I get off the bike I just slip into the "normal" shorts with pockets providing a modest appearance and pockets for the wallet and other pocket filling necessities when dealing with a cycling deficient population.
+1. My casual shorts that slip over my riding shorts are always handy -- in 30 seconds everything almost looks normal...
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Old 05-21-07, 02:28 AM   #12
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How about just having padded briefs under your normal shorts

http://www.rei.com/product/732754
http://murl.se/25002

george
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Old 05-21-07, 02:39 AM   #13
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I'm too old to give a damn what anyone thinks about my crotch..
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Old 05-21-07, 03:13 AM   #14
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Thanks all for the replies. I guess I will invest in some shorts or bibs. I'm going to try and do some longer routes more consistently and I don't want to chafe or get saddle sore. Thanks also for the links to the various products. I will check them out!
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Old 05-21-07, 06:46 AM   #15
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Hey.. i asked this before, in the other thread, not many ppl answered directly. Ive never worn proper cycling shorts until recently when we decided to try a tour...

so.. when wearing proper cycling shorts, do you lot wear boxers/underpants or whatever you usually wear underneath then ??

I usually wear boxers, but they are loose fitting, which causes a bit of hassle when putting on tight shorts over the tops ( gets a little bunched up around areas i especially dont want rubbing )
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Old 05-21-07, 07:46 AM   #16
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Nothing underneath except what you were born with.

You can put light synthetic shorts on top. I like this approach esp. if it is sunny (3/4 length pants over bike shorts). You can also zip into a public toilet at rest stops, take the bike shorts off and go commando for a while to get some ventilation. Ooooh.
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Old 05-21-07, 09:02 AM   #17
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A lot of people seem to benefit from bike shorts, but some people don't. I fall into the latter category and have ridden for 8+ hours a day in synthetic boxers with no problems. I've had 3 pairs of proper "bike shorts", and with all three have ended up cutting the padding out again.

Try some longer rides and see if you notice any chafing. If not, don't bother.
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Old 05-21-07, 12:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by womble
A lot of people seem to benefit from bike shorts, but some people don't. I fall into the latter category and have ridden for 8+ hours a day in synthetic boxers with no problems. I've had 3 pairs of proper "bike shorts", and with all three have ended up cutting the padding out again.

Try some longer rides and see if you notice any chafing. If not, don't bother.
You and Tinker Juarez! He rode RAAM last year with unpadded shorts! I can't imagine 3200 miles in 9 days with unpadded shorts! Talk about a cast iron kiester!
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Old 05-24-07, 08:05 AM   #19
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Personally on long tours I like switching between padded bike shorts and regular shorts, it’s like having a new rear end to sit on each day.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:27 AM   #20
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It's like drinking FCOJ your whole life and then drinking freshly squeezed for the first time.

Enjoy your eureka moment.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiles9
Hey.. i asked this before, in the other thread, not many ppl answered directly. Ive never worn proper cycling shorts until recently when we decided to try a tour...

so.. when wearing proper cycling shorts, do you lot wear boxers/underpants or whatever you usually wear underneath then ??

I usually wear boxers, but they are loose fitting, which causes a bit of hassle when putting on tight shorts over the tops ( gets a little bunched up around areas i especially dont want rubbing )
Microfibre boxers great for layering warmth. Seamless is important otherwise it misses the point, and the material allows for a snug fit unlike loose, cotton boxers. Anything else might incur the Underwear Nazi's wrath.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:33 AM   #22
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Every time I ride a bike with normal street clothes for more than two hours, eventually, I can feel the saddle being inserted up my arse. The saddle just happens to be located adjacent your sit spot. Some may like that. I do not. The tension of bike shorts keeps the saddle from naturally being inserted up your orifices. Plus the wicking properties are really worthwhile.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:54 AM   #23
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This is one area of cycling gear that I've learned requires at least one "best in category" item. I own a few pair of cycling shorts, including an Performance-brand insert pair (highly recommended for day trips). But when I really need to be comfortable, out come the Pearl Izumis <happy sigh just thinking about it>. When I want to look "normal" off the bike, I wear a pair of cargo shorts over them. Best of both worlds.

Btw, thanks to the other posters for the aerotechdesigns website. I'm enjoying surfing it and may end up placing an order soon.

Ken
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Old 05-24-07, 11:07 AM   #24
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you after a jazzy pair ?? some interesting clothes.. haha
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Old 05-24-07, 08:40 PM   #25
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While others have commented that the padding is great after a long day of riding, personally, I can't stand the padding after 2 miles of mostly flat terrain. I have 2 pairs of bicycling shorts, one with and one without the built-in baggy shorts on the outside. Whenever I wear either pair, I got hot and sweaty next to the padding. The only way to stop this is to either take the bicycling shorts off or stop bicycling.

After reading a comment online about it, either on BikeForums or elsewhere, I tried synthetic, seamless boxer briefs. I've never had a problem with them yet. Of course, I still haven't gone a very long distance (my longest ride was yesterday at 24.5-25 miles), but I don't see them being a problem. Last year, I went a similar, but slightly shorter distance, wearing bicycling shorts, and among other problems on the second half of my ride, the padding was very uncomfortable. I did have a problem on the second half of yesterday's ride (sore legs), but this had nothing to do with the seamless boxer briefs. Occasionally it will get warm down there, so I'll just stand up and coast for several seconds and everything will be fine for a while longer.

I've thought about trying boxers (to put it briefly--pun intended--my mother always bought briefs, and I've merely continued the pattern). According to Nicodemus's post above, it sounds like I need to look for seamless boxers, as opposed to just any set of boxers. Is this correct?

Timothy Clough
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