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  1. #1
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    Biking short for touring

    I have both gel lined and synthetic chamois lined biking shorts. I use the gel shorts most of the time for my daily commute. For touring, however, which is preferable, gel, chamois or synthetic chamois? My hunch is that the synthetic would be the driest over all, both in terms of riding all day, cooling down time at the end of the day, and drying time after being rinsed out. While my gel shorts are very comfortable, I am worried that using gel shorts on a multi-day tour might trigger a visit from this character....
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  2. #2
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    I prefer chamois; the real deal. Don't like gel in any form (gloves, shorts, etc.) and for me, synthetics make this character appear...
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  3. #3
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    I agree -- the real thing (chamois). I've been on nine tours in various parts of the world and never had any problems...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducksoup_SD View Post
    I agree -- the real thing (chamois). I've been on nine tours in various parts of the world and never had any problems...
    I guess I'm missing something. Does any major brand still have "real" chamois? Where does one buy shorts with
    "real" chamois? If I remember correctly, didn't they become hard as a board after washing a few times without treating with a chamois cream?

    A lot of brands (probably most) use foam aka "gel" for padding without causing many people problems.
    Last edited by rmac; 08-01-09 at 06:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    I guess I'm missing something. Does any major brand still have "real" chamois? Where does one buy shorts with
    "real" chamois?
    Not that I know of.

    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    If I remember correctly, didn't they become hard as a board after washing a few times without treating with a chamois cream?
    Yep.

    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    A lot of brands (probably most) use foam aka "gel" for padding without causing many people problems.
    Foam and gel are not the same thing. Not even close.

    I like the Pearl Izumi Ultrasensor shorts for touring they dry quickly, are fine even when damp and are comfy. I am not a fan of gel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Foam and gel are not the same thing. Not even close.
    Hmm, I thought the "gel" used in clothing was just a type of closed cel foam. Looks that way when you take it apart too. What is it?

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    I now use tri-shorts that have almost no pad, just some extra material in the sitting area, and seamless Coolmax briefs underneath. The combination wicks sweat away and dries very quickly after being rinsed out. When it gets colder, I substitute unpadded tights for the tri-shorts, and when it gets colder yet, I add my rainpants. I rely on my saddle and properly fit bike to keep me from chafing.

  8. #8
    nun
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    Best combo I've found and Andiamo padded briefs and Rapha fixed knickers. The knickers cover your legs to mid calf so you don't get sunburned knees and they have 4 good sized pockets.

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    I've been touring (and riding locally) with Performance Ultra Shorts. I really like them for the price. Performance lists them for $79.99, but they are almost always on sale in the mid $60's and I can usually catch them on a good sale in the mid $50s.

    They're 10-panel shorts that fit very well. They have a good synthetic chamois that wicks moisture from critical areas, leaving you high and dry in the saddle. I don't use any chamois creams, oils, ointments, or salves unless I'm treating a particular problem.

    I took two pair on my tour around Lake Ontario this summer, alternating them each day. I hand washed them in the sink each evening and the dried them on the back of my bike the next day. They generally dried pretty quickly. One long rainy day, I couldn't get the chamois totally dry, but they were comfortable and worked fine the next day anyway.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    Hmm, I thought the "gel" used in clothing was just a type of closed cel foam. Looks that way when you take it apart too. What is it?
    Are you sure the ones you took apart are gel shorts?

    The gel shorts I looked at actually had bladders of goo like stuff in them. It feels like the stuff in gel gloves that I have used. I know that those have goo in them, I've had it leak out and or dry up. Gel shorts seem like a really bad idea to me for a number of reasons, but I have not actually tried them.

  11. #11
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    No to "real" chamois it's leather.
    No to "gel" it's goop.

    Lightweight as thin as comfortable "synthetic chamois" is the way to go. The fastest drying after hand washing is the best.

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    Got Chamois?

    Kucharik has been around for quite a while (http://www.kucharik.com) and still offers real chamois on most of their shorts. I had some wool ones long ago and they were great. My last purchased set of 4 was Giordona (Coolmax, this time) from at least 10 years ago (real chamois)...

    I don't know how you wash your chamois (I use Tide Free in a washing machine), but all I ever do is rub the left side against the right after it dries and it returns to the soft, smooth leather as always. I have never used a cream to soften the chamois on any of my shorts.

  13. #13
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    Gel is a silicon-based material, sorta like caulk - it's not foam rubber. It doesn't breath, makes short feel like you got a load in your diaper, but absorbs shock better than most all the foam material. I rode in Performance Century gel shorts for several years, they quit making this type around 2004. Gels fell out of favor due to the tendency of some to slowly extrude through small holes in the lycra as the short wore from normal use. You'd get gel "boogers" on the outside of short, then have to clip them off and work rest of the migrating gel back into shape with fingers.

    I've used andiamo and similar nashbar/perf padded briefs with tights in cool weather. The padding is adequate, but the actual briefs material is very lightweight and does not last nearly as long as decent lycra. They end up being an expensive option since they have maybe 1/3 the life of a regular bike short. I went back to wearing lightly padded bike shorts under tights after this lesson.

    One of the better tips I ever got off BF was the link to Aero Tech Designs from a poster in road cycling. I had not heard of them before this. They make shorts for the big brands - PI, LG, Descente, Performance etc. In fact, I think the link below is their "side" business to their regular contract jobs.

    http://www.schnaubelt.com/menshort.htm

    I can recommend the Aero Tech men's pro short - 35 bucks. Decent lycra and grippers, light foam padding, superior fit (for me), good CS. I find many shorts seem to be made for the store mannequins, but I actually have gonads. The Aero Tech Pros don't put the squeeze on me so much. Their "top shelf" short is a step up with better chamois, more durable, and more tight fitting in the crotch in the same size.

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    For people like me who don't like gel, lycra, leg grippers, and whatnot, the touring shorts from J & G Cyclewear can be just the ticket. They are loose enough to take care of certain needs by simply lifting the hem on one leg, and they have a little padding in the saddle area. I'd suggest buying a size up from what they suggest on the sizing chart--the waist elastic tends to be too tight otherwise. See them at http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Touring-Shorts.html

  15. #15
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elpy zee View Post
    For people like me who don't like gel, lycra, leg grippers, and whatnot, the touring shorts from J & G Cyclewear can be just the ticket. They are loose enough to take care of certain needs by simply lifting the hem on one leg, and they have a little padding in the saddle area. I'd suggest buying a size up from what they suggest on the sizing chart--the waist elastic tends to be too tight otherwise. See them at http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Touring-Shorts.html
    This is why I roll with bibs.. problem solved.
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  16. #16
    Member crosscountry08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elpy zee View Post
    For people like me who don't like gel, lycra, leg grippers, and whatnot, the touring shorts from J & G Cyclewear can be just the ticket.
    I agree! I used these shorts exclusively on my tour last summer and was happy I did. They were comfortable both on and off the bike. Didn't feel out of place walking around in stores like i would have with lycra. But the real solution to the problem is the saddle. Go with a Brooks and you can wear whatever shorts you want!

  17. #17
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    I bike short all the time, that's the way I am. Nevermind....

    Likewise have ditched the lycra and gone with padded underwear under loose fitting MTB or athletic shorts. This setup is more comfortable to ride in during warm weather, fits in socially anywhere, and makes for less stuff to wash while travelling or on tour. Not as aerodynamic as tight fitting lycra, but that isn't an issue at the speeds I usually ride anyway.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wickedcold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elpy zee View Post
    For people like me who don't like gel, lycra, leg grippers, and whatnot, the touring shorts from J & G Cyclewear can be just the ticket. They are loose enough to take care of certain needs by simply lifting the hem on one leg, and they have a little padding in the saddle area. I'd suggest buying a size up from what they suggest on the sizing chart--the waist elastic tends to be too tight otherwise. See them at http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Touring-Shorts.html
    Are these pretty lightweight? As in, will they air-dry easily?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wickedcold View Post
    Are these pretty lightweight? As in, will they air-dry easily?
    Yes to both. The "padding" is synthetic fleece, so for fastest drying turn them inside out. But I've gone for a dip before lunch, and been able to ride away after, all without taking them off.

  20. #20
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    Buy one size larger.

    Quote Originally Posted by elpy zee View Post
    For people like me who don't like gel, lycra, leg grippers, and whatnot, the touring shorts from J & G Cyclewear can be just the ticket. They are loose enough to take care of certain needs by simply lifting the hem on one leg, and they have a little padding in the saddle area. I'd suggest buying a size up from what they suggest on the sizing chart--the waist elastic tends to be too tight otherwise. See them at http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Mens-Touring-Shorts.html
    I agree with this advice to buy one size larger. I have 3 pairs of XL from 2 different orders. The first two are about 1.5 years old and fit great. The 3rd pair is new but the size is smaller with a thicker pad. I'm looking for different shorts like these if anyone knows of some. (Just my opinion but the whole "Made in Oregon" idea is pathetic. Last I checked OR is in the US.)
    '07 Bianchi Volpe with Brooks Champion Flyer saddle

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    I have been using Canari Gel Vortex Bike Shorts for my everyday touring which i bought form Direct Bargains. It works perfect for me and is very comfortable too. Normally i have two units of gel shorts for multi-day tour and won't be a problem to let one dry after being rinsed out. Synthetic Chamois are not my taste and they don't suit me.

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