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Cycling shorts I'm considering buying--but feel awkward when walking/standing

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Cycling shorts I'm considering buying--but feel awkward when walking/standing

Old 07-19-18, 01:13 PM
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DTownDave22
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Cycling shorts I'm considering buying--but feel awkward when walking/standing

Any experience with bike shorts that seemed like the padding was a bit too thick and felt awkward when walking around but when riding on them, they worked out just fine, maybe even great? I am referring specifically to the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape men's cycling shorts (not bibs). See second post below if you want any more details.
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Old 07-19-18, 01:14 PM
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So, when it comes to various bike-related items, where I live is not the best place to purchase them in-store--I literally had two people pass me closely on the road today--but that's a different story. I buy a few higher end items here and there, but don’t have a lot of expendable income to just splurge on something and hope it works out. I want to have a better idea that it’s more likely to work than not.

Any experience with cycling shorts even better if you are familiar with the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape men’s cycling shorts (not bibs--see below for why I'm hesitant about bibs), that you were on the fence about when you tried them on/not on the bike, but worked/work out fine when riding? The padding seems a bit big and semi-awkward when walking--like an "Oops, I pooped my pants" feeling.

People are different with their dimensions, preferences, etc. I'd prefer to not have an under layer under the bibs (at least in the hot and humid weather) and some bibs I've tried on as I can't justify spending that $ when they go over my nipples and having more sensitive skin. Other bibs seemed like a guy passed me, and my punishment was a giant wedgie--that's what it felt like walking in them (perhaps it was made more noticeable by wearing boxer briefs to try them on).

Thanks!
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Old 07-19-18, 01:32 PM
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if these are your 1st bike shorts, then welcome to cycling shorts. personally I use thin lined, trishorts under unlined MTB shorts

also, you don't wear regular underwear under cycling shorts or bibs, except for trying them on in a store
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Old 07-19-18, 01:45 PM
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Everyone feels awkward at first with padded shorts. You'll get accustomed to it. The comfort advantage while riding offsets how they feel and look when you're off the bike.

There are shorts with thinner padding, and the old style merino wool shorts had very thin leather chamois pads. But to be honest they all look pretty much the same externally. Wearing unpadded tight shorts would look even more peculiar for some folks, depending on modesty vs tolerances for the human body.

But the main advantage to padded shorts is for firm saddles, especially on a typical road bike. That's the only bike I ride with padded shorts. My hybrids have padded saddles and I just wear ordinary baggy shorts, jeans, whatever. With breathable Lycra fabric over foam saddles the padding serves the same purpose as padded shorts, and those types of saddles can be very comfortable in summer on hybrids and more upright comfort cruisers.
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Old 07-19-18, 01:47 PM
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Well, they're not meant to be walked around in too much so, yeah, they'll feel a bit awkward at first. I was a "no bibs" guy for awhile too but I swear by them now. I'm not svelte enough to not have cycling shorts "roll" at the top and bibs stop that from happening. I only wear a base layer when it's super hot out too (as it helps with heat dissipation).

That being said, bibs (and shorts) are all different. Some (*cough*Castelli*cough*) believe all men have incredibly short torsos and that makes it very uncomfortable for me. Trial and error, unfortunately.

But the weird feeling in shorts when NOT riding will go away with experience. I mean, it'll still feel a bit awkward but you'll be used to it. Hopefully it's only when you get off the bike to order an espresso and sit down with your friends at the cafe
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Old 07-19-18, 02:03 PM
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Any chance your shorts are too large? I have a pair of bibs that are larger than the rest of my collection, and I get that bunched and uncomfortable feeling from the chamois when wearing them.
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Old 07-19-18, 02:05 PM
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Once I started wearing boxer briefs, I found riding in regular shorts was fine for rides up to a couple hours. My bibs almost seem like overkill now, at least for short rides.

But for spending all day on the bike you need definitely padded shorts, no question. The more expensive, the better, as a general rule. But it gets really tough for me to justify buying anything over $100, regardless of how good it is. Are $300 shorts 3x better than $100 shorts? Of course not. So there definitely is a point of diminishing returns here.
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Old 07-19-18, 06:40 PM
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When I first started wearing padded shorts, I felt like I was walking around with a giant, oops-I-crapped-my-pants diaper *and* that it looked like this to everyone else.

Like others have said, the awkward feeling goes away with time. I've even comfortably worn chamois to a few work meetings, under my normal clothes.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:45 PM
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The chamois in bike shorts come in a wide range of thicknesses. The traditional leather chamois is very thin, and doesn't give that "adult diaper" look. Some synthetic chamois are also quite thin, but this isn't generally specified in on-line descriptions, so seeing the shorts in-person at your LBS is often the only way to identify these.

My experience is that you don't really need a thick padded chamois if you have a good saddle. My preference is for suspended leather saddles like the Brooks "Professional" rather than the modern carbon-fiber shingles that may require padding in the shorts to be comfortable.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:52 PM
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The triathlon shorts from Aerotech Designs have a relatively thin yet very comfortable (for me) chamois. They are specifically designed to dry quickly and I find them to be an excellent product especially in hot weather. YMMV. And, made in USA.
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Old 07-20-18, 06:24 AM
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To answer your question, yes! It feels odd to me walking around with the thick pad. In addition I find that a thick pad does more harm than good as the thick pad causes unwelcome pressure for me. Your experience may be different!

I have gone to tri suits/shorts with very thin synthetic pads or my favorite which is the traditional wool and chamois which I get from Kucharick. Does anyone know of another (less expensive) source for traditional wool shorts?
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Old 07-20-18, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
if these are your 1st bike shorts, then welcome to cycling shorts. personally I use thin lined, trishorts under unlined MTB shorts

also, you don't wear regular underwear under cycling shorts or bibs, except for trying them on in a store
I've three bike shorts and they've all quite a bit of use on them but still not bad overall. Does this overview generally match why you go with tri shorts? https://www.active.com/triathlon/art...vs-bike-shorts

Also, I found out on BF that bike shorts are not designed to be worn with bike shorts. Not sure there is any type of material that specifies this.
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Old 07-20-18, 12:49 PM
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Welcome to cycling logic. You can get 1000s of replys not to buy a saddle with too much padding because of your sit bones or to reduce saddle weight but wear padding in our shorts. Got to spend time on Willie's bus to make that make sense.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat
Everyone feels awkward at first with padded shorts. You'll get accustomed to it. The comfort advantage while riding offsets how they feel and look when you're off the bike.

There are shorts with thinner padding, and the old style merino wool shorts had very thin leather chamois pads. But to be honest they all look pretty much the same externally. Wearing unpadded tight shorts would look even more peculiar for some folks, depending on modesty vs tolerances for the human body.

But the main advantage to padded shorts is for firm saddles, especially on a typical road bike. That's the only bike I ride with padded shorts. My hybrids have padded saddles and I just wear ordinary baggy shorts, jeans, whatever. With breathable Lycra fabric over foam saddles the padding serves the same purpose as padded shorts, and those types of saddles can be very comfortable in summer on hybrids and more upright comfort cruisers.
These are not my first bike shorts with padding. The padding is one of P.I,'s thickest though I believe. I'm hoping I might but I'd prefer to be sold on them before deciding to keep them.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by evchon
Well, they're not meant to be walked around in too much so, yeah, they'll feel a bit awkward at first. I was a "no bibs" guy for awhile too but I swear by them now. I'm not svelte enough to not have cycling shorts "roll" at the top and bibs stop that from happening. I only wear a base layer when it's super hot out too (as it helps with heat dissipation).

That being said, bibs (and shorts) are all different. Some (*cough*Castelli*cough*) believe all men have incredibly short torsos and that makes it very uncomfortable for me. Trial and error, unfortunately.

But the weird feeling in shorts when NOT riding will go away with experience. I mean, it'll still feel a bit awkward but you'll be used to it. Hopefully it's only when you get off the bike to order an espresso and sit down with your friends at the cafe
I think Castelli bibs I liked the fit and comfort except I recall reading about how the quality was claimed to be inconsistent and with my income, I thought about taking the risk, but bib shorts can run expensive if not on sale..unless I'm mixing up another brand. They tend to have more unique and exotic person and person-like names (Louis Garneau, Pearl Izumi, Castelli, Assos).

Not sure I understand about a base layer when it's hotter. You wear one top layer, and it's under the bib straps?
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Old 07-20-18, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DTownDave22

Any experience with cycling shorts even better if you are familiar with the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape menís cycling shorts (not bibs--see below for why I'm hesitant about bibs), that you were on the fence about when you tried them on/not on the bike, but worked/work out fine when riding?
I have a hard time keeping the different PI models apart. But the "orange" chamois (Elite Escape 1:1) I find too thick, and the "blue" one (Select Escape 1:1) works much better for me.

scott s.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by surak
Any chance your shorts are too large? I have a pair of bibs that are larger than the rest of my collection, and I get that bunched and uncomfortable feeling from the chamois when wearing them.
Not sure that's too likely but my upper arms and arms overall are like small branches while my legs and upper legs are like small tree trunks. My posterior is not too big or large or on the flat side, either (like Louis C.K.)

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Old 07-20-18, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte
Once I started wearing boxer briefs, I found riding in regular shorts was fine for rides up to a couple hours. My bibs almost seem like overkill now, at least for short rides.

But for spending all day on the bike you need definitely padded shorts, no question. The more expensive, the better, as a general rule. But it gets really tough for me to justify buying anything over $100, regardless of how good it is. Are $300 shorts 3x better than $100 shorts? Of course not. So there definitely is a point of diminishing returns here.
Yes, I notice a difference when on the saddle for the better part of 3 1/2 to 4 hours and not wearing padded shorts as I've rarely done, so that's why I'm probably due for some new shorts in the not-too-distant future.
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Old 07-20-18, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DTownDave22
Any experience with bike shorts that seemed like the padding was a bit too thick and felt awkward when walking around but when riding on them, they worked out just fine, maybe even great? I am referring specifically to the Pearl Izumi Elite Escape men's cycling shorts (not bibs). See second post below if you want any more details.
Yes, my favorite shorts to spend long days in the saddle wearing feel a little awkward off the bike.
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Old 07-20-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DTownDave22
These are not my first bike shorts with padding. The padding is one of P.I,'s thickest though I believe. I'm hoping I might but I'd prefer to be sold on them before deciding to keep them.
If the shorts fit properly I'd say keep 'em. If you're like most of us you'll occasionally have days when the butt bones feels a bit bruised, like they're on the verge of a saddle sore. Keep the extra padded shorts for those days.

I have a pair of Pearl Izumi liner shorts for mountain bike baggies. The PI liner padding is thicker than I'd normally prefer, but I like 'em when my road bike is on the indoor trainer. I tend to sit more heavily in the saddle on the trainer because there are no bumps or chipseal to motivate me to support more of my weight on my legs and arms. So with thinner shorts I was getting some tenderness after long sessions on the indoor trainer. Now that I'm using the PI shorts with thicker padding, no more tenderness. Then I switch to my AeroTech Pro shorts with minimal padding for actual road rides.

Originally Posted by DTownDave22
...Not sure I understand about a base layer when it's hotter. You wear one top layer, and it's under the bib straps?
That's the theory. Especially for folks with tender nipples or, like me, lots of moles that get rubbed raw.

I really like my Pearl Izumi Transfer sleeveless baselayer with their fancypants "minerale" fabric. It's slightly spongy, very soft and stretchy, yet fits fairly snugly. Best wicking fabric I've ever worn, winter or summer, even better than merino wool. I cannot make the stuff stink. I'm not kidding, I've worn it for two week straights, including sweaty rides indoors on the trainer or outdoors, and worn it to bed, taking it off only to shower. That fabric refuses to pick up any body odor. I've never seen anything like it before. Probably why it costs so much.

Recently Amazon notified me of a short sleeve PI Transfer baselayer in white for only $16. Seemed like a bargain so I clicked buy without reviewing it carefully. Unfortunately it turned out to be a completely different fabric. This is the new (as of spring 2018), Pursuit lineup. The short sleeve baselayer is a laminated fabric, with open mesh over an ultra-thin translucent smooth inner liner -- not the single layer woven material like the minerale fabric. It doesn't stretch and is form fitting, not merely snug -- it hurt like hell putting it on and taking it off, because I'm still recovering from shoulder injuries (I was hit by a car in May). It doesn't wick as effectively as the minerale fabric, and tended to feel soggy after a 40 minute indoor trainer session.

And it retained body odors immediately -- I had to wash it after one wearing. On the plus side any odor washed out easily with hand washing in gentle detergent for wool -- no special enzymes. And it dried very quickly hanging on my shower curtain rod.

But for only $16 I'll keep it, or maybe give it to a friend who's a little smaller and could probably use it.

tl;dr version -- Look for an older style Pearl Izumi Transfer base layer with the "minerale" fabric. Very important. Don't bother with any other base layer fabric. It'll cost around $30 discounted and worth every penny. Occasionally Nashbar has 'em.
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Old 07-20-18, 04:51 PM
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BTW, regarding the whole tighty shorts aesthetic...

Yesterday I joined a group ride with about 50 cyclists of all ages and body shapes. Maybe I'm just accustomed to the look, but... dang, almost everybody who's even remotely fit looks great in cycling shorts. You really don't notice the padding, although you can feel it on your body. But for reasonably fit people, even if they're a bit overweight, cycling shorts are remarkably flattering. Probably because even for overweight cyclists their legs and butts are really toned. Just ignore the gut pudge. Please. We're working on it.
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Old 07-20-18, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman
Welcome to cycling logic. You can get 1000s of replys not to buy a saddle with too much padding because of your sit bones or to reduce saddle weight but wear padding in our shorts. Got to spend time on Willie's bus to make that make sense.
Where is a difference. Cycling shorts are supposed to be tight and move together with your body. Seat, however, is a separate part, against which your body moves and rubs. BTW, this is probably also the reason why more spacious cycling shorts are more uncomfortable - they detach from your body and start acting separately, pretty much the same as just a pad thrown upon a saddle.
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Old 07-20-18, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar
Where is a difference. Cycling shorts are supposed to be tight and move together with your body. Seat, however, is a separate part, against which your body moves and rubs. BTW, this is probably also the reason why more spacious cycling shorts are more uncomfortable - they detach from your body and start acting separately, pretty much the same as just a pad thrown upon a saddle.
That's what orginal was. A chamois. For protection against chafing not a padding.
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Old 07-20-18, 11:31 PM
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I'm about to try these. They are relatively cheap, and have ergo pockets so I can wear normal t shirts with them


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Old 07-22-18, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DTownDave22
Does this overview generally match why you go with tri shorts?
yes but I would add that they can be worn under any casual or gym shorts like underwear to suit your fashion desires. don't know what you mean by can't wear cycling shorts under cycling shorts. this combination is what I use a lot

Zoot SPORTS Men's Performance Tri 8-Inch Short (size XXL for my 38" waist)

under these Zoic shorts (w/o the Zoic liners)

ZOIC Ether Cycling Shorts (also XXL)

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