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RoadKill 02-09-03 12:56 AM

How much do bike shorts REALLY help?
I, being the occasional rider that I am, have never worn a pair of bike shorts. I know if nothing else the crotch wont get caught on my seat but what I really want to know is how much do they help in keeping your rear from being sore? I can imagine they prevent chafing but how about just the soreness from sitting on the seat?

I am trying to decide if they are comfortable enough to be worth showing off my dairy aire :D


Metal Cowgal 02-09-03 01:18 AM

A sore butt means you either need a new seat, need to adjust your seat, and/or, you need to ride more. Even if you ride just a couple of times a week, the muscle butt ache goes away relatively quickly...But, if you're hopping on every couple of weeks, you'll probably continue to have sore butt syndrome (of the muscle kind).

That having been said, I'm a HUGE fan of bike shorts, even for short rides. Even for a puney 5 mile ride, I get chaffed without the padding and actually, sometimes it's hard to tell if it's butt ache or chaffing....for me, it feels kinda similar without the shorts.

A few recommendations if you're just starting to sport the short. Rules for bike short wearing:

1. Never wear undies naturale at all times
2. Always wash them after each ride
3. Don't sit around in them for hours after a ride; as soon as feasible, shower and change into something else.

As you can imagine, the reason for #2 & 3 rules is bacteria. The quicker you get the bacteria away from even slightly chaffed/inflamed skin, the less discomfort you'll have. Wearing shorts for more than one ride is begging for a fire in your pants.

I say, show off your dairy aire with pride!!!! Your butt will thank you for it and it may help transform you from an occasional to regular rider.

Dougmt 02-09-03 01:55 AM

Up until yesterday I had never ridden in bike shorts. I have however ridden miles upon miles in blue jeans :)
I got a two for one special from performance and tried them out along with my new pedals AND a new seat... I doubt I'll ever ride in blue jeans again LOL
Even though I'm a jumbo sized rider I have an ass of steel LOL... after 40 miles in blue jeans or light weight hiking pants I'd feel a little discomfort but not bad. The bike shorts are hard to explain... they don't eliminate pain per se. I guess, for me, they are like putting a lightweight leather glove on when you chop wood... your still chopping wood but it's different than doing it barehanded.

BJS2003 02-09-03 03:28 AM

I use them on longer rides. Very noticable difference after 20+ miles. :beer:

cyclezealot 02-09-03 03:35 AM

I find, if I ride 5 miles without bike shorts, it hurts more than 65 miles with.. and yes,, I remind others from another thread about this very matter...
A bike friend reports bees flew up the leg openings of baggies when he was riding with another.. Bee stings in your private areas is something to avoid.. Bike shorts do not channel wind and bees into such areas..

greg360 02-09-03 03:40 AM

Uh, Roadkill, did you see this thread in the General Discussion List?
I hope these rumors are greatly exagerated ;)

ParamountScapin 02-09-03 07:22 AM

Our distaff member with the first reply says all the right things. You may want to add some chamois butter to lubricate your moving parts if you are going for long rides. I never leave home without it (for a bike ride, that is). In fact, I ride in bib shorts as they stay up and in place much better on my body shape. Regular shorts seem to slip off my tight little bum (so my wife says). I started with some cheapo shorts, but bought an expensive pair on sale many years ago and found a BIG difference in comfort. So buy the best you can afford and treat them well. They will return the favor every time you get on your bike. And butter up, if need be.

oxologic 02-09-03 07:30 AM

Baggy shorts don't really work for me. For the first few weeks of riding more than ever, I use to wear baggy shorts. Not only do they get the wind, it gets so much wind that my shorts will like slip back towards my crotch. It wasn't at all comfortable, I had to keep pulling the shorts straight and it was really embarrassing.

With bike shorts however, there was so much more comfort. Also, you don't get the wind and there's more definition to be seen if you are lean. My butt never got sore with the bike shorts, not that my butt ever got sore with the baggy shorts. Bike shorts are definitely a plus when you wanna impress.

MadCat 02-09-03 07:35 AM

I used to tease my cycling buddy about getting his nuts caught in the ventilation hole in his seat while flying over his handle bars. I suppose bicycle shorts would help in preventing this sort of tragedy.

I used to wear cycling shorts more than I do now but I find they just too uncomfortable to be in off the bike. I stick to short 20 minute sprints around the at a time though. They're padded and cost about 40 bucks but I can't shake that diaper feeling down there. They're nice for longer ride though when I'm not climbing off my seat every 5 minutes.

Ralph 02-09-03 07:55 AM

I converted last year, and they are definitely a big help for long rides. Now I can't go back. Even short rides in regular shorts or sweat pants just don't feel right. Haven't made the step to that butter stuff though. That really sounds icky, but I suppose it beats getting saddle sores.

Do all long distance riders use that stuff? Where is the breakpoint - over 30 miles? 50 miles?

RiPHRaPH 02-09-03 07:56 AM

they don't work well at all.....if you want your butt to look slim.

Erick L 02-09-03 08:02 AM

Bike shorts are easier on the butt, but where they really help is with the inner thighs (for me, anyway).

If you're affraid about your look, you can always buy shorts with integrated 'normal' shorts but these cost more. Or, just wear normal shorts over the bike shorts.

shokhead 02-09-03 09:14 AM

BAGGY all the way.

bac 02-09-03 09:28 AM


Originally posted by Erick L
Bike shorts are easier on the butt, but where they really help is with the inner thighs (for me, anyway).
Yup - me too!

ParamountScapin 02-09-03 09:50 AM

For me, the use of chamios butter has no "break point". I always use it and haven't had a raw spot/saddle sore in several years. However, I rarely ride less than an hour, regardless of the distance. The hotter and sweatier it is, the more important I find it. Especially if I do not have the opportunity to get out of my shorts and take a shower right after a ride. And this is most weekends as I like to go to rides all over our area and they are often more than an hour away. Like the lady in the first response said, it is all about bacteria. And chamois butter has some mild anti-bacteria in it. May be icky, but better than the alternative and washes off in the shower.

RoadKill 02-09-03 10:41 AM


Originally posted by greg360
Uh, Roadkill, did you see this thread in the General Discussion List?
I hope these rumors are greatly exagerated ;)

I just saw that thread, I hope they arent talking about me! :)

I think I am convinced that I need to get myself a pair of shorts. Anybody know of any great internet deals going on? Or are shorts something that I need to try on before buying?

ParamountScapin 02-09-03 11:49 AM

Shorts are quite forgiving as far as size. I have a 34" waist and wear an L or XL. Both seem to fit equally well. Performance has a winter clearance at the moment and I find their top-of-the-line to be fine shorts. also has some good deals, but I don't know anything about the lines they sell. But, the more you spend the better you get, is my experience. So Assos and Pearl Izumi are really good, but significantly more. Try the Performance and see what you think. If you want better, then do that with your second pair.

Prosody 02-09-03 05:52 PM

I just ordered a pair of Pearl Izumi microsensor shorts from Excel Sports for about $40 less than their normal price. I've been wearing P.I. ultrasensor shorts--supposedly a step down from the microsensors-- and like them much better than the Canari shorts I started with. The chamois on the P.I. shorts is slimmer and much more comfortable than that on the Canari. Here's a link to Excel Sports:

Excel Sports

A.troll 02-09-03 07:26 PM

Forget the shorts. Au naturel is the only way to ride!

Prosody 02-09-03 08:22 PM


Originally posted by A.troll
Forget the shorts. Au naturel is the only way to ride!
It's cold out. I really wouldn't want chapped cheeks.

RoadKill 02-10-03 12:15 AM


Originally posted by A.troll
Forget the shorts. Au naturel is the only way to ride!
It is almost nice enough here to do that but I have to take this one step at a time. First, fellow riders have a chance to get used to the shape of my rear. Not until the 110 weather of the summer will they have to get used to its bleached white color.

Thanks for the link Prosody, looks like good deals on the P.I. microsensors. I think I will give them a shot.

Tarantula 02-10-03 07:00 PM

Two things:
1) it just feels good to have Lycra wrapped around one's crotch...especially after 80 or 90 miles.
2) It is good to find another "Zippy the Pin Head" fan out there...thanks Prosody

HalfHearted 02-10-03 08:01 PM

I'm just getting back into riding after years of couch potatoing. I used to ride in bluejeans or walking shorts and a t-shirt (and no helmet, we're talking almost 20 years ago, helmets were available but they were for racers and fairies ;) ). I don't think I ever did a century but I did a number of back-to-back 50-60 mile rides and I don't recall ever having a problem with chafing or anything.

I may get some flashy jerseys and a pretty yellow helmet, but I think I'll do the public a favor and not pack my plump backside into skin-tight Lycra for at least a year ;)


Metal Cowgal 02-10-03 08:07 PM


I say do YOURSELF a favor and put your chubby butt in a pair of lycra!! Beyond the chafing issue, they are just so much more comfortable than any other pant/short for the long haul. I'm a chubby gal and wear mine with pride!

cyclezealot 02-10-03 08:29 PM

Halfheared.. It won't take you a full year to tone up, if you watch your diet.. With luck, no more than a half year... If you get saddle sores- you won't make it..
I still get the ocassional water blister- but not too often considering the kind of miles I do..

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