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high-end shorts worth it for 100 km + rides?

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high-end shorts worth it for 100 km + rides?

Old 08-26-20, 11:03 PM
  #1  
el forestero
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high-end shorts worth it for 100 km + rides?

My usual range limit is about 100 to 120 km in a day, though I'll occasionally do centuries or more. I commonly ride that 100 to 120 km distance twice a week and do a couple more rides per week of up to half that length. I've been wearing Santic $30 shorts. Things can get a bit uncomfortable in my nether regions by the last quarter of a ride, sometimes to the point where I try to sit as little as possible.

Given the above, is it worth dropping two, three or four times as much moolah for high-end shorts by Pearl Izumi, Shimano or some other brand for a better experience? Is the quality of the padding superior enough that I'll likely notice being less sore toward the end of a ride? And if so, will the padding still be superior in a few weeks or months after I've put a few hundred or a few thousand km on it? (How often will I likely need to shell out that kind of change to stay more comfortable than I am in cheap shorts?)

I read very mixed reviews on amazon.com about Pearl Izumi's current line of shorts, but the reviews are generally glowing on amazon.co.jp, and the product line seems to be different here in Japan. Any other brands you folks would recommend?

This is what I've been riding in: https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B01M6DN0QB
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Old 08-27-20, 12:45 AM
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Dean V
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Are you using chamois cream?
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Old 08-27-20, 01:33 AM
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el forestero
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
Are you using chamois cream?
No.
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Old 08-27-20, 02:00 AM
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What is high end to you?

I have decent Gore ones, so not cheap, but for sure you can go twice as expensive as them easily if you want. Even Gore themselves have higher models. And yet I have 0 issue with mine.

I think any pain to do with sitting, is either a wrong saddle for you or wrong position. Beginning of the year after not cycling for a long time, even half an hour rides hurt like hell. The more you ride, the more you get used to it.
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Old 08-27-20, 03:16 AM
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Dean V
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
No.
Using some on your longer rides would be a good idea.
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Old 08-27-20, 05:07 AM
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As long as the shorts themselves aren't causing a problem (eg padding in the wrong places rubbing you raw), I would look at the position and the saddle itself also.

I've ridden long distances in anything from a trisuit with very minimalistic padding - to cheap Decathlon bike shorts (at a bit under $10, great value) with thin foam padding, as well as some more expensive roadsuits with more elaborate padding. Only in the trisuit I feel the sit bones being a bit sore by the end of it, and you kind of wish that it was just a bit cushier on long rides. Cheap bike shorts already work perfectly fine for a 200km+ ride, though. When I last tried fiddling with the seat height and setback, however, I got discomfort even in my best padded clothes after only half a hour of going hard.

Cream can help, especially if something is getting rubbed (rather than squashed / pressed) and is worth trying.
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Old 08-27-20, 05:26 AM
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I was late to even join the padded shorts world for cycling and then generally bought low end shorts from the Nashbars of the world. Never had rear end pain but on century rides or multi day 60+ days would start to feel it. On those longer rides I would use vaseline or chamois cream - the pain wasn't rubbing it was just pressure.

3 years ago there was a sale on Garneau CB 2 shorts that list at $149 and were 50% off - so I ordered a pair and tried them on 30 - 50 mile rides and thought "Hah - no difference" But then I did the Seattle to Portland ride and had a 123 mile first day and an 83 mile second day - and had none of the usual long ride rear end pain. The padding is definitely superior, just seems to cover more, and fit better. I became a fan and have found they are lasting longer than my cheap ones did, too. Added a backup pair on the next sale.

Garneau says their supply chain rain dry for them but production has started up again - haven't been any sales for while but maybe by northern hemisphere winter time.

I now tend to wear my cheapy shorts on the short rides and the expensive ones on the long rides

Last edited by jpescatore; 09-01-20 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 08-27-20, 06:45 AM
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Andy Somnifac
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I find good quality bibs make a difference for me at around the 90-minute mark outside (less inside). Shorter rides I can get away with any discount el-cheapo kit that I pull out of the drawer.

I'm of the opinion that it's worth spending the money on the contact points between you and the bike: Shoes/Pedals, Bibs/Saddle, Gloves/Bar wrap.
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Old 08-27-20, 06:55 AM
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I've done 8+ hours in Castelli Free Aero Race bibs with no discomfort at all (other than my tired legs lol), and no chamois cream. As always, ymmv.
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Old 08-27-20, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
My usual range limit is about 100 to 120 km in a day, though I'll occasionally do centuries or more. I commonly ride that 100 to 120 km distance twice a week and do a couple more rides per week of up to half that length. I've been wearing Santic $30 shorts. Things can get a bit uncomfortable in my nether regions by the last quarter of a ride, sometimes to the point where I try to sit as little as possible.

Given the above, is it worth dropping two, three or four times as much moolah for high-end shorts by Pearl Izumi, Shimano or some other brand for a better experience? Is the quality of the padding superior enough that I'll likely notice being less sore toward the end of a ride? And if so, will the padding still be superior in a few weeks or months after I've put a few hundred or a few thousand km on it? (How often will I likely need to shell out that kind of change to stay more comfortable than I am in cheap shorts?)

I read very mixed reviews on amazon.com about Pearl Izumi's current line of shorts, but the reviews are generally glowing on amazon.co.jp, and the product line seems to be different here in Japan. Any other brands you folks would recommend?

This is what I've been riding in: https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B01M6DN0QB
ask this question around the 80th kilometer
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Old 08-27-20, 07:44 AM
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Juan Foote
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As a guy who really loved the Performance Bike Elite level of shorts....bought a good set of bibs and really enjoyed them.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:43 AM
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Absolutely, I have Santic longs for fall/early spring rides but those rides are no longer than 35 miles. For intervals or 100km + rides the 100 buck plus Pearl Izumi shorts come out every time. Big difference.
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Old 08-27-20, 09:44 AM
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I did 2 100k rides the first with a pair to Prezwalski (amazon) bibs and the second with a pair of The Black Bibs, I definitely felt better the second time out with the better quality bib

Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
My usual range limit is about 100 to 120 km in a day, though I'll occasionally do centuries or more. I commonly ride that 100 to 120 km distance twice a week and do a couple more rides per week of up to half that length. I've been wearing Santic $30 shorts. Things can get a bit uncomfortable in my nether regions by the last quarter of a ride, sometimes to the point where I try to sit as little as possible.

Given the above, is it worth dropping two, three or four times as much moolah for high-end shorts by Pearl Izumi, Shimano or some other brand for a better experience? Is the quality of the padding superior enough that I'll likely notice being less sore toward the end of a ride? And if so, will the padding still be superior in a few weeks or months after I've put a few hundred or a few thousand km on it? (How often will I likely need to shell out that kind of change to stay more comfortable than I am in cheap shorts?)

I read very mixed reviews on amazon.com about Pearl Izumi's current line of shorts, but the reviews are generally glowing on amazon.co.jp, and the product line seems to be different here in Japan. Any other brands you folks would recommend?

This is what I've been riding in: https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B01M6DN0QB
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Old 08-27-20, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
Given the above, is it worth dropping two, three or four times as much moolah for high-end shorts by Pearl Izumi, Shimano...
I have 3-4 pairs of Pearl Izumi Elite bib shorts in rotation (maybe $110 each), and one pair with over 500 rides and still going strong (cold wash, line dry, always). I wouldn't (and don't) buy anything else. If you want "high end" and want to spend 10x -12x more than your $30 shorts, look at Assos.com
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Old 08-27-20, 10:39 AM
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I think it's worth trying a pair of high-end bibs/shorts. Some people love them. Other say not much of a difference. My feeling is that for shorter rides of 3 hours or less, it matters less...but the longer the ride, the more I appreciate the better quality ones. But everyone's experience is different.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:44 AM
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I have the Santic shorts. I hate the Santic shorts, with an unbridled passion. I bought them because I snagged my previous (pearl Izumi, I think) shorts on a rental Roubaix, and wanted something quick for the next weekend. After one 80km ride, the padding felt like a diaper, and the fit between my waist, hips and legs was completely off. The waistband fit ok (though I didnít like the style), the hips/seat bunched, and the leg and grippers felt loose. A couple more washes and a couple more 80km rides later and Iíd had enough. I purchased two more entry level Pearl Izumi shorts, which might appear simpler from a pad perspective, are actually much more comfortable.

I recently started riding with a pair of Biemme bibs on my longer rides (50km or longer), and while I donít get the hoopla around the straps, the shorts themselves are a nicer material than the Pearls - smoother and a bit more fluid on the body, and interfaces better with my Prologo saddle, which the Pearls are just a bit too grippy on. The pad is also more ergonomic - itís what the Santic was going for in appearance, but then got so incredibly wrong on execution.

I hate my Santics so much that I wonít ever try any other Amazon cycling gear - and this is from a guy who was happy with the value and comfort of Performance branded jerseys and shorts for over a decade. So yes, if you can swing it, good cycling gear is better, but you can definitely find decent, reasonably priced gear as well. I just donít think Santic fits that descriptor.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
M

Given the above, is it worth dropping two, three or four times as much moolah for high-end shorts by Pearl Izumi, Shimano or some other brand for a better experience?
Yes, although I wasn't happy when I tried modern PI shorts.

Stiffer foam like the 120 kg/m^3 in the Elastic Interface Technology Comp HP pad used in many Voler shorts puts less pressure on your soft tissues. EIC provides pads for a lot of other premium shorts including Assos and Rapha.

Try a pair from voler.com - they have a 90 day no questions asked return policy. IIRC current price is ~$120 for shorts and $140 bibs.

I like them for all-day 200 mile rides.




Is the quality of the padding superior enough that I'll likely notice being less sore toward the end of a ride?
Yes.

And if so, will the padding still be superior in a few weeks or months after I've put a few hundred or a few thousand km on it? (How often will I likely need to shell out that kind of change to stay more comfortable than I am in cheap shorts?)
Yes. Your shorts will turn transparent before you wear out the pad. That may take much longer than cheap shorts - I didn't get a season out of some Performance store brand shorts worn and washed once a week.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-27-20 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:27 PM
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RedWhite The Bib from Singapore https://www.redwhite.cc/collections/fondo-bibshorts
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Old 08-27-20, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
I will second ^ these. Great fitting comfortable bibs.
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Old 08-28-20, 01:07 AM
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el forestero
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
What is high end to you?
My cap would be in the $100 to $125 range.
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Old 08-28-20, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
Using some on your longer rides would be a good idea.
Thanks for the advice. Will give it a shot. Any particular one you recommend?
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Old 08-28-20, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
Thanks for the advice. Will give it a shot. Any particular one you recommend?
Sorry, no. I am in New Zealand and the stuff I use is just for the local market.
I am sure some others will have recommendations.
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Old 08-28-20, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
Thanks for the advice. Will give it a shot. Any particular one you recommend?
I haven't found any difference between chamois cream and hand cream.

Here's what I use:
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Old 08-28-20, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by el forestero View Post
My cap would be in the $100 to $125 range.
So I would say no, mine cost maybe 60 converted, were on offer, as I said are more mid range but are fantastic, they sit well, they don't press against my stomach, the padding is great.
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Old 08-28-20, 05:10 AM
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I have a pair of Assos bib shorts that I paid $160 for. They were listed for $230. I have never paid that much, but I have very much appreciated that I did. The pair I have have a great chamois. And they are great in the front, providing a snug fit, meaning that they never get caught on the saddle and don't require my constant adjusting myself. I'd recommend them. The most I ever paid before was about $70.
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