Cycling shorts are perhaps the most important purchase you make for your bike, aside from its key components and your helmet.
When upgrading your bike, we always recommend prioritizing the “contact points”. There is no more important contact point than the place where your back meets your bike seat.
Anyone who spends a lot of time riding a bicycle needs to have cycling shorts. Good cycling shorts can prevent saddle sores and reduce chafing. They also make cycling much more enjoyable. The right cycling gear will make you more responsive and safer while riding, and allow you to concentrate on the road ahead.
Shorts for cycling, triathlon, and compression have some commonalities. They are almost like cousins. They are however fundamentally different in some important ways. The first and most important difference is that cycling shorts don’t have padding in the seat. They are made with enough space to store this padding and allow you to ride your bike for hours. Cycling shorts sacrifice some compression engineering for comfort, especially in the crotch, and on the thighs. Comfortable cycling shorts can make it possible for riders to ride 100 miles without feeling tired.
KEY FEATURES FOR THE BEST BIKE SHORTS
There are many types of cycling shorts. They can be basic or high-end, and they are suitable for beginners and shorter rides. Or they can be more technical and designed for advanced training and serious adventures. There is no one-size fits all solution for cycling shorts. This is especially true when you consider your budget. However, there are some key points to remember when choosing shorts for your bike. This article will discuss specific shorts recommendations.
- Made for the Right Purpose . When shopping for bike shorts, the first thing to do is ensure that you buy shorts that are appropriate for your purpose. Some shorts can be made longer.
How comfortable you ride will depend on the quality of your chamois pad.
Some are made for mountain biking while others are for road racing. Others are more suitable for endurance riding. Triathlon shorts are another animal, and are designed for swimming/bike/running. Below, we will highlight our top picks in each category as well as some great all-purpose shorts that can serve multiple purposes.
- Construction Quality. Your cycling shorts should be built well. Good cycling shorts should be made from durable material and suited to your intended purpose. Strong stitching will ensure that the shorts can withstand many washings and wear cycles. However, it should feel flat against your skin.
- Seat Pad. The seat pads are usually woven into the area where the shorts meet the saddle. They are often made from chamois. Chamois, a napped cotton/flannel blend acts almost like a moleskin on your bottom. It reduces friction between your body&the bike seat. The chamois pad is perhaps the most important part of keeping you comfortable while riding long distances. Good seat paying will have minimal seams, seamless stitching in the pants, and enough cushion to keep your comfortable. To reduce friction, some cyclists add chamois cream to their shorts. If you don’t really have to, we recommend not doing that goopy step. Most cyclists don’t. Make sure your seat is comfortable enough to allow you to ride long
distances. Studies have shown that a good bike seat and a good pad can provide significant comfort benefits.
- Leg Grips. Leg grips are an area where cheap bike shorts can be seen as inferior. Bad leg grips can quickly lead to you throwing your cycling shorts away. Think about a rough or scratchy leg grip. It rubs you the wrong way and your leg moves up and down 50 feet per minute. You need good grips. Good leg grips will have enough elastic to last for many rides. However, they will feel completely smooth and not be abrasive.
- Shorts Features. There are many options, and features are mostly a matter personal preference. A short of at least 8 inches in length is recommended. This provides greater protection from the sun and extra armor in the event you get caught up with another cyclist or tree. A minimum of one pocket is a good idea, but we recommend at least two. You can use this pocket to carry gel packs, litter bags, or just keep a few dollars in case of an emergency. You can also choose to have a bib style and the design. Black shorts are a common choice for cyclists. But, others prefer to dress up their bike with something more colorful.
- Comfort. This is not an afterthought, it’s the most important point. You should ensure that you choose shorts that you are comfortable with. You can have a pair of shorts that feel great for one person, but not for another. The fit, thickness, and placement of the pad, as well as tightness of the leg grippers and the quality of the stitching, all of these factors will affect how comfortable the shorts are for you. Many experienced cyclists recommend that you try several different styles of shorts and then purchase the same model over and over again. You will also feel safer if your shorts are comfortable. While cycling has its risks, being comfortable and focused on the road can help you to be more healthy and mentally alert .
WHAT TO LOOK AT IN YOUR CYCLING SHORTS
7 TOP CYCLING SHORTIES
Okay, enough with the tutorial. You are here because you want to find recommendations.
Here are our top picks for cycling shorts, based on past experience. We don’t include bib-style shorts, which may be used by a hardcore cyclist, but are not generally used by weekend athletes. We aim to make recommendations that are both affordable and suitable for your intended purpose.
Pearl Izumi Attack Cycling Shorts
Best All-Around Value
Our most loved bike short. The Izumi Attack Cycling short is made by PI, which is why it’s our favourite gear. The Attacks have been made for many years by the same people who created them. This is a sign that they know what cyclists want.
The Pearl Izumi gear is more comfortable than other high-end shorts that are too stiff and can feel too hard. Flatlock seams keep chafing away and the seamless chamois pad is very comfortable for most athletes. You can get more expensive PI shorts but they are still very comfortable for most people. These shorts are great indoors and outdoors.
Castelli Free Aero Race Shorts
The Best for Long Rides and Centuries.
These shorts can be very expensive. These shorts may not be for you if you have a tight budget. If you’re willing to cut costs, however,
Castelli Free Aero shorts will save you $150 on your cycling shorts. They are as durable and comfortable as they come. The 4th generation Aero Race shorts have a wide area leg gripper that allows the tension to spread over most of the thigh, so it is barely noticeable.
They are firm enough to keep cyclists comfortable on long rides. There is no seam between the legs so they won’t chafe with any body type. Castelli’s are more suited for racers, long-distance and time-trialers. Castelli Aeros may not suit you if your main riding is on a mountainbike or leisure. Castelli Aeros are the best choice for long rides. Castelli Aeros are the first thing we reach for when riding more than two hours. These are the first ones we reach for when riding more than 2 hours.
Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 3D Shorts
For a stylish and comfortable short that won’t break the bank we love the Fit Sensor by Garneau. Garneau or LG, as it’s known in many circles is, focuses on cycling gear. They tend to place our high-quality products. Louis Garneau, a Canadian cyclist and racer from the 80s, is a real person. He first started a line for cycling gear in his dad’s garage. The Fit Sensors shorts offer both a seamless inner leg and a 10-panel pad. They are the most affordable in this price range. We love LG’s durability over time. This is something that you may not see in reviews as many are written within the first few months. Garneau’s bike shorts are exactly the same quality as their snowshoes and tri gear. Long distance riders who regularly ride 25 miles or more. These shorts are a favourite with female
The In-Rool Pro shorts
Pearl Izumi In-R-Cool Pro Shorts
There might be a common theme. We like Pearl Izumi. PI was originally developed in Japan and moved to the USA many decades ago. Since then, PI has made great gear for cycling and a great workout year. The In-R-Cool Shorts are not for the faint-hearted. They follow a line of In-R-Cool products from Pearl Izumi which really stand out and are well worth the money. The fabric is strong and has leg grips and high-end stitching. But what really sets these shorts apart is the cooling fabric that the company calls Minerale. It transfers heat out and keeps skin dry. The fit is excellent for all sizes, and the chamois pads lasts a very long time. These are a snug fit, so if you’re on the line, we recommend a larger size. While you might not like spending $150 on shorts, if you are on the line,
these will fit you better. available here on Amazon
Sugoi Fitness Baggy Jeans
Sometimes, you don’t need to wear form-fitting shorts while cycling. Maybe you’d rather ride to an open-air mall, community picnic or walk.
As regular shorts
If you don’t like the idea of being in tight spandex, then this is not the style for you. If you don’t want to wear traditional cycling gear, these are the shorts you need. Sugoi is a trusted manufacturer of fitness, triathlon and cycling gear. They have a wide range of shorts. We love the Fitness Baggy shorts. The Pace shorts don’t have the same form-fitting spandex as you would wear on a roadbike, but are looser shorts with padding that can be used for off-road riding or leisure rides. Sugoi has added two pockets to these shorts. They also use high-quality elastine and a comfortable seat pad. They are a bit short …., but we wish they were longer. Amazon.
Pearl Izumi Escape Quest Shorts
We understand that not everyone wants to buy high-end cycling shorts. You might be on a tight budget or just want a few quality, clean shorts. The Pearl Izumi Escape Quest shortstower is the best value shorts around, at $50 or less.
Escape Quest shorts are a great choice because they don’t have any frills. They come in a basic black-onblack design with a few color options (we love the neon yellow for road cyclists), but what is important is comfort. We have a great reputation for Pearl Izumi’s construction quality and durability so we are happy to recommend them to anyone. Available on Amazon.
For more serious riders, bibs are a great option.
Castelli Endurance Shorts
A list without bib shorts is incomplete.
You want to combine the best of both compression gear and cycling shorts? Castelli allows you to do this with their Inferno compression bib. While bibs can be a significant investment in your cycling gear, they are also a great choice for riders who want to wear bibs on longer, more challenging rides. Bibs offer more coverage and are more comfortable. They also prevent irritation at the waistline from shorts that have elastic. Castelli uses the same paneling as we use in compression gear and wetsuits. This allows for maximum range-of motion and temperature management. We love the Endurance model. These bibs are very form-fitting and have compression properties. Ideal for…Hardcore riders looking to ride longer distances or do time trials. Hot weather riders. People with a healthy
income. You can find on Amazon.
WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING SHORTS SHOULD I BUY?
The amount you spend on cycling shorts will depend on your plans, your skill level and your budget. It is always a good idea to spend a bit more. Quality construction is important. If you cut corners, you may end up spending more over the long-term because your shorts will wear out faster. If you reach the $50 price range, like the Pearl Izumi Quest listed above, you will be able to buy good quality shorts.
You can go up to $80 for the next level of comfort and quality, especially when you are riding long distances. If your ride lasts 90 minutes or 20 miles, you don’t need to spend more. If you are looking to ride fast with a group or tackle long distance rides (50 and 100 miles), then you might consider buying bibs or shorts with higher ends.
ROAD BIKING VERSUS MOUNTAIN BIKE SHORT
Mountain Bike shorts like these from REI are a bit bulkier and heavier than normal, but offer protection.
Common question is whether the same shorts can be used for mountain biking and road cycling. The short answer to this question is no. This review focuses more on road biking, which includes time trials and triathlon training. These shorts might be great for mountain biking, and may even work well on a trail ride on a road-like path. However, mountain bike shorts are an entirely different breed. These shorts are typically more baggier and have many layers, with the outer part fitting tighter and the outside letting loose.
Mountain bike shorts are often equipped with a removable chamois lining that can be cleaned and changed. Mountain bike shorts are stronger because you have a higher chance of falling. Even if you do not fall, you are likely to rub and scrape on things you don’t want. >Patagonia’s Dirt Craft mountain bike shorts is a good example of a quality standard mountain bike short. These shorts are more fitted than they are form-fitting but still offer the same padding as a mountain bike.
DO YOU WEAR UNDERWEAR UNDER YOUR BIKE SHORTS
No. It is not only not advised, but also not the way that cycling shorts are intended to be worn. Underwear worn under bike shorts or cycling gear will negate the benefits you’re paying for. The lycra and elasticane are meant to be snug against your skin. They should also fit flat without bunching. Your skin will rub against the underwear, causing it to bunch up and cause chafing. The seat pad should be in direct contact with your skin. It will provide the perfect anti-chafing surface to protect your sensitive areas.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR CYCLING SHORTS LAST LOOK GREATER?
There are a few things you can do to make your cycling shorts last as long as possible.
- Buy quality shorts first. Shorts of poor quality will cause premature tears at the seams.
- Second, wash your shorts using the delicate cycle and allow them to air dry. This will lower the temperature of the wash cycle and make it easier to dry delicate seams.
- Third, remove your bike shorts as soon as you’re done riding. Sweaty shorts can cause skin irritation and prematurely smell. They should last for a long time, but you need to take care of them.
We buy new shorts, ride outside in the fall and summer, then we relegate them to shorts to indoor smart training cycling use once they have finished their last leg.
Are CYCLING SHORT VALUES REASONABLE?
Yes! We are avid cyclists and would not consider going on a ride without our cycling shorts. Cycling shorts are comfortable because of their fit, padding, feel, and comfort. You don’t even need to have bad chafing, or a sore on your saddle to make it uncomfortable. Otherwise, you’ll spend days trying to heal, instead of riding in comfort.
Shorts are an investment. If you’re just starting out, you might feel tempted to wear shorts on your bike rides. Refrain from succumbing to the temptation. You can buy a pair of entry-level cycling shorts and put them to good work. It’s totally worth it. It will become your best friend on any bike ride, even the shortest.
Here’s our list of recommended shorts at different price points. We didn’t recommend shorts under $50. This is a good thing. You can find a wide range of cheap shorts online that are made in China by companies with a long history ….. But we recommend sticking with those who know their stuff. These shorts are made for long, tough bike rides and high quality. You can get many years of use from your shorts if you take good care of them. We will be grateful at mile 40 that you recommended reliable shorts!
Best of luck on your bike ride! Be comfortable and safe.