Cycling shorts...please educate me?

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Slothman
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Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby Slothman » 19 Nov 2020, 9:17am

OK, I'm looking for a new saddle (another thread) and my grips and tyres are on route.
So, I now need to invest in some cycling shorts.
I know little to nothing about them other than they are padded and are supposed to be worn without other underwear (hmmm...not sure about that one TBH) Does that mean I need to wash them after every ride or buy several pairs???
The term chamois is used a lot but I do know that historically real chamois leather was used in early sorts to reduce chaffing.
Do they still use actual chamois leather (genuine or synthetic like my car leather?) or is it now simply a term to describe the padding and/or material, which is now space age stuff and other than the name has nothing to do with actual chamois leather?
Do I need them padded in place of saddle padding, as well as or what?
Ill be riding a MTB with Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (26x1.6) road tyres and flat bars with some Ergon GP5 grips/ends fitted.
Finally can anyone recommend some that are decent but nothing fancy pants (pardon the pun) or silly money?
I reckon a maximum of £30-£40 is my budget and less if I can.
There seem to be a lot of very techy looking shorts on amazon

View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Sellers-S ... 3939440031

but are they any good?

I'm only a beginner and am not interested in brand snobbery or elitist gear that I'll never appreciate or need.
I want a pair that will be comfortable for rides of up to 30-40 miles or so max, perhaps more at some point although I could buy better shorts at that point as I'd be getting a better, more road focussed bike anyway.

Anyone?

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fausto99
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby fausto99 » 19 Nov 2020, 10:10am

Slothman wrote:... are supposed to be worn without other underwear (hmmm...not sure about that one TBH) Does that mean I need to wash them after every ride or buy several pairs???

Yes. No point having specialist padded shorts, seamless in the sensitive places and then negating that with conventional briefs or boxers.
Slothman wrote:... is it now simply a term to describe the padding and/or material, which is now space age stuff and other than the name has nothing to do with actual chamois leather?

Yes.
The other part questions are very difficult to answer as it will be a personal choice. No-one can second guess your personal preferences. I only have bib shorts but you might hate them. I have a moderately padded but wide saddle and padded shorts - You might prefer a very padded saddle and ordinary shorts. You may even change your mind on what you want after more riding. Flat bars also might put more weight on your rear compared to drop handlebars.

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Audax67
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby Audax67 » 19 Nov 2020, 10:33am

No underpants, buy several pairs, clean pair every ride. The problem with that is that if the ones you buy don't suit you you're stuck with them.

I've been using the one silly-money brand for years, so I don't know much about current offerings. However, my observations are that the pad should not be so stiff that you're unduly aware of it when you walk. The brand I use, too, has the pad anchored at just four points (maybe another at the very front? I forget) so that it moves against the cloth but stays stationary against the skin, which reduces friction. The fit should be like a second skin, for the same reason - two sizes smaller than your trousers is what I've heard.

You can use a cream to lube the pad, or else put it on the skin - you'll soon work out where. The first time you do this is uncomfortable, but you get used to it. Assos chamois cream is good. Alternatively, you may decide to put up with the chafing in order to toughen the skin. While I do know people who claim to have done long events without cream I know one or two who ate lying down for a week after. After one 300k a chum told me he had blisters the size of his little finger. You can put Biafine on minor chafes, or Bepanthen (nappy rash ointment) if it's more serious. I know one bloke who practically fills the pad with the stuff before long rides and squidges when he sits down.

ETA: I don't know any serious cyclists who use thickly padded saddles. A soft saddle conforms to the shape of your bones, and if the padding isn't well-distributed, or if you sit a bit off-centre, can press up into the pubis and crush the urethra and/or the pubic blood vessels and/or nerves. I read of one bloke whose marriage nearly fell apart because of it.
Last edited by Audax67 on 19 Nov 2020, 10:40am, edited 1 time in total.
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tatanab
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby tatanab » 19 Nov 2020, 10:39am

fausto99 wrote:
Slothman wrote:... are supposed to be worn without other underwear (hmmm...not sure about that one TBH) Does that mean I need to wash them after every ride or buy several pairs???

Yes. No point having specialist padded shorts, seamless in the sensitive places and then negating that with conventional briefs or boxers.
But you might use undershorts with the seams in appropriate places, such as https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CLOOPEFIT ... ithout-pad which might save on laundry. Some people say you must wash shorts after very ride - I'd say it depends, a hours gentle potter is very different to an 8 hour hard ride.

I am of a generation where the "chamois" really was leather, so no padding effect at all. I don't think I had any modern padded shorts until the late 1990's, so my first 30 years of riding was uncossetted. I still prefer unpadded for many purposes and do not like the very thick nappy pads. Never found the need for special creams.

Just like choice in saddles, it is a personal preference.

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Audax67
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby Audax67 » 19 Nov 2020, 10:42am

tatanab wrote:I am of a generation where the "chamois" really was leather, so no padding effect at all.


Ditto. When one of my chums got married his wife didn't know about oiling the chamois after washing them. He got a lovely surprise.
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Psamathe
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby Psamathe » 19 Nov 2020, 11:15am

I use a "hard" saddle (Brooks C15) and need good padded shorts. I tried cheaper padded shorts but they are not enough. But with good padded shorts (Endura FS260 Pro) works well.

I find when I've not been on the bike for a bit I do get bruised or tender and a few weeks but things seem to "toughen-up". I also find the shorts do need to fit very well - I notice it in hot sweaty weather where if they are a bit loose they will chafe (and they do seem to stretch a bit over time).

I used to wear seamless underwear (or suitably positioned seams) and didn't cause issues then after a few years the underwear suddenly did start to cause issues and so stopped using underwear and all fine again.

So I'd expect things can be very different for different people and can change over time - so very much a try and change until you find what works (which is not ideal as good padded shorts can be quite expensive).

Ian

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fausto99
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby fausto99 » 19 Nov 2020, 11:38am

Audax67 wrote:I've been using the one silly-money brand for years, so I don't know much about current offerings. However, my observations are that the pad should not be so stiff that you're unduly aware of it when you walk. The brand I use, too, has the pad anchored at just four points (maybe another at the very front? I forget) so that it moves against the cloth but stays stationary against the skin, which reduces friction.


Never come across this :shock: . All my shorts have the lining stitched all round. Do tell - what make of shorts is it which only tacks in 3 or 4 places?

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Audax67
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby Audax67 » 19 Nov 2020, 1:08pm

fausto99 wrote:
Audax67 wrote:I've been using the one silly-money brand for years, so I don't know much about current offerings. However, my observations are that the pad should not be so stiff that you're unduly aware of it when you walk. The brand I use, too, has the pad anchored at just four points (maybe another at the very front? I forget) so that it moves against the cloth but stays stationary against the skin, which reduces friction.


Never come across this :shock: . All my shorts have the lining stitched all round. Do tell - what make of shorts is it which only tacks in 3 or 4 places?


Assos. The older S5 shorts were stitched all round, the later S7s leave 5 unstitched areas whereof one in the middle at the back where the sweat usually rots through the fabric. There are long unstitched areas either side of the narrow section of the pad. They're easily the best shorts I've ever had.

HOWEVER: the ones I'm talking about all date from 2015 and cost ~180€/pair. In January I bought a new pair in their so-called cheap range (~140€) and while the pad is the same I don't like the body shape at all: when I pedal the fabric seems to be working against me. Assos have lately climbed onto the compression bandwagon and I'm wondering if that's the reason. Marketing spoils everything.
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tatanab
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby tatanab » 19 Nov 2020, 1:20pm

Audax67 wrote:[The older S5 shorts were stitched all round
I have some S5. These are what I mean when I say I do not like the huge great nappy pad. It is just so thick! But having bought them (fairly cheaply) they were quickly relegated to winter use, under tights, to get some use out of them - but they just refuse to wear out. My summer shorts have very much thinner padding or none at all.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby al_yrpal » 19 Nov 2020, 2:03pm

Jeans with seamless underpants are my choice. All the padded stuff I have had has rubbed. I have cut off jeans for the summer. I hate tight cycling jerseys too, a nice loose tee shirt is what I like because it allows air circulation. Old slip on Hush Puppies on my feet.

Roadies in lycra must think I am just an old bloke on a BSO until I sprint past them on hills powered by Mr Volt. :lol:

Al
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st599_uk
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby st599_uk » 19 Nov 2020, 2:10pm

I get on well with FDX anti-microbial ones from eBay for about £20 worn under looser cargo shorts and wicking tennis polo shirts from Decathlon.

I have a Sella Italia hard leather saddle which has molded itself to my sit bones - only need the padded shorts for rides over about 20km.
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axel_knutt
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby axel_knutt » 19 Nov 2020, 2:53pm

I have two problems with Lycra shorts. The first is leg length, I can't find ones that are long enough, and the second is the modulus of the elastic is often too stiff to accommodate the step between adjacent sizes, so I have a choice between medium which are too tight, and large which are too loose. I've measured the modulus of the elastic on all my shorts, and it varies by as much as 2:1 between one manufacturer and another. The ones I'm using at the moment are Muddy Fox, which are the best I've ever had for length and fit, but they've sewn the pad half way up the back instead of under the bum.

When I'm wearing them all day on tour I aim to wash them every day, but that gets adjusted according to the availability of hostel drying rooms. I can feel the soreness start if they go unwashed for about 3 days. At home, I usually wash them after they've done an equivalent number of hours.
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andrew_s
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby andrew_s » 19 Nov 2020, 3:56pm

I use baggies (Gore C5 trail or Aldi touring at present) plus standard M&S undies, 'cos pockets mostly.
Berthoud leather saddle, no padding required up to 100 miles at least.

Like @tatanab, I got fed up with nappy thickness pads. I started just after leather chammies, when it was a layer of material of similar thickness, and which I preferred to thick (and soft) padding. If I go back to lycra, I'll probably give triathlon shorts a go.

tatanab
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby tatanab » 19 Nov 2020, 4:04pm

andrew_s wrote: If I go back to lycra, I'll probably give triathlon shorts a go.
I have read that rowing shorts might suit the likes of you and I.

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mjr
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Re: Cycling shorts...please educate me?

Postby mjr » 19 Nov 2020, 4:51pm

axel_knutt wrote:I have two problems with Lycra shorts. The first is leg length, I can't find ones that are long enough, and the second is the modulus of the elastic is often too stiff to accommodate the step between adjacent sizes,

Only those two problems? You don't know pain until an ill-placed but unnoticed-at-first front pad seam grinds a horizontal into your vertical! :shock:

I never found a pad that was quite good enough for an all-day ride, mostly finding them like the bad effect of riding a too-squishy saddle, then I started reacting to something about them... so now I'm back in seamless-under-the-sit-bones civvies and relying on a little (I think about 3mm max depth resulting in about 2mm max compression, but it's been a while since I measured any) saddle padding often combined with springs. Dawes GT on the Dutchie, a discontinued wider Selle Royal on the Jack, a Lycett mattress on the clone roadster.
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