Find the right pair of cycling shorts for your ride

Cycling shorts sit right in the middle of the biggest contact point with your bike, so getting the right pair is key for a good ride

The first piece of advice new riders often receive is to buy a pair of cycling shorts with a padded chamois (the padded part that sis on the saddle). The right pair of cycling shorts can keep you comfortable, warm and dry, and are a great way to improve your ride.

The biggest piece of contact between you and your bike is on the saddle, so it is important to get that contact right. A chamois protects you from saddle sores and chafing, and can be the piece of gear that can make or break your ride. There are a few different types of cycling shorts out there, and it is hard to know which one is right for you. We have outlined the main benefits of road cycling and mountain biking shorts below:

Road cycling shorts

Road cycling shorts are commonly made of lycra and are the classic cycling uniform. Tight to the skin and lightweight, lycra shorts are regarded as the most comfortable and aero dynamic cycle clothing there is.

  • Waist shorts:The most common of road cycling lycra shorts, they come with an elasticated waistband to keep them up.
  • Bib shorts:These have straps which go over the shoulders, and tend to sit higher up the abdomen. The straps mean that these shorts are less prone to chafing and cutting into the stomach. They also come in handy for when your cycling top rides up, as they serve as a base layer for your lower torso. Worth the extra expense if you are riding in chilly weather.
  • Tights: These come in 3/4 or full legnth, and bib or non-bib styles. They provide greater leg coverage and a better suited to cold-weather conditions.
  • Winter tights: Made from thicker material, they are designed to keep you warm in cold conditions.
    The downside to this is they are heavier, less breathable and more restrictive than other cycling shorts, so are an option for cold weather only.
  • Women’s: all of the above short types are available customised to fit the shape of a women’s body. Thankfully, men can wear women’s shorts and vice versa if needs be.

Mountain biking shorts

Leisure riders generally chose MTB shorts over lycra, for reasons of style rather than practicality. They can be practical though, offering a tougher material which will fair better against the ground than lycra would, air vents, pockets and sometimes a chamois. Higher end shorts can have a separate liner and shorts, allowing you to remove the chamois for comfort or for washing. The best baggy shorts are one which are lightweight but durable, comfortable without irritation and offer pockets and adjustability for practicality.

Altura Peloton Progel Waist Tight

Altura Peloton Progel Waist Tight from Evans Cycles

Altura's most popular tight is made with Thermosuede fabrics and has a multi density ProGel pad to keep you comfortable in the saddle.

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Endura 6-Panel Short II

Endura 6-Panel Short II from Evans Cycles

These cycling shorts are made from 6 panels to fit your shape, and have a moulded 9mm chamois pad to keep you comfortable on your ride.

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Craft Balance Shorts

Craft Balance Shorts from Ribble

Elasticated waist shorts suitable for use underneat baggy shorts or by themselves. Includes C4 Chamois pad for comfort on the saddle.

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Shimano Ladies Performance Winter Tights

Shimano Ladies Performance Winter Tights from Ribble

These ladies winter tights are ideal for keeping you warm on winter cycles. Made from 4 way stretchable fabric and with a breathable 3D chamois.

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Mavic Cosmic Elite Bib Short

Mavic Cosmic Elite Bib Short from Chain Reaction Cycles

These bib shorts offer abrasion resistance, comfort and support, with multiple densities and thicknesses of padding.

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Funkier 3-4 Baggy Shorts

Funkier 3-4 Baggy Shorts from Chain Reaction Cycles

These baggy shorts are practical and comfortable. Made from resistant nylon material, with multiple pockets and water resistant material.

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Cycle short care

Rule number one is to wash your shorts after every use to avoid a bacteria build up. This bacteria can cause infections and sores, so it is important to keep your chamois clean.

Cycle clothes need to be washed more gently than normal laundry, so make sure you have a detergent that can break down dirt at low temperatures and don’t tumble dry your lycra shorts.

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