Our Guide to Buying: Shorts and ¾ Lengths

Why should I buy Cycling Shorts?

In a nutshell

A decent pair of cycling shorts is absolutely essential if you are going to feel comfortable in the saddle and avoid sores and chaffing. Different shape pads are designed for men, women and kids with different styles of shorts for road bikers, mountain bikers and commuters.

Whether you opt for padded Lycra bib shorts, waist-shorts, mountain bike baggies or padded under-shorts the right pair will feel and look great, allowing you to ride in total comfort. Bib shorts are mainly favoured by road cyclists, although they can also be worn under baggy shorts. Bib shorts are available in a broad array of colours from neutral black to your favourite pro-team replica kit or designed to match your choice of jersey.

Bib Shorts

What are bib shorts?

Bib shorts are shorts that are cut to allow for body movement when in your riding position. The wide Lycra bibs slip over your shoulders holding the shorts in place whilst not cutting in around your stomach and waist. Bib shorts give you a smooth profile under your jersey and help to cover your lower back when you are leaning forward over the bars. Look for grippers that hold the legs reliably in place and a lightweight mesh back to keep you cool in hot weather.

What are padded shorts?

Padded shorts, of all styles, are designed to give you a smooth, seam free layer of protection between you and the saddle. Sometimes still called a chamois they are no longer leather but are stretchy soft materials that move with you and are often anti-bacterial for better hygiene.

Are there cycling shorts designed for winter wear?

During the cooler months, three-quarter length shorts that finish mid-calf are great for keeping your knees warm when you don’t need the full coverage of winter tights.

Shorts for Mountain Biking

When it comes to mountain biking you need extra layers of protection on your legs and let’s face it tight Lycra shorts can leave you feeling slightly exposed, in which case baggy over shorts are the answer!

What are MTB shorts made from?

Mountain bike shorts are made from rugged tough materials specifically designed to protect you in falls or from rips and tears. They are cut high at the back and stretchy to allow you to move around the bike with agility. Slightly more tailored over shorts are ideal for commuting, casual riding and touring.

Shorts for Commuting

What shorts should I wear when cycling to work?

If you ride-to-work or simply prefer your own style and clothes, then padded undershorts are the answer for both men and women. Enough extra padding and seam free to prevent chafing you can wear them under anything to add a little bit of protection whilst not having to go the full Lycra. Great for short journeys.

What are the alternatives to bib shorts – if any?

Some riders prefer waist shorts as they find bibs inconvenient; these shorts rely on grippers or drawstring around the waist to hold them in place but otherwise are similar in design to Lycra bib shorts. Waist shorts are easier when it comes to calls of nature but the extra layers and tightness around the stomach can feel uncomfortable if you are cycling hard which is why competitive cyclists favour bibs.