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For the Fashionista or Bike Snob a new pair of cycling or triathlon shorts is an exciting thing. Accessorizing can be one of the most enjoyable for things for them to do with some spare money and some fun time. For many though, the thought of spending $100 or more dollars on a pair of cycling shorts is a frightful thing but it is one of the largest parts to improving your comfort on your bike. Here are a few key things to consider when you are debating whether your shorts are in need of replacement and what route you need to take when selecting your next cycling or triathlon short:
- Elasticity – A snug fitting short is imperative for comfort. If they twist and shift while you ride you increase your susceptibility to chaffing and saddle sores. If your shorts are baggy in the legs (unless you are a small child – hard to find sizes small enough) they are worn out! IMMEDIATELY walk over to a trash can, throw them away and go buy a new pair of shorts now.
- Thickness of material – Cycling shorts are not supposed to be see through and honestly no one wants to stare at your crack for hours on a group ride. Result: Go buy new shorts!
- Chamois – This is the padding in your cycling short. It is what gives you a great deal of comfort or discomfort if improperly selected. Over time this padding “packs” or compresses and because of this it does not offer the same level of comfort also. Be sure you find one with minimal seams and smooth stitching around the edges. The newer and higher quality chamois is actually made of one piece of foam with varying thicknesses throughout. They are seamless and very comfortable.
- Bibs or shorts – Consider bibs. We can almost guarantee that if you go to bib shorts you will never return to a standard short. They might look a bit like a wrestling singlet but the comfort they offer is worth it! For the ladies they can be more difficult for nature breaks but the newer “drop tail” bibs help reduce this challenge.
- Quantity/number of weekly rides – If you ride more than twice weekly you need to have more than one pair of shorts. Save yourself the hassle of having to wash your shorts for every ride and take the chance at trying out several different shorts/chamois.
- Don’t Skimp! Cycling shorts can be expensive but are worth the money. Higher priced shorts typically result in a longer lasting short and a higher quality chamois.
Ultimately know that a pair of shorts, dependent upon quality, can last anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 miles. Keep in mind they are an investment in your body’s comfort. Higher priced shorts have greater technology including the chamois, shaping, quality of material and the shorts effectiveness at keeping your bodies temperature at more normal levels.