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Everything you need to know about wearing bike shorts

The right cycling clothing can be the difference between loving every minute of your ride and counting every minute until it’s over, and your best bet for staying comfortable in the saddle is a great pair of bike shorts. But what makes a great bike short? Here’s everything you need to know about why bike shorts, why they matter, and why you should be wearing them.

WORDS TO KNOW:

Chamois


Your bike saddle is designed to work with a chamois (pronounced “shammy”), which is the pad sewn into cycling shorts. The chamois supports your bone structure, provides cushioning in sensitive areas, and prevents friction that can cause chafing and saddle sores.

Bibs


Bibs are lycra shorts with added suspenders. Some riders prefer bibs as they help eliminate bunching at the waist, have a higher rise, and are more comfortable around the mid-section. Not sure if you’re more of a bibs or shorts kinda rider? You can’t go wrong with either, so we recommend trying both to determine your preference.

Chamois cream


Chamois cream is a substance that helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing and reduce chafing. All Bontrager chamois are designed to work without it, but many riders prefer the extra moisturizing skin care and protection that chamois cream provides. If you want to try it, just make sure to use designated cycling chamois cream. Other lotions may contain ingredients that can break down materials in your chamois or irritate your skin while exercising.

YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED:

Why should I wear cycling shorts?


The tight fit of lycra shorts is ideal for a number of reasons: it’s aerodynamic, comfortable, and it ensures everything stays in place. As we mentioned above, your saddle was designed to work with a chamois, and you’ll be infinitely more comfortable in shorts that keep the extra padding right where you need it.

What do I wear under my shorts?


We’re all friends here, right? That’s why we can be honest, even when it comes to delicate topics. We’ll keep it simple: don’t wear anything under your bike shorts. The chamois inside of your shorts was made to fit next to your skin to prevent chafing, and it’s built from fabrics that wick moisture and dry quickly. Wearing underwear under your bike shorts adds seams that chafe and fabric that holds in moisture, so your best bet is to go commando when you’re in the saddle.

How should they fit?


When trying on shorts or liners, look for sizes that fit snugly but are still comfortable to move around in. The fabric shouldn’t shift against your skin as you pedal, but it shouldn’t cut off circulation to your legs either. Look for a size that hugs your legs without pinching.

How do I wash them?


Just pop your shorts in the washing machine and wash on the gentle cycle with cold water. Always line dry your shorts to get the longest life out of each pair, and remember to wash them after every ride.

Cycling shorts are a great investment and a classic part of cycling culture, and we’re confident that once you try them you’ll never want to ride in anything else. Ready to head down the path of lycra enlightenment? Click below to find your perfect pair.

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