Cycling shorts buyer’s guide

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 cycling shorts. But what makes a great pair of cycling shorts? Here’s everything you need to know about why bike shorts matter and how to choose the perfect shorts for the way you ride.

Cycling shorts 101

The tight fit of cycling shorts makes them aerodynamic and comfortable, and the compressive materials help fight muscle fatigue so you can ride stronger longer. Your saddle was 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.

You’ll be infinitely more comfortable in shorts that have extra padding where you need it. We offer shorts for all kind of riding, from race-ready road bibs to trail-proven mountain bike shorts. Here, we’ll help you choose the right shorts for wherever you roll.

Not all shorts are created equal

Any padded cycling shorts are better than nothing, but premium bike shorts are made with high-quality materials that offer better breathability and support. Plus, some even have additional features that make toilet breaks a breeze!

How to wear cycling shorts

We’ll keep it simple: go commando! The chamois inside 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.

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Bonus: chamois cream

Chamois cream helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing to reduce chafing. All Trek and Bontrager chamois are designed to work without it, but many riders prefer the extra comfort chamois cream provides. Just make sure to use designated cycling chamois cream! Other lotions may break down materials and irritate your skin.

To bib or not to bib?

Bibs are cycling shorts with added braces. Some riders prefer bibs as they help eliminate bunching at the waist, offering more comfort at the mid-section. Bib shorts also have a higher rise and hold that chamois right where it’s supposed to be while pedalling. 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.

Professional bike shorts

These team shorts come straight from Trek’s professional ranks of elite road, mountain and cyclocross athletes. Every piece is designed for pro-level style and stitched from the same high-performance material worn by Lidl-Trek and Trek Factory Racing on the world’s stage.

Wash and learn

Washing your cycling shorts requires a little more care than washing an old T-shirt. But follow these easy steps and you’ll get to enjoy your new shorts for years to come. Just pop the shorts in the washing machine and choose a gentle cycle with cold water. Always line-dry your shorts to get the longest life out them and remember to wash after every ride.

The Trek Clothing advantage

Biomechanically proven padded

Every pair of Trek and Bontrager shorts is not only tested in-house by our biomechanical engineering team, they also undergo extensive testing with advanced sports science technologies. We start with our highspeed camera, a precision tool that captures an incredibly detailed look at a rider’s position, interaction with critical touchpoints and movement on the bike.

Then, we pressure map. This enlightening tool shows the exact locations where a rider interacts with the saddle. This helps us identify painful pressure points so we can ensure riders are supported in the riding position.

Premium fit and finish

Every piece of Trek cycling clothing meets our stringent guidelines for quality and performance – and that includes offering a luxurious feel. Trek shorts are cut from a finer cloth and made with love for you and the planet using sustainable fabrics.

30-Day Unconditional Guarantee

Every pair of Trek and Bontrager shorts is backed by the 30-Day Unconditional Guarantee. If for any reason you’re not satisfied with your new shorts, return them along with the original sales receipt to the original place of purchase within 30 days for an exchange or refund. Think of it as a 30-day test ride.

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You’ve got your shorts. Now what?

Complete your kit and gain even more comfort with a cycling jersey, cycling gloves, compressive socks and headwear.