Buying cycling shorts

cyclist stands on bike nice cycling shortsA popular destination for cycling men and women alike is the pub for a pint and a catch up with friends. Upon arrival at the pub the last thing I ever want to do is walk in dressed in Lycra from head to toe. Luckily, I have a few pairs of casual cycling shorts that draw the right glances rather than the “Uuhh look at him he’s wearing Lycra” disapproving ones.

In this post I will go through what to look for in a good pair of cycling shorts and show you some highly recommended ones that you may want to look at.

What to look for in casual cycling shorts

A good pair of cycling shorts is all about comfort. This comes from many areas. First from a good fit. Most cycling shorts will have adjustable straps and flexible fabric that will create that nice comfortable feeling. Secondly, padding in the cycling shorts helps to reduce the strain on your body from frequent riding. Also, the right fabrics and design provide a smooth, comfortable feel that prevents chafing on the more delicate parts of the body. In-fact the shorts you wear often make more of a difference to this than buying an expensive new saddle.

Ventilation is also important and good cycling shorts will provide for this. The shorts should cope with the harshness of everyday cycling such as the stretching caused by the constant pedalling motion and the occasional scrapes. Finally they should have plenty of pockets for storage. A good pair of cycling shorts is likely to cost you around £35.

Ultimately you should choose a pair that feels comfortable to you both when you are in the riding position and when you are out and about.

Recommended cycling shorts

The below cycling shorts are a great place to start. They all come highly recommended by users and are well reviewed.

Men’s cycling shorts

madison flux shorts Madison Flux

These shorts have vents on the front and back, well positioned pockets and plenty of stretch panels for comfort (Read: they hide your bum!). They are designed with freedom of movement in mind. Although Madison Flux cycling shorts are normally priced at the higher end of the market, Chain Reaction Cycles have a good deal on them currently.

Endura-Humvee-Shorts-medEndura Hummvee Baggy Shorts

The Endura Hummvvee’s have been very well reviewed and are a great mid-range choice for anyone looking for a pair of cycling shorts. They are light and have the all important stretch panels that are necessary for comfortable bike riding. You may want to consider buying one size up because a number of reviewers have reported that they come up small. They are available in men’s and women’s.

Women’s cycling shorts

Madison tour shorts for women cyclists Madison Tour

Madison comes up trumps for women as well as men with this fantastic pair of cycling shorts that offers good value for money. The shorts should fit well on most body shapes as they have plenty of elastic and Velcro fastenings for adjustments. With a grand total of 6 pockets you will forget which one you left your money in. They are available from Madison.co.uk.

gore freeride ladyGore Freeride Lady

These more upmarket baggie shorts offer excellent quality. They are made with soft fabric and offer plenty of adjustment and comfort. They are available from Gorebikewear.co.uk

Women's cycling shorts - SwrveSwrve Soft Shell 3/4 lengths

Thanks to oh_pollo for sending through this recommendation for what appear to be a fashionable option whilst still providing cycling comfort. You can find them at alwaysriding.co.uk.

Good places to shop for cycling shorts:
See also:

Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

, , , ,

7 Responses to Buying cycling shorts

  1. Richard Masoner 04/10/2009 at 7:31 pm #

    Thanks for the photo props. Good article.

    • Pete Cruze 07/04/2011 at 9:30 pm #

      And did you see those Rapha cycling jeans in the paper the other day, with reflective lining in the right leg, for when you roll it up on the chain side!

  2. Andreas 05/10/2009 at 10:39 am #

    No worries Pal thanks for uploading so many awesome pictures to flickr and making them creative commons licenced.

  3. Angi 02/09/2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Ohh…I just gave into the the padded cycling shorts due to…well…I’m sure you know what the butt ache feels like.

    Will be trying them out for the first time tomorrow…but just to let you know and anyone else interested…

    These are the cycling shorts I got:

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Craft_Ladies_Pro_Cool_Bike_Boxer/5360042759/

    They are nice and small, low waisted and have light padding…so perfect for wearing under skirts, dresses, trousers…so hide away nicely leaving you comfortable without having to clad yourself in obvious lycra.

    So just a thumbs up to a different women’s option. :)

  4. David Smith 09/05/2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Great article. Cyclists should consider wearing padded cycling shorts not only for comfort but for their general sexual health as well!

  5. debencyclist 11/08/2011 at 8:12 pm #

    I’ve got the Endura Humvees. HUGE chamois in the seat, its like an extra saddle and really thick. I rode 50 miles and didn’t feel a thing. (good shorts + Parceline chamois butt’r)

    Good to be able to slip the overshorts on over the top too, they’ve got little clip studs inside the waist band. Fit was good for me.

  6. Hush Legs 06/07/2013 at 7:30 am #

    I really like Surface Liquistretch shorts.

Leave a Reply