Which are the proper shorts to wear for cycling? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is just a matter of preference and comfort for the cyclist. In photos here, you can see two apparels – cycling shorts and cycling bib shorts.
Cycling shorts are worn to the waist level while bib shorts have additional straps that go over your shoulder for a better fit. When first I started cycling, I wore the shorts version. I experienced discomfort from the bottom hem of the jersey as cyclist tend to bend the torso forward in cycling.
Later on, I started wearing bib shorts and do not feel the discomfort anymore. Bib shorts provide a snug feeling to the body because of the two straps that go over the shoulder. There is no waist band while the shoulder straps now holds up the shorts. Hence bib shorts are more comfortable.
There is padding inside both the normal cycling shorts and bib shorts. The padding provides cushioning to your butt while you are seated for long durations during cycling. The shape and thickness of the padding vary across brands. Do try the shorts before buying as the shape of the paddings will differ in feel.
Bike Guru tips for cycling shorts and bibs:
1. When wearing your cycling shorts or bibs, do it while you are not perspiring. This is to avoid the need to pull hard and prevent the fabric as the stickiness of your skin will make it harder don on your shorts/bib.
2. Always invert the shorts or bib inside out when you are washing it. Best to handwash. If you need to put them into the washing machine, remember to use a laundry net.
3. Your cycling shorts or bib shorts feel snug when you wear them. (Cannot be “ba long long” or loosely fitted, else you will have abrasion.
4. Do not wear underwear under your cycling shorts or bib shorts, else the benefits provided by your cycling shorts (e.g. friction reduction, sweat and moisture management) will be negated, resulting in abrasion.
5. Budget brands: Decathlon. Popular brands: CCN, FST, RAPHA, Pas Normal Studio, Assos, Champion System.