Bike shorts, as with any kind of exercise clothing, the need to be comfortable and do the job you need them to do. Not only should the right bike shorts not pinch when you ride, they need to conform to your body and not shift during the movements you’ll make while cycling. Unfortunately, the best way to find the right pair of shorts will ultimately be to try them on and test them out. This is because everyone’s body is different, so everyone will have a different preference of brand, size, and fit. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind so that the process doesn’t seem so hit or miss.
Brand Isn’t Everything
Some brands may seem like the best choice because they are considered to be top of the line but this may not be the case for you. Sometimes the cheaper, less high end pair of shorts are going to be the pair that fits you best. Try on what you like and just go with it from there.
Fit And Size
Again, the best way to determine if the fit and size of the bike shorts is right for your body is simply to try them on. The more panels that the shorts have the more form-fitting they will be. Some bike shorts come with up to eight panels and can conform to your body much better than another fit would. Also, keep in mind the waist length of bike shorts. The shorts need to be high in the back to cover you up when you bend over the handles but the front needs to be low to minimize restriction.
Different brands have different kinds of liners. Some are continuous while others are separate pieces with grooves and lines. Liners can be smooth or come in a waffle-like pattern. Pay attention to how the liners feel on your skin and move around in them to test how comfortable they’ll be. There’s no way of knowing for sure that they’ll be comfortable once you’re on your bike but moving around can at least take away some of the guess work.
Colors and leg length of bike shorts are mostly just fashion choices. Some people prefer longer legs to shorter ones because they feel more comfortable in them. Play around with the different styles and just see which one is the most comfortable for you.
As far as color goes, pick what you like the most. Bear in mind that darker colors will absorb the most UV rays from the sun. If you bike regularly in a sunny or warm climate, lighter color shorts may be your best option in order to avoid overheating. (Keep in mind that light colours can accentuate certain features and “bulges”)
Picking the bike shorts you need is a very personal process. The shorts need to conform to your body and be comfortable through all the movements you’ll make on your bike. If the shorts are moving around on you too much they may chafe on long rides and be deeply uncomfortable. While you’re in the store and trying on all the bike shorts you can, make sure you move around a lot to really test them out.