Chamois Cream for Cycling
No more sore spots after long bike rides! Chamois cream can provide relief. Here’s how to find the right one and use it well.
Baggy or bib? Good cycling pants and shorts come in many forms and all have their own advantages. Besides the classic, tight-fitting shorts with a chamois, which are still the standard for road cyclists, many bikers prefer to wear casual bike shorts while riding a gravel or mountain bike. Pants are also very popular with downhill and enduro riders. The one thing that all cycling pants and shorts have in common is they are optimised to offer you freedom of movement, protection from the elements and maximum comfort on the saddle. You're sure to find the right pair in our large selection of bike pants! View Guide
You can find the best bike pants or shorts by paying closer attention to a few aspects. Aside from basic question of whether you want to bike in skin-tight or loose bottoms, the fit plays an important role. Cuts vary in detail such as length – i.e., how far a pair of shorts extends to the knees. Unlike conventional legwear, bike shorts and pants are cut in a way to adapt to the typical movements you make while riding a bike. Breathable stretch fabrics and strategically-placed seams ensure irritation-free comfort. From specialised Fox Head MTB shorts to versatile Vaude cycling pants and a wide range of premium brands such as 7mesh, Assos, Endura, Gore Wear, POC or Specialized, you are sure to find what you’re looking for. Legwear from our bc original brand also offers a particularly good price/performance ratio.
Before we go into more detail about the most important aspects, here is a checklist of what you should look for when shopping for cycling pants or shorts. Tip: Some of these are also used as search filters in our shop.
• Type of Bike Pants/Shorts (Skin-Tight or Baggy)
• Straps (Bib)
• Women or Men
• Fit / Cut
• Type: Short, Long or 3/4
• Material (how light, breathable, flexible, abrasion resistant etc.)
• Weather Protection
• Details such as pockets and width adjustment
Seat padding is the key factor for many cycling short and pant designs. It can make a big difference, especially on long tours. In the past, a piece of leather was used that bears the colloquial term for padding in cycling shorts and pants: "chamois". Today, chamois are made of synthetic materials and are often divided into zones with varying degrees of padding. Whether you ride with or without a chamois is a personal decision that you can only make based on your experience. It is important to choose the right one. Men's cycling shorts or pants with padding are clearly different from padded cycling shorts for women. If you’re riding with padding, we also recommend that you use a chamois cream. You can read more about it on our blog: Chamois Cream for Cycling.
On the road, the classic cycling shorts made of extremely stretchy fibres (namely elastane) are standard. They allow for optimal freedom of movement and do not flap around in the wind. Bib shorts have straps that prevent shorts from riding up while you move, and are thus very popular. A good chamois is essential for road cycling. There are now also road cycling shorts with pockets, some of which are hidden, for energy bars or other small items – a real plus, especially on long distance tours. Road bibs are also an excellent option for gravel biking.
Mountain bike shorts or pants are usually cut wider. For trail riding and long day trips, a lighter and more breathable fabric is just the ticket. The harder your pace, the more robust your shorts or pants should be. Shorts are the norm among mountain bikers, but in recent years full-length pants have also become popular again. They are inspired by motocross pants, but made from much lighter and more flexible fabrics. With shorts and pants, you should pay attention to compatibility with knee protectors, if you’re wearing any. MTB shorts for women and men are available with or without liner shorts with a chamois. Alternatively, you can wear normal bib shorts or padded shorts without straps underneath the shorts. Many MTB marathon and XC racers ride in tight bibs, just like in road cycling.
It is also worth wearing special cycling shorts or pants while riding a city bike. Urban bike pants can also be worn in the office, but are cut for cycling and made of breathable fabrics. Clever details make everyday biking easier. Cuffing the pant legs, for example, protects against grease and debris from the chain.
Special women's cycling shorts or pants are adapted to the female anatomy. For women's MTB shorts, this applies to the overall fit. Women's cycling shorts also use seat padding developed for women, which sometimes differs greatly from that used in men's cycling shorts. Straps are also designed differently on many women's bib shorts. For women who like to ride longer distances, so-called "pee-friendly" bib shorts are becoming increasingly popular, where zips or clips allow the wearer to take a quick bathroom break without having to take off their entire bib short or their overlaying jersey.
The old saying "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing" also applies to bike shorts and pants. The range extends from cycling pants with wind protection to waterproof rain pants that can also withstand a muddy mountain bike ride. In addition to rain, they also protect against splashing water from below. You should pay attention to a subtle difference: bike pants with a waterproof membrane or a waterproof coating on the inside are permanently "waterproof," but still breathable. They stay relatively watertight even in heavy rain. In contrast, designs without a membrane are referred to as "water-repellent". They can usually withstand a short shower and often score with higher breathability, but they are not intended to be worn in continuous rainfall. In summer, a pair of rain shorts can suffice, which gives the wearer the advantage of better ventilation for the legs. For cooler temperatures, rain pants would be more useful. Read more about clothing for bad weather on our blog: How to: Cycling Apparel - Rain & Wind Protection.
Our season filter can help you find suitable bike pants for winter. Winter pants are made of a slightly thicker fabric that is brushed on the inside. Such thermal pants for cyclists are also often equipped with wind protection at the front. When it gets really cold, you can follow the classic onion principle and don a pair of long underwear made from a material such as Merino wool.
When shopping for bike shorts or pants, the size that fits you best depends on the manufacturer. To make it as easy as possible for you to find the right size, we have set up an extra page with size charts (sorted by manufacturer) and tips on taking your measurements. View our size guide here.