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Women's Bike Shorts - Buyer's Guide
Fitted or Loose-fit?
- Fitted Lycra bike shorts are:
- a popular choice of road cyclists,
- supportive of your muscles,
- moisture wicking,
- made from stretchy spandex materials that move with you to alleviate chafing,
- aerodynamic - no extra material flapping in the wind.
- Loose-fit, baggy bike shorts are:
- popular with casual urban, trail and mountain bike riders,
- more modest in look,
- more abrasion and snag resistant than Lycra shorts.
- A chamois pad is used in cycling shorts to:
- cover seams and reduce friction,
- absorb and wick away moisture,
- provide additional padding to reduce pressure at the sit bones.
- The pad in a bike short designed for women differs from a men's pad. It is:
- wider at the sit bones,
- shorter in length - no need for a large "modesty panel" up front.
- Chamois pads are available in a variety of thicknesses, shapes, densities and cover fabrics. The best chamois for a particular rider is a matter of personal preference. Unfortunately, it may take time and experience to determine what works best for your unique anatomy.
- Search the TE Forums for advice from other female cyclists on which shorts have the best chamois?
- TIP: every bike short on our site has a chamois photo, linked to in the details section of the product page.
- Longer inseam shorts provide better support to the quads.
- Shorter inseam shorts can help you avoid an obvious "cyclist's tan".
- TIP: Use our filters to shop by your preferred inseam length.
- Silicone dot grippers or no gripper at all help to avoid the sausage leg look.
- Silicone grippers are a good choice for those with latex allergies.
- If the short has no grippers, it needs to fit well to avoid riding up and bunching.
- TIP: Use our filters to view only those bike shorts that feature your preferred gripper type.
Panels & Seams
- More panels generally means a more contoured, better fit when in the cycling position.
- Fabric orientation within a panel can be used to provide additional muscle support.
- Flatlock seams between the panels are less obtrusive than overlock seams and reduce friction.
- Waistbands are largely a matter of personal preference. Look for a waistband that doesn't gap at the back or fold over in the front when in the cycling position.
- Elastic waist bands have traditionally been used, but elastic-free yoga-style waist bands are popular option.
- Eliminated waistband makes for a very comfortable bike short.
- Women can find bibs problematic on longer rides due to the need to remove the jersey top in order to use the restroom.
- Manufacturers are now offering a variety of innovative buckle systems in an effort to improve women's cycling bib shorts.
Use and Care of Cycling Shorts
- Wear Without Underwear:
- Bike shorts are always worn without underwear.
- Underwear bunches and abrades and retains moisture.
- No Velcro (hook-and-loop closures), No Sharp Edges:
- Lycra cycling shorts are very susceptible to snagging when exposed to Velcro.
- Check your bike for any exposed velcro or sharp edges on saddle packs and frame-mounted accessories. Velcro can chew up a pair of shorts in a single ride!
- Protect your shorts and other apparel by using laundry bags for any clothing or gloves with Velcro.