Caiaimage/Richard JohnsonGetty Images
Unless you’re just planning to pedal around the corner for a quick jaunt, any self-respecting cyclist needs to make sure they have the right gear for their ride.
That doesn’t just mean that your tires have air, your shoes are clipped, and your helmet is strapped on tight. You should be wearing the right clothes, too. You don’t want to just saddle up in a pair of gym shorts or even standard compression leggings—if you’re planning to log some real mileage, you’re going to need a good pair of cycling shorts or a cycling bib. You’re not a kid anymore, and your old jeans will most definitely not make the cut.
For newbies out there, the difference between cycling shorts and bibs and other leg wear is the chamois, according to Bicycling. The dense padding, typically made from synthetic materials, allows you to spend more time on the seat without pain or chafing, helping to stave off irritating saddle sores from the miles spent pedaling. There are other factors that make these shorts superior to non-bike specific clothing, too, of course—but it starts at the seat.
Check out these 12 pairs of bike shorts and bibs before your next ride.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Evolution Zap Bike Shorts
If you ride in the morning or evening, the reflective leg bands of these high-visibility shorts will make you stand out on the road. The 8-panel shorts use a 3D constructed standard chamois to keep your butt comfortable, with silicon leg grippers to keep the fit snug without being too restrictive.
Ether Bike Shorts and Liner
If you’re not an all compression everything guy, there are still options for you. This pair of shorts has a 2-in-1 design, with a removable liner—with a built in chamois, of course—with plenty of zipper pockets and other storage for cyclists who are just as concerned with practical functionality as they are about performance.
Fit Sensor 2
These shorts are made of moisture-wicking material that the company claims can help your thermoregulation, with an antibacterial memory foam chamois. Powerband cuffs on the bottom keep the shorts in position, while night riders will appreciate the reflective accents in the design.
Padded Cycling Shorts
This Amazon best-seller might not have some of the qualities the more expensive options will offer, but over a thousand positive reviews prove that they can get the job done for beginners and hobby riders. The six-panel design is made of moisture-wicking breathable material, and there’s 3D gel padding in “key areas” for comfort.
3D Padded Bicycle Quick-Dry Pants
Another budget option, these inexpensive shorts can still get the job done. Gel padding will keep your bottom comfortable, while a silicone leg particle gripper will prevent your shorts from sagging.
If you’re looking for a better fit than the standard spandex shorts, these might be the ones for you. They’re built using the brand’s Fondo Fit, which leaves some extra space for your quads, along with a slightly longer inseam.
Elite Escape Shorts
Pearl Izumi’s shorts are made for a smooth ride, with specialized fabric in selected panels for enhanced moisture transfer. The chamois, made from four-way stretch material, is designed to keep your skin dry.
Elite Escape Bib Shorts
This bib takes everything that makes the shorts above worth a ride, adding an upper for those who prefer the top support. The upper is mesh to keep the top comfy, too.
Przewalski Cycling Bib Shorts
This highly-reviewed budget bib features 4D molded construction and multiple pads for comfort, along with an ergonomic, high density foam chamois.
CB Carbon 2 Padded Bib Shorts
This high-tech bib is fit for high mileage rides, with an ergonomic fit and compressive fabric that aims to increase blood flow. The brand claims the Aero Lazer band at the thigh also improves aerodynamics and muscle support.
Ranger Cargo Short
Mountain bikers need shorts too. Some of the best come from Fox, whose Ranger cargo model feature a removable liner and EVO chamois. Bonus: pockets for days.
Hummvee Baggy Cycling Short
These durable mountain shorts from Endura have both zipped air vents and zipper pockets for extra storage. The seat pad can also be removed.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below