"Fat Guy in a little Coat" - I think of this song everytime I put my biking shorts on and I can still see Chris Farley singing it. Doesn't that just give you a great picture! Actually I do feel that your biking shorts are one of the most important items that you can invest in. Cycling shorts are second only to a helmet in crucial importance to the rider.
I don't know how many times I have heard from the new cycist, You are never going to see me in those spandex shorts. Only to see them a few weeks later sporting a new pair. Don't be deterred by the fact that they look ridiculous in the shop, or that you feel odd (because of all the padding) wearing them the first time. The thing to remember is that they will keep you comfortable in the saddle, even if you ride your bike all day. Surely avoiding what could be a literal pain in the bottom is worth it? Furthermore if you're embarrassed about the amout that cycling shorts reveal, or if you find their tight fit to be unflattering, you can always wear baggy shorts or a skirt on top of them.
Cycling shorts are usually specifically designed for men's and women's different figures, but beyond that the choice can be quite confusing. The trouble is that expensive shorts often look almost identical to the cheapest ones in the store. Closer examination will however reveal the differences - the fabric - more expensive shorts are generally made from more breathable materials to help keep you cool and dry - and the sophistication of the padding.
Construction & Material
The first thing which should be taken care before buying a cycle short is its construction & material. Bike shorts are constructed of panels which helps the garment to fit the body in the cycling position. Always check out the number of panels in shorts. Cheap quality shorts usually contain four panels or six panels, but eight panel shorts are the best for your body. One way to look out for the number of panels is to pay attention to the way they are hanging. If they hang straight that means the shorts consists of four panels and curved hanging is an indication of eight panels which is the best preferred of all.
Price for cycling shorts is usually based on the fabric and pad, which are used in the manufacturing of shorts. Shorts made of better materials usually cost more. Cycling-short made of nylon spandex fabrics has great stretch and durability, but they do not have the ability to wick moisture. Thus, spandex is now mixed with other yarns such as polyester to promote moisture transfer. Therefore, these special types of shorts are much more costly compared to the simple shorts made of nylon spandex fabrics.
The other feature which affects the price of shorts is the padding. Luckily fabric technology and pad construction have improved incredibly over the years and the pads inside the shorts are more comfortable and functional than ever before. It is important to understand that the main purpose of these pads is to wick moisture and to prevent chafing. Most pads have several layers. The top layer is usually made of a technical fabric that wicks moisture, breathes, and prevents bacteria growth. Thus, you should always ask the shopkeeper about the quality of pads used in the short you want to buy.
The Right Fit
The size of cycle shorts varies from one company to another, as fabrics and construction will cause each short to fit differently. So, it is recommended that you should try on several different shorts before buying. Also, when trying a cycling short put yourself in a cycling position. On trying cycling shorts should be comfortable with no bagging or wrinkles. It is also recommended that you should never wear underwear under your bike shorts as the materials used in pads are designed to wick moisture, breathe and prevent bacteria growth. Therefore, bike shorts are much more hygienic than your underwear.