Find the Perfect Cycling Shorts and Pants for Your Next Bike Adventure!
For speed freaks: classic cycling shorts for men and women
With their narrow fit, cycling shorts have the perfect aerodynamics and are therefore ideal as road cycling shorts and tights.
Cycling gear designed for speed is slim-fitting, like a second skin. Although close to the body, the durable, elastic material offers great freedom of movement. Many manufacturers use breathable, antibacterial materials often incorporating ventilation zones for comfort.
About comfort: seat pads in the buttock area minimise rubbing and pressure. Widely used foam and gel padding should ideally be antibacterial. Premium-quality cycling shorts for men and women are also designed for purpose and for the length of each use, as nothing should press or chafe as you ride. This is why many cycling short manufacturers use flat welds or do without seams. Classic cycling shorts are usually cut a little higher at the back, protecting the sensitive lower back area with (ideally) wind- and waterproof material.
Bib shorts and bib tights for best performance
Bib shorts and bib tights are cycling shorts with straps. Straps keep the shorts up properly, with slipping almost impossible. So, these cycling shorts stay in place during sprints. With the higher cut and straps at the back, bib tights and bib shorts protect the lower back area against cold even more than regular cycling shorts. And because they don’t have a waistband, they sit comfortably against the abdomen. This is why ambitious cyclists love bibs.
Tighter cycling shorts with seat padding are also needed for cyclo-cross. When moving up and down in the saddle a fair bit, it’s important that nothing catches. Cycle clothing with a surface finish is ideal here, as routes often go through muddy terrain with spray water.
Relaxed off-road style: MTB shorts
MTB shorts for men and women combine a comfortable relaxed fit with features like removable padded inner shorts. Mountain bike clothing has specific demands made on it ‒ dirt, branches and accidental contact with the ground. This is why manufacturers incorporate robust material like nylon mesh (freeride and downhill cycling shorts have to be extremely durable) with a flexible stretch insert in the buttock area for freedom of movement. The wider fit allows for extra protectors and mesh inserts assist breathability. MTB trousers are also used for cross-country and all mountain touring.
Occasional touring: cycling shorts for men and women
You don’t need downhill cycling shorts for a cycling holiday or city tour ‒ comfort and practicality matter here. So we recommend trekking shorts for men and women. These are usually abrasion-resistant, windproof and water repellent/waterproof but don’t look much different from regular shorts.
Keep the weather out with long MTB and cycling trousers
Cycling pants with long trouser legs come in all shapes and sizes for men, women and kids. They’re suitable for touring on cool days and in winter. Being windproof and water repellent/waterproof, they also get you to your destination warm and dry in wind and rain.
With waterproof versions, membranes (micropores in the material) stop rain water coming in. Because water vapour can escape, everything stays warm and dry inside. Long cycling pants with a water repellent surface finish or nanocoating make water drip off the surface ‒ ideal protection against drizzle or water spray. Thermal cycling trousers are perfect for cold days: the long legs keep you warm without overheating, keeping out the chill. A fleece or velours lining keeps you nice and warm, preventing the treacherous windchill effect. Waterproof trousers that can simply be pulled over your everyday clothes are also popular. This way you can always arrive safe and dry in everyday life.
And: an alternative to long MTB pants and long cycling pants can be a combo of cycling shorts with knee or leg sleeves.
Cycling shorts for men and women ‒ what’s the difference?
The differences between cycling shorts for men and women’s cycling shorts are in the seat pad fit and design. Cycling shorts are tailored to the different anatomies. Due to the wider seat bone distance, seat pads in women’s cycling shorts are usually wider. So, before buying cycling shorts, women are advised to check that the seat pad is specially designed for women.
There are also kids padded shorts for cycle touring with the whole family. It might be sensible to prepare for this, less kids get cranky mid-ride due to pressure and rub points.
Conclusion: these features make for the perfect cycling shorts
- Extra reflectors front, back and side for better 360° visibility in the dusk or darkness
- Elastic material or elastic inserts for optimum freedom of movement in the saddle
- Breathability from ventilation systems or extra inserts for a comfortable body temperature
- Few seams or flat welds for good wearing comfort
- Zipped cycling short pockets (especially with MTB shorts) so you don’t lose your keys or smartphone
- Functional weatherproof design: windproof and waterproof/water repellent materials