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What to look out for when buying new cycling legwear? [Buyer's Guide]

16 May 2022

A good pair of cycling bibs is of great importance when you set off on your road bike. A poor fit can cause saddle pain and other discomforts. If you wear the right cycling bib shorts, you will be more comfortable and stay on your bike longer. In this blog, we explain what to look out for when buying cycling shorts.

Buying the first pair of cycling shorts you come across is not a good idea. The wrong type of legwear will make your cycling uncomfortable, cause saddle pain or chafing. We have a large selection of women's and men's cycling shorts. But which are right for you? There are a number of factors to consider before buying a pair of cycling shorts:

With well-fitting shorts, you can enjoy your bike rides even more.
With well-fitting shorts, you can enjoy your bike rides even more.

The length of your legwear

Cycling legwear comes in different lengths, namely knickers, shorts and tights. Which length you need depends on what the temperature feels like when you want to get on your bike. There is a perfect pair of shorts for every type of weather.

The knickers

The ¾ cycle trousers are most suitable for the mid-season, when it is too cold for short pants and too warm for long ones. These cycling shorts also keep your knees warm during your cycling tour. We have a number of knickers for both men and women.

The bib short

Short cycling legwear are often called (bib) shorts and are best worn during the warmer spring days and summer. In combination with leg warmers, you can also wear your shorts on colder days. Our range of bib shorts for men and women is constantly growing.

Bib shorts are ideal for hotter days.
Bib shorts are ideal for hotter days.

The bib tight

Long cycling legwear are often called (bib) tights. These tights are usually worn in temperatures below 15 degrees. Always bear in mind that your perceived temperature can be a lot higher or lower than the actual temperature when choosing the appropriate legwear for your next ride. With tights, there are different choices for each weather type. Check whether a pair of trousers offers protection against the cold and whether a bib tight is waterproof or windproof. Cycling legwear often features reflective elements, so that you are visible even on the darkest winter days. We have a wide range of bib tights for both men and women.

You can also opt for a bib tight with reflective elements, so that you are also clearly visible in the dark.
You can also opt for a bib tight with reflective elements, so that you are also clearly visible in the dark.

The fit of your legwear

Cycling legwear can have different fits. A tight fit is, as the name suggests, a tight fit around the body. These tights are therefore the most aerodynamic. If you prefer something less tight, but still well shaped, you can choose a snug fit. Finally, there are baggy shorts. These loose-fitting cycling shorts are more suitable for mountain bikers, downhillers and endurance riders who want to be able to move freely.

Cycling bib shorts with a tight fit will fit your body well.
Cycling bib shorts with a tight fit will fit your body well.

Legwear with or without braces?

For men, legwear with braces are definitely recommended. Braces keep your shorts or tights and chamois in (the right) place. Women generally have wider hips, which makes cycling shorts without braces more comfortable for them than for men. Some women also find that braces don't sit well on their chest. Another disadvantage is that you have to take off a large part of your cycling outfit when visiting the restroom. So, as a woman, whether you should choose braces or not is very much up to you.

You will have to find out for yourself whether you prefer to ride with or without braces.
You will have to find out for yourself whether you prefer to ride with or without braces.

Differences in quality

Most shorts and tights are made of Lycra. Lycra is very stretchy and therefore a comfortable fabric for cycling. However, there is a difference in quality. More expensive cycling shorts wear out less quickly and are more windproof and waterproof than cheaper alternatives. There is also a difference in finishing. More expensive trousers often have flat seams or the seams are even completely concealed.

Legwear with chamois

Perhaps the most important part of good cycling legwear is the chamois. Cycling shorts and tights with chamois are just as important as a good bike saddle. With a high-quality chamois, sweat is properly disposed of. A chamois should also fit you body well and the chamois and the legs of the bib should not chafe.

A good chamois can prevent saddle pain.
A good chamois can prevent saddle pain.

A chamois looks different for men than for women. Women and men do not have the same pelvic position nd so, the chamois is shaped with this difference in mind. The female pelvis is further out, hence a women's chamois is wider at the back than a men's chamois. Women's sit bones are further apart.

A good chamois for every ride

Nowadays, there are a lot of types of chamois on the market. But how do you know which one is right for you? First of all, it is important to ask yourself how much time you spend on your bike on average. If you often go out for long bike rides, it's best to take the quality of the padding into account in your decision. The better the quality of the padding, the longer you can ride comfortably.

Bib shorts for 0-60 minute rides (Men)

Bib shorts for 60-120 minute rides (Men)

Sportful Classic

£84.60

Bib shorts for 120+ minute rides (Men)

Are your rides never longer than one hour, but you do want to be as comfortable as possible on your bike? Then you can of course still opt for bib shorts for medium or long rides!

The more comfortable your cycling clothes are, the more you will enjoy your cycling adventures!
The more comfortable your cycling clothes are, the more you will enjoy your cycling adventures!

Bib shorts for 0-60 minute rides (Women)

Bib shorts for 60-120 minute rides (Women)

Bib shorts for 120+ minute rides (Women)

Cycling without chamois?

Legwear without chamois are not suitable for road cyclists, but they are for mountain bikers or triathletes. The latter group prefers not to have chamois (or a smaller size chamois), because cycling shorts with chamois are not comfortable when they have to swim or run. For both men and women, we have cycling shorts without chamois in our range.

Picking the perfect size

To ensure that you choose the perfect size cycling shorts, we have determined which size will suit you best for each brand. Some brands run larger or smaller. That is why you can select your jeans size on our website and we'll show you what the right size for you is.

In order to ride comfortably for longer, picking the right size is crucial.
In order to ride comfortably for longer, picking the right size is crucial.

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Eva van den Berg

Eva van den Berg

Since starting work at Mantel, I’ve been reading and writing about bikes on a daily basis. This added to the fact that I am testing new products, has caused me to get excited to expand my own bike collection. I wonder what the inside of my garage will look like in a few years. Luckily I have a big garage at home!

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