Introduction to Thick Cycling Shorts
For many cyclists, a good pair of padded shorts is essential to riding in comfort. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which thickness is right for you? Thicker shorts provide more cushioning and support, while thinner options promote airflow and flexibility. Let’s break down the key differences to help you find your perfect fit.
Cushioning Where You Need It
The main benefit of thick cycling shorts is the extra padding in the crotch and sit bone areas. This provides better shock absorption when riding over bumps or rugged terrain. The padding is often made from multi-layer foam or gel inserts designed to conform to your body shape and relieve pressure. Thicker shorts are great for mountain biking or long road rides where you’ll be spending hours in the saddle.
I learned this lesson the hard way after switching from my old thin shorts to a pair with 50% more padding on a century ride. My backside was singing praises of the plush chamois by mile 70! The thicker foam pad maintained its shape better and didn’t get compressed down over time. It made a huge difference in comfort over the 4+ hour ride.
Finding the Right Fit
More material can also equate to a snugger fit, which isn’t for everyone. Take body measurements and read reviews to gauge sizing before you buy. Look for shorts with flatlock seams and an anatomical design to prevent chafing or restriction of movement. The waistband should have ample stretch yet stay put, with silicone grippers helping keep the shorts in position.
For example, Pearl Izumi’s high-end Escape Quest shorts have a seamless 3D chassis and variable thickness foam padding to customize the comfort. Meanwhile, Entry Level options like Sponeed have a basic chamois but a wide waistband and smooth leg grippers to prevent ride-up. Test ride a few options to get the right blend of padding thickness and fit.
Breathability and Overheating
Thicker shorts may hold heat since they provide another layer between your skin and the air. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics to aid ventilation, like mesh or lightweight synthetics. Strategically placed ventilation panels can also help regulate your temperature. Some riders prefer thinner shorts for hot summer riding days for maximum airflow.
During a July charity ride in nearly 100 degree heat, I was thankful for my light Rapha mesh shorts over the padding. They wicked sweat away and kept me cooler under the scorching sun. But for cooler spring and fall riding, I switch to thicker Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite padded tights to keep my muscles warm.
For long distance cycling, like century rides or bike touring, thicker shorts provide an extra defense against chafing. The padding shields your skin, while the snugger fit reduces excess movement that can cause friction and hot spots. Look for chammy materials like synthetic leather that feel supple rather than plasticky or slick.
After a rough 60-mile ride left me saddle sore, I tried Voler’s Black Top shorts with 3 layers of premium padding and anti-slip leg bands. The plush chamois cushioned my sit bones while preventing inner thigh rub, making for a chafe-free ride. A little thickness went a long way for an ultra-comfy experience.
Road Biking vs Mountain Biking
Your riding style and terrain should factor into chamois thickness as well. Road bikers may prefer less padding for aerodynamics and ventilation. But mountain bikers benefit from more shock-absorbing cushion for bumpy, uneven trails. Look for MTB-specific shorts with reinforced seam construction to handle crashes and snags.
During CX season, I would throw on lightweight road shorts for smooth crits and cross-country races. But for technical courses with big drops, whoop-de-dos, and mud pits, my Club Ride Enduro shorts with removable foam inserts supported my tailbone while shedding trail debris.
Trying Before You Buy
The best way to find your ideal padded shorts is to try on multiple pairs in person. Visit your local bike shop and spend some time test riding in different thicknesses and brands. Bend over in the shorts to see if the padding bunches or stays put. Move around to check the fit. Then you can choose the right chaomis construction and density to suit your cycling discipline and preferences.
At my neighborhood bike shop, I tested 4 models in my size ranging from thin performance to plush cushioning. The mid-thickness Pearl Izumi Escape shorts felt most comfortable for my 60/40 mix of trails and road riding. The foam pad was substantial without being bulky or restrictive. Test riding helped me dial in the perfect pair!
Caring For Your Shorts
Follow the care instructions to keep your cycling shorts performing their best. Most should be machine washed gentle cycle and air dried. Avoid harsh detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer heat that can degrade fabrics and padding. Some shorts may require special wash solutions to prolong the life of the chamois.
I’ve found that turning my padded shorts inside-out, washing on cold, and laying flat to dry keeps the padding from breaking down too quickly. I also use chamois cream to prevent bacteria buildup after long hot rides. With proper care, my shorts maintain their plushness and keep me comfy in the saddle season after season.
Finding the Right Style
Padded bike shorts come in a range of styles, from loose fitting mountain bike baggy shorts to streamlined road bike bibs. Consider the look you want and environmental factors like sun exposure. Match with different jerseys, tops and outer layers for complete cycling kits.
For casual neighborhood rides, I’ll wear loose-fit MTB shorts over my padded liner. When cruising along the coast, I prefer tight-fit shorts paired with a flowy tank, which also provides sun protection. There are many ways to incorporate padded shorts into your cycling wardrobe.
Top Thick Cycling Shorts of 2023
After extensive testing, these thickly padded shorts topped the charts this year:
- Rapha Core Cargo Bib Shorts – Multi-density foam delivers all-day comfort with muscle support.
- Pearl Izumi Escape Quest Shorts – Anatomically designed, variable thickness padding.
- Giordana SilverLine Bibs – Plush insert for cushioning combined with compression.
- Craft Active Extreme 2.0 Bibs – Seamless construction prevents chafing during long rides.
- Sugoi RS Bibs – Innovative padding adapts to your position on the bike.
Shopping Online for Thick Cycling Shorts
When shopping online for padded shorts, pay close attention to sizing charts, customer reviews and return policies. Size up if between sizes. Look for free shipping and returns to make the process easy.
I’ve had success buying from competitivecyclist.com and rei.com since they have detailed sizing info and easy exchanges. Amazon also works if you know the brand and fit. Read feedback to find the shorts that match your priorities – whether that’s softness, durability, technical features or style.
With the wide range of thick cycling shorts available today, you can dial in the perfect pair to meet your cushioning, coverage and comfort needs. Try out some different padding thicknesses and constructions to see what feels best for your body and riding style. A bit of trial and error can help you discover that “just right” fit and protection as you log the miles in the saddle.
Benefits of Thick Band Biker Shorts for Comfort
Every cyclist knows the singular joy of finding that perfect pair of padded biking shorts. When your bottom is comfortable in the saddle, you’re free to fully enjoy the ride wherever it takes you. For many, thick band biker shorts provide the ideal mix of plush padding and stay-put grip to keep you cozy from kickoff to cooldown.
I’ve tested my fair share of cycling shorts over tens of thousands of miles. And I always come back to my thick band biker shorts as my ol’ reliable go-tos. Here’s why they’re top choice for all-day comfort:
Cushy Padding Where You Need It Most
A prime benefit of thick band biker shorts is the extra-cushy padding placed right where you make contact with the seat. Multi-layer foam or gel inserts around the crotch and sit bones absorb vibrations and bumps in the road. This protects your bottom from soreness or numbness over long distances.
After mile 50 on the road, I’m always thankful for the plush protection of a thick chamois. It retains its springy loft even when compressed for hours. Thin shorts sometimes get packed down and lose their shock-absorbing powers. I’ll take my thick band over a wafer-thin pad any day!
Snug Fit Prevents Chafing
Thicker band shorts provide a snugger, compressive fit that keeps everything locked in place as you pedal. This eliminates rubbing and friction that causes annoying chafing and hot spots. Streamlined construction with flatlock seams also prevents pinching or irritation.
During hot, sweaty rides, I used to get chub rub on my inner thighs from thin shorts. Upgrading to thick Pearl Izumi Escape shorts wrapped my legs comfortably while protecting my skin. No more chafing or need for messy creams!
Say Goodbye to Saggy Shorts Syndrome
There’s nothing worse than baggy cycling shorts that sag and slip as you ride. A wide waistband is key for a secure fit that won’t slide down or gap in the back. Thicker bands have more surface area grip to stay put without pinching or binding.
After one too many mooning incidents, I finally ditched my old thin-banded shorts for beefy Pearl Izumi mountain bike shorts. The wide waistband hugs my middle comfortably without sagging, keeping me covered on epic uphill climbs!
Leg Grippers Prevent Ride Up
Thick biker shorts solved my never-ending battle with ride up and creeping. Silicone leg grippers gently grip skin to keep hems from inching up and exposing skin. This eliminates irritation and the dreaded saggy-diaper look.
During cyclocross races, my lightweight shorts always rode up and got tangled mid-dismount. Switching to thick Primal shorts with lower leg bands made riding and running seamless. No more picking shorts out of my crack after the finish line!
Bold Styles for Serious Riders
Thick band biker shorts make a bold style statement that says you’re a seasoned cyclist who prioritizes performance. The streamlined look has a retro edge combined with modern tech features. Mix and match with fun jerseys, tanks or tees for your own unique kits.
When riding with my local club, I get compliments on my bright purple Pearl Izumi biker shorts and matching jersey. The coordinated look shows I mean business out on the road! Thick shorts give you cyclist street cred.
With unbeatable comfort, grip, and padding, thick band biker shorts have my bottom covered for all types of rides. The plush fit keeps me cushioned in my saddle mile after mile. If you’re looking to upgrade your cycling shorts game, go thick for a supremely cozy experience!
Choosing the Right Thickness and Compression for Cycling Shorts
When it comes to cycling apparel, your shorts are one of the most important pieces. The right pair provides comfort and support during long rides, while the wrong pair can literally be a pain in the rear. So how do you find that sweet spot between too thin and chafe-inducing, and too thick and restrictive?
The ideal cycling shorts strike a balance between breathability, compression, and padding. Let’s break it down element by element.
Thickness and Breathability
Cycling shorts range from super lightweight and barely-there to thick and compressive. Lightweight shorts are great for hot summer riding, as they allow maximum airflow to keep you cool. However, they provide less compression and support. Thicker shorts offer more insulation for cooler temperatures and often more compression, but may lead to overheating in the heat.
Most riders find midweight shorts to be the best compromise. Look for shorts made of material in the 5”-7” inseam range. This provides enough coverage for muscle support and chamois padding, while still allowing decent breathability. Synthetic fibers like nylon and spandex blends work well. Steer clear of heavy cotton shorts.
Compression in cycling shorts serves multiple purposes. The right level of squeeze can improve blood flow to working muscles, reducing fatigue and aiding recovery. It also provides a more stable interface between your body and the chamois pad, preventing rubbing and chafing. However, too much compression can restrict movement and blood flow.
Different brands size their shorts differently, so it’s hard to define light versus medium versus firm compression objectively. Try shorts on and go with the tightest pair that doesn’t cut off circulation or feel restrictive when pedaling seated. A little bit of squeeze when standing still is ideal.
The chamios pad built into cycling shorts plays a key role in comfort. Quality pads use multi-density foam arranged in layers to relieve pressure on sensitive tissues. Thicker pads provide more cushioning and are preferred for longer rides. Thinner pads allow more airflow and freedom of movement.
Pad thickness tends to correlate with short thickness, but it’s the density of the foam that matters most. High quality chamois with dense foam do a better job relieving pressure over bumpy roads and long distances. Low quality pads compress and lose their shock absorbing capacity quickly.
For rides under 1-2 hours, a thinner pad around 8mm thick should suffice. Moving up to 10-12mm provides extra relief on longer rides of 3+ hours. Chamois cream applied beneath the shorts can also help minimize chafing and hotspots.
Putting it All Together
When trying on cycling shorts, look for a blended material with some compression, but not so tight that it digs into your skin or limits range of motion. The inseam length should provide full coverage when seated in the cycling position. For most, shorts around 7 inches work well.
The chamois pad should be dense enough to maintain its shape over time without getting compressed or misshapen. It should be thick enough to provide cushioning based on your typical ride length. But not so thick that you feel like you’re sitting on a diaper.
Finding that ideal balance between breathability, compression, and padding may take some trial and error. But taking the time to test shorts and find the right pair for your body type and riding style pays off big when you’re spending long hours in the saddle.
Comparing Thick vs. Thin Padding and Chamois for Cycling Shorts
A crucial factor in cycling short comfort is the chamois pad. This integrated padding helps cushion your backside from bumps and vibration during rides. But how thick should it be? Here’s a look at the trade-offs between thin and thick chamois construction.
Thin Chamois Pads
Thin chamois pads, typically around 8mm thick, aim to provide basic cushioning while prioritizing freedom of movement. With less material, your natural range of motion isn’t restricted. Thin pads allow excellent breathability too, for better cooling and moisture wicking.
However, minimalist pads sacrifice some shock absorption. On longer or bumpier rides, less padding means more pressure on sensitive tissues. Thinner chamois compress more readily, losing their cushioning capacity over time.
Thin pads work well for short rides under 1-2 hours on smooth roads. But they leave little margin for error in saddle position and bike fit.
Thick Chamois Pads
Thicker chamois construction, usually 10-12mm, provides substantially more cushioning for the rear. Multi-density foams absorb vibration better, relieving pain and numbness on rough terrain and long distances.
However, thicker pads may feel more restrictive, especially when pedaling out of the saddle. The extra material can trap heat too, leading to swampiness on hot rides. Overly plush pads allow more movement between your skin and the saddle, increasing chafing.
Thick pads shine for aggressive riding and rides over 3+ hours. But that added cushioning could enable poor bike fit and position errors.
Striking the Right Balance
For most riders, mid-thickness chamois around 10mm offer the best compromise. They provide adequate shock absorption for the majority of road surfaces and ride durations. Mid-level pads don’t excessively restrict movement or cause overheating.
Ideal chamois thickness depends on your individual anatomy, riding style, typical ride length, and saddle. Here are some guidelines for dialing in the right amount of padding:
- If you experience numbness or pain during normal rides, try thicker pads or adjust saddle position.
- If you feel excessively bulky or restricted pedaling, size down on pad thickness.
- For rides over 3 hours, consider thicker pads or chamois cream to prevent chafing.
- Aggressive riders who spend more time out of the saddle may prefer thinner pads.
Beyond thickness, pad density and multi-layer construction are important for shock absorption. High quality pads use varying densities of foam strategically placed to relieve pressure on sensitive nerves and tissues.
The surface fabric of the chamois also affects comfort. Seamless construction and smooth microfiber fabrics create a friction-free interface with your skin. Bacterial-resistant materials help minimize saddle sores and infections for long term pad life.
Dialing in Your Shorts
Choosing the right chamois is highly personal. Test ride various thicknesses to find your preference based on riding style and saddle compatibility. For extra protection on longer rides, use chamois cream and stand periodically to relieve pressure.
Getting the right fit is critical too. Tighter shorts increase chamois contact and reduce movement, but excessive compression can restrict blood flow. The right shorts should be snug when pedaling without overly squeezing your thighs.
Take the time to experiment with different shorts and fine tune position for a rear-end friendly ride. A little trial and error can save a lot of saddle soreness down the road.
Finding the Perfect Waistband Fit and Grip for Cycling Shorts
A secure, comfortable waistband is crucial for cycling shorts that stay put. But dialing in the right fit and grip takes some trial and error. How tight is too tight? How do you balance security versus comfort? Let’s break down the key factors in waistband design.
Most cycling shorts have waistbands around 2 inches high. This hits right around the navel for a secure hold during aggressive riding. Women’s shorts sometimes have slightly higher waists, around 2.5-3 inches.
If the waistband digs into your stomach or rides too low, try adjusting the height. Look for shorts with a front rise measurement that matches your body. Higher waists offer more core support but can feel restrictive.
Wider waistbands disperse pressure for a more comfortable fit. Aim for at least 2 inches of width, with larger sizes going up to 3-4 inches wide. This better anchors the shorts without biting into your sides.
Some brands angle waistbands to contour with your body shape. Curved waistbands can increase comfort, but test the angle to ensure the shorts don’t slide down.
Light compression around your midsection increases stability but too much squeeze can feel restrictive. Best practice is wearing shorts that feel snug but not pinchingly tight when standing.
High compression waistbands coupled with suspender straps are popular for securing shorter liners. But this level of constriction can interfere with breathing and core movement for all-day wear.
Look for shorts with features that let you customize the waist fit. Inner drawstrings, cordlocks, and velcro straps allow tweaking tension. Partial elastic backs add flex room and grip.
Silicone gripper strips also help shorts stay anchored without over-tightening the waist. But grippy bands can bunch up thicker jerseys.
Waistband fabric affects security and feel:
- Smooth, lightweight polyester/spandex blends move with your body.
- Mesh enhances breathability but can roll down.
- Silicone-infused fabrics increase grip.
- Wide flat-lock stitching reduces chafing from seams.
Avoid heavy cotton waistbands that absorb sweat and sag when wet.
The Right Fit
Getting the waist dialed in takes trial and error. Test shorts in varied riding positions to find the sweet spot of support without pinching or bouncing.
Here are some signs of good waistband fit:
- Stays in place without creeping up or down
- Doesn’t dig in, chafe, or feel overly tight
- Anchors shorts without restricting movement
- Lies flat across your stomach without curling or rolling
Adjust the rise height, cinch the waist adjusters, and experiment with grippy fabrics until the shorts feel like a second skin. A secure waistband keeps you focused on the ride, not on fidgety shorts.
Getting the Right Length Based on Your Height
Length is an important factor when choosing well-fitting cycling shorts. The right length provides full coverage when riding without excess fabric bunching up. So how do you select shorts tailored to your height?
Standard Short Lengths
Most cycling shorts come in standard inseam lengths:
- 5-6 inches – short/club fit
- 7-8 inches – regular fit
- 9+ inches – tall/long fit
But your ideal length depends on your build and riding style. Road racers often prefer shorter 5-6 inch inseams for aero benefits. Longer distances and commuters tend to like more coverage from 7-8 inch shorts.
Match Inseam to Your Height
Use your height as a starting point for selecting cycling short length:
- Under 5’5″ – try 5-6 inch inseams
- 5’5″- 5’11” – 7-8 inches ideal for most
- Over 6′ – consider 9+ inch long lengths
However, leg-to-torso proportions also affect ideal short length. Test different inseams to find the best coverage and fit.
Consider Your Leg Length
Cyclists with longer legs relative to their height may prefer slightly shorter shorts. Those with shorter legs and longer torsos often need more length for adequate coverage.
If standard short lengths ride up or cause chafing on your inner thighs, size up on inseam length. Very long legs may require custom fitted or semi-custom shorts.
Account for Riding Position
Your flexibility and riding posture impact how shorts fit too. Aggressive racers leaning far forward need greater length to prevent revealing coverage gaps.
Upright recreational riders can get away with slightly shorter shorts. Test shorts in your normal riding position when standing and leaning forward.
Consider Leg Musculature
Lean cyclists often do fine in 5-7 inch shorts. Larger thighs may require additional length and width to accommodate wider quadriceps without a too-tight fit.
Some brands offer relaxed or loose fit shorts to provide extra room through the legs and prevent sausage thigh effect.
Finding Your Fit
Dialing in short length requires assessing your body type and riding style. Stand, sit, and lean to test coverage. The right inseam allows free leg movement without exposing skin or chafing thighs.
Get measured if unsure and start with recommended length for your height. Size up or down as needed based on leg proportions and riding position. Well-fitted shorts turbocharge comfort and performance.
How Thickness Impacts Heat Regulation and Cooling
Keeping your nether regions cool during long, sweaty rides is a key factor in cycling short comfort. But how does thickness play a role in heat dissipation and ventilation? Finding the right balance is critical.
Thinner Shorts for Warmer Weather
Lightweight cycling shorts with minimalist, thinner construction allow your skin to breathe and release heat more readily. Less material traps less heat next to your body.
Thinner shorts made of lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics provide a barely-there feel that maximizes air circulation. This cooling effect is ideal for hot summer riding.
Thicker Shorts Retain More Heat
Heavier duty cycling shorts with thicker, denser fabrics tend to retain more body heat. This makes them better suited to cooler weather riding when you want to stay insulated.
More layers and bulkier water-resistant materials used in some thick mountain bike shorts also limit breathability and the release of heat and sweat.
Some thicker cycling shorts aim to balance sturdiness with cooling via strategic venting:
- Mesh paneling in moisture-prone areas
- Laser-cut holes allow air circulation
- Zippered vents provide adjustable airflow
But more ventilation can compromise abrasion resistance on rough terrain. Thickness and cooling are often at odds.
Moisture Wicking Fabrics
Regardless of short thickness, moisture-wicking performance fabrics aid cooling. Polyester/nylon blends and quick-dry materials pull sweat off the skin and dry fast, preventing heat-trapping wetness.
Some brands apply anti-odor treatments to fabrics to prevent bacterial buildup that causes swampiness. Quality chamois are breathable too.
Thicker shorts provide more wind resistance for the front and legs. This blocks cooling airflow on quick descents. Leaner shorts allow wind to penetrate for added ventilation.
Some brands combat this with strategically placed mesh panels along the thighs and side panels.
Finding Your ideal Thickness
Determine ideal short thickness based on your typical riding temperatures and need for insulation versus ventilation.
During hot summer riding, go as thin and lightweight as possible without sacrificing durability or padding. For colder temperatures, thicker shorts with wind-resistant panels may be preferable.
Testing different shorts across a range of outside conditions helps identify your preferred thickness for heat regulation needs.
Thick Shorts Pros for Road Biking and Mountain Biking
Thicker cycling shorts provide unique benefits for vigorous riding. But are thicker shorts best for road, mountain, or both? Here’s a look at why thick shorts shine for each discipline.
Cushioning for Road
On long road rides, extra thick chamois padding helps relieve pressure on sensitive tissues. Multi-density foam and layered construction better absorb vibration from miles of pedaling.
The added insulation of thicker fabric provides warmth on brisk descents. Wind-resistant panels block chilling airflow.
Thicker construction also holds up better to hours in the saddle. Minimalist road shorts can compress and lose shape over time.
Durability for Mountain
Thick mountain bike shorts stand up to rugged terrain. Burly fabrics resist tears, abrasion, and repetitive impacts from rocks and crashes.
Added thickness cushions falls and provides an extra layer of protection. Lightweight spandex-only shorts tear easily on brush and debris.
Thicker shorts keep you warmer on long climbs and insulate better for lift-assisted descents. Their wind resistance helps in colder climes too.
Thicker cycling shorts multitask well across disciplines. Their durability suits them for gravel and cyclocross as well as trail riding.
The cushioning and wind-blocking also aids road cycling in variable conditions. Racers may prefer thinner shorts, but thicker shorts work well for century rides.
From a cost perspective, thicker shorts provide more versatility across seasons and cycling styles with fewer items needed.
Downsides of Thickness
However, thickness has some disadvantages to consider:
- Reduced breathability and ventilation
- More restrictive when pedaling
- Added weight vs. lightweight shorts
- Can enable poor bike fit and position errors
The ideal short combines durability with minimize bulk. Look for shorts with protective paneling in key areas instead of full-thickness coverage.
Strategically placed mesh aids ventilation. Quality multi-density chamois prevent excessive padding. Fitted cuts reduce restriction.
Test ride shorts of varying thickness for your riding style and conditions. Tailored thickness boosts performance, comfort, and protection.
Thicker Shorts to Prevent Chafing During Long Rides
Nothing ruins a long day in the saddle faster than chafing and abrasion down under. While multiple factors cause chafing, smart shorts selection can help prevent this painful irritation. Here’s how thickness impacts chafe prevention.
Thicker cycling shorts provide an extra layer between your skin and the saddle that minimizes rubbing and friction. The additional fabric reduces direct contact to sensitive tissues.
A quality, multi-density chamois also absorbs vibration and shock that can lead to chafing. Thin minimalist pads have less shock absorbing capacity.
Snugger thick shorts offer light compression that helps stabilize layers of fabric and the chamois pad. This reduces movement and bunching that causes skin irritation.
Thinner shorts often have less anchored chamois that can slip and rub during pedaling. A secure fit prevents migration.
Thicker shorts made with water resistant materials don’t absorb as much moisture over time. Preventing sogginess, especially on long rides, helps minimize chafing issues.
Wet chamois and fabric directly against the skin is a recipe for chafe disaster. Thickness adds protection.
High-quality thick shorts have flatlock stitching and seamless chamois construction to prevent chafing from abrasive seams and edges. Cheaper thin shorts often lack seam-free finishes.
Downsides of Thickness
However, thickness has some disadvantages that could increase chafe risk:
- Reduced breathability can cause sweat buildup.
- Excessive compression limits blood flow.
- More fabric increases friction points.
Proper short fit minimizes chafing risks from thickness. The right shorts should be snug but not too compressive in the legs and waist.
Size up if shorts feel too restrictive. Utilize adjustment features to fine tune fit. Stand periodically to relieve pressure.
Chamois cream provides added friction protection by creating a sheer layer between your skin and shorts. Essential on long rides.
Apply to skin before donning breathable, chafe-resistant thick shorts with seamless construction for ultimate chafe prevention.
Picking the Best Fabric for Thick Cycling Shorts
Fabric selection plays a key role in thick cycling short performance. The right materials optimize durability, breathability, compression, and comfort across riding conditions.
Nylon and Spandex Blends
Most thick cycling shorts feature a blend of nylon and spandex, such as 80% nylon and 20% spandex. This combination provides stretch for freedom of movement along with strength and abrasion resistance.
Spandex/elastane content between 15-25% supplies compression. Nylon supplies durability. Modal or polyester is sometimes added to aid moisture wicking.
Look for nylon with a high denier rating, such as 400-600D. This measure of fiber thickness indicates greater abrasion resistance.
Lower denier nylon and spandex blends around 200D suit lightweight shorts. But thick shorts demand 500D+ for rugged riding durability.
Premium thick cycling shorts utilize ripstop nylon, which contains double-stitched reinforcement threads. This prevents small tears from spreading into bigger holes or blowouts.
Ripstop is essential for mountain biking shorts that encounter brush, rocks, and crashes. It adds critical damage resistance.
Thick shorts designed for colder conditions often use water resistant nylon or apply a durable water repellent (DWR) coating. This beads up and sheds rain and mud, preventing sogginess.
However, DWR treatments can inhibit breathability. Ensure the shorts have adequate mesh venting in sweat zones.
Breathable Mesh Panels
Strategically placed mesh paneling along the legs, crotch, and sides enhances ventilation. This prevents the thick nylon fabric from trapping heat and sweat.
Lighter weight mesh promotes air circulation while the nylon offers protection and compression where needed.
High-end thick shorts utilize seamless welding or bonding techniques instead of sewn seams. This reduces chafing and discomfort from stitches.
Flatlock stitching is the next best option. It lies flat against the skin to prevent abrasion.
Fit and Function
Match technical fabrics to your riding demands. Use breathable, moisture-wicking blends to manage perspiration and regulate temperature across long hours in the saddle.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Thick Biker Shorts
Taking proper care of your thick cycling shorts helps them last many miles. Follow these cleaning, storage, and maintenance tips to extend the lifespan of your favorite biker shorts.
Wash thick shorts after every 2-3 rides to prevent bacteria buildup. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent.
Don’t use fabric softener or bleach – these can degrade elasticity. Skip the dryer and air dry instead to prevent shrinking.
For between-wash cleaning, hand wash soiled areas with a gentle soap and cold water. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub stains on the chamois.
Spot clean as needed, but don’t overwash as too much agitation can deteriorate fabric.
Always hang dry thick biker shorts inside out rather than machine drying. This preserves the stretchy fabric and prevents shrinking.
Hanging shorts by the leg grippers also maintains grip. Laying flat to dry ensures the chamois retains its shape.
Inspect shorts inside out after each wash for loose threads, holes, and seam damage. Clip loose threads to prevent unraveling.
Apply seam sealant to small holes and tears. Retire shorts with major seam failures or fabric damage.
Avoid harsh soaps, heat, and excess agitation to prevent compressing the chamois foam. Let shorts fully dry before wearing again.
Cold rinses keep chemical residues from remaining in the pad. Clean gently by hand if needed.
After washing, store thick shorts folded loosely rather than tightly rolled to minimize creasing the chamois. Stuff leg grippers to maintain elasticity.
Keep shorts in a breathable, dry place out of direct sunlight. Don’t pack tightly into a bag until fully dry.
Keep rear zippers and closures sliding smoothly by occasionally lubricating with beeswax or zipper wax. Close before washing.
With proper care, quality thick shorts can log hundreds of miles before needing replacement. Treat the shorts right and they’ll support comfort on many rides.
Finding Flattering Thick Shorts for All Body Types
Thick cycling shorts are available in an expanding range of fits to flatter different figures. Here’s how to find a style that looks and performs great for your body shape.
Consider Your Size
Thick shorts sized too small can create embarrassing squeeze and bulge. Too big leads to sagging and chafing.
Refer to size charts and measure your waist and hips. Factor in compression – shorts should feel snug but not tight standing up.
Look for thick shorts labeled “curvy” or “relaxed fit” with room in the hips and thighs. Features like gusseted crotches allow freedom of movement.
Wide waistbands and high-waist styles provide coverage and support. Dark solids help streamline curves.
Avoid shorts that cling too tightly and show every ripple. Look for a mid-rise fit with room through the quads.
Clean, minimalist styles create long clean lines. Contrast side panels or piping add shape.
Mid to higher-rise waistbands give you more coverage. Look for 7-8 inch inseams to provide adequate length.
Dark colors paired with light jerseys help elongate your core visually. Monochrome outfits streamline the look.
Lower rise waistbands help elongate your legs. A 5-6 inch inseam prevents bunching at the knees.
Cool patterns, color blocking and contrast seams draw the eye down. Avoid anything that cuts your length.
See if the brand offers plus sizes, which accommodate larger waists. Look for durable, compression fabrics with a wide waistband.
Flattering dark colors disguise lumps and bumps. Steer clear of lighter shades that show too much.
Size down for a tailored fit. Browse petites and girls’ sizes, which cater to shorter legs.
Higher waistbands lend proportion, while wider legs balances your shape. Add pops of color!
For All Figures
Focus on fit, fabric quality, and chamois comfort over trends. The most flattering shorts allow you to ride with confidence.
Mixing and Matching Tops with Your Thick Bottoms
Thick cycling shorts serve as a solid foundation of your kit. But the top you pair them with makes a big impact too. Follow these tips for mixing and matching tops with your thick bike shorts.
Form-fitting jerseys complement the compression of thick shorts. Lycra/spandex performance fabrics allow freedom of movement while showing off your physique.
Bold patterns and colors on jerseys divert attention upwards. Solid shorts don’t compete.
Flowy shirts provide contrast to thick shorts for a mixed fitted-loose look. Oversized cuts add coverage.
Neutral shorts accommodate busier prints above without clashing. Stick to one statement piece.
Cropped tops show some skin between your jersey and thick waistband. This highlights your midriff shape.
High-waisted shorts help avoid gapping. Lean solid jersey colors elongate your torso.
Pair thick shorts with loose tank tops for a casual, athletic look. Racerback and sleeveless cuts provide extra breathability.
Wear high-waisted shorts to prevent overexposure. Use darker shorts colors for slimming effect.
Sleeveless bike vests add visibility over your thick shorts. They also provide extra storage pockets.
Choose a vest length that hits just below your shorts hem for clean lines. Reflective details boost safety.
For cool-weather riding, wear thick shorts with a flannel shirt layered over a tank or tee. This creates outdoorsy style.
Choose plaid or buffalo check patterns in earth tones that complement your shorts. Roll up sleeves for versatility.
Moisture Wicking Always
No matter the top style, ensure the fabric wicks moisture to manage sweat. Synthetics like polyester work best. This prevents soak through and heat rash.
2019’s Top Rated Thick Cycling Shorts for Women and Men
Quality thick cycling shorts can make any ride more enjoyable. Here are the top customer rated thick shorts of 2019 based on comfort, performance, and value.
Pearl Izumi Quest Shorts
Pearl Izumi’s Quest shorts provide a thicker blend of nylon and elastane with excellent four-way stretch. The compressive fit minimizes muscle vibration and fatigue.
Silicone leg grippers secure the 9” inseam in place without digging in. The anatomic multi-density chamois relieves pressure on long rides.
Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 5.5 Shorts
These flexible bike shorts feature lightweight compression fabric and “Body Fit Sensor” technology to map anatomy and improve support.
An inner waist adjustment system customizes the fit. The seamless inner thigh panel prevents chafing during pedaling.
TERNUA Kelby Shorts
TERNUA’s Kelby shorts provide a thicker material that’s durable yet surprisingly lightweight and breathable.
The wide waistband smooths the torso, while the multi-panel construction allows free movement. Interior silicone dots grip securely.
Sugoi RS Shorts
The RS women’s shorts from Sugoi offer a thick, high-compression blend for muscle support and vibration dampening.
Flat seams prevent chafing, while the quick-dry fabric with mesh ventilation keeps you cool and dry on hot rides.
Pearl Izumi Escape Quest Shorts
These popular men’s shorts provide a thicker nylon-elastane blend for durability and structure. The leg grippers and wide waistband stay anchored in place.
Strategic paneling adds breathability and reduces bulk. The multi-density foam chamois relieves pressure during pedaling.
Przewalski Thermal Cycling Shorts
Przewalski’s thermal padded shorts offer extra insulation for colder weather. The fleece interior retains heat while the wind-resistant exterior sheds moisture.
Silicone leg bands provide grip while remaining stretchy. The thick foam pad cushions against rough terrain.
Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts
These affordable men’s shorts feature an ergonomic multi-layer chamois for all-day comfort. The nylon-spandex blend supports muscles while wicking away sweat.
The anatomic design eliminates chafing between the thighs. Convenient side pockets secure valuables.
Baleaf 3D Padded Shorts
Baleaf’s 3D padded shorts contain an anti-bacterial, high-density chamois to reduce friction and increase breathability. The nylon-spandex material offers UV protection.
Silicone leg grippers provide compression while maintaining flexibility during cycling motions.
Where to Buy Quality Thick Band Biker Shorts Online
While you can find cheap bike shorts anywhere, getting high quality thick cycling shorts takes a bit more care. Here are some of the best places to buy thicker biker shorts online.
Going directly to cycling clothing company websites ensures you’re getting an authorized product. Brands like Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau, and Sugoi sell their shorts direct.
You can find the entire product range and take advantage of any sales or specials offered on thick shorts.
A cycling shorts search on Amazon yields thousands of results across a wide range of prices. Focus on well-reviewed shorts from known brands.
Double check sizing info and watch for counterfeit products. But deals abound if you read listings closely.
Online retailer Competitive Cyclist offers an impressive selection of cycling apparel from top brands. Frequent sales discount prices.
The website provides detailed sizing guides, customer reviews, and content to help select the right thick shorts.
Outdoor gear giant REI stocks its own Novara brand of cycling shorts along with other name brands like Pearl Izumi and Terry. REI members get special pricing.
The 100% satisfaction guarantee allows you to return ill-fitting thick shorts risk-free after testing them on rides.
The House Outdoor Gear sells thick mountain and road biking shorts for men and women from brands like Zoic and Canari. Prices are super competitive.
Read each short listing for sizing tips. Shipping is fast and free over $50.
Another top online outdoor retailer, Backcountry has a full range of biking apparel and gear for all disciplines. Sales can offer major savings on premium shorts.
The company will accept returns of unworn shorts that don’t fit. Just cover return shipping costs.
Try Before You Buy
To dial in sizing, consider ordering from retailers with free returns like REI. Or visit local bike shops and try on thick shorts in person before purchasing online.