How to Choose Bike Shorts

How to Choose Bike Shorts

Bike shorts may not be very multipurpose (we wouldn’t grocery shop in them, per se) but they keep you comfortable on long bike rides. Here’s some basic info to help you choose shorts that fit your needs.

Mountain Biking and Road Biking

Though they share similarities – padding in the seat area, freedom of movement—mountain bike shorts and road bike shorts are styled very differently. Road bike shorts are stretchy and form fitting. Because there are no loose materials, they’re very aerodynamic and won’t slow you down. Mountain bike shorts, also called transition shorts, are baggy and abrasion resistant on the outside. They look like shorts you might wear anywhere. However, they also include built-in liner shorts that are form fitting and padded.

Bibs vs. Shorts

Road bikers have a choice between bib-style shorts or standard road bike shorts. Bibs come up higher over the stomach and back, and include shoulder straps. Like standard shorts, they’re form fitting, made of stretchy material, and include a chamois pad in the seat area. The biggest advantage of bibs is that they don’t dig in at the waist as you bend forward. Those that try bibs usually fall in love with the comfort. However, they’re more expensive than shorts. Bib bike shorts can also be harder to fit, as your height plays a large role in whether or not they’ll be comfortable.