Author Topic: Shorts, Liners, Tights  (Read 1448 times)

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Offline EGHama

Shorts, Liners, Tights
« on: March 06, 2022, 06:26:04 am »
I'm not the brightest bulb, so maybe someone can shed some light for this noob.  What's the difference between bike shorts, liners and tights?  The pics on the catalog sites all look kinda the same.  Asking for suggestions would be opening up a can of worms since fit is personal, so instead, let me ask: What are you wearing? What features do you like? Advice on buying welcome.  Thanks.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2022, 01:37:38 pm »
Liners fit inside shorts, usually spandex "bike shorts" type shorts but not always. 

Biking shorts 95% of the time have the "chamois" (pad) permanently sewn into the short however some have removable liners.  They typically go a few inches past where your fingers tough your thigh when standing straight. Tights are just full-legged biking shorts, i.e., they go from waist to ankles. 

Bib Shorts (you did not ask about) are basically a biking short with  "suspenders" that keep the short up and typically feature a fabric area an inch or so about the belly button to the waist. Bib Tights are just full-legged Bib Shorts.

Arm Warmers & Leg warmers are fabric that cover just the arms or legs.  The leg warmers are worn with biking shorts when the day is expected to warm up so you need to start with "tights" but will need to switch to shorts later in the day.  They usually can not be worn under Tights as they will creep down.  Arm warmers are worn with a short-sleeved jersey for the same reason but can also be worn under a jacket.

All of the above can be made of wool (you either love or hate it) or synthetic materials.

If it is comfortable to hot temps, I wear synthetic material shorts.  If it is less than comfortable temps, I wear wool tights or wool leg warmers.  I like how wool keeps me warmer than synthetic materials and it actually does not get hot when it warms up. 

Shorts are sewn with multiple panels (sections).  I like lots of panels on the shorts as they seem to fit better and feel more comfortable when riding.  My biggest grip about all shorts/tights/bibs is that for me (about 20# overweight), the material bunches up at the waist frequently making them uncomfortable.  I really wish someone would make a short with a lower front waist that rises to a regular high rear waist as that would be much more comfortable for me.  It would look funny without a shirt but I figure I rarely go shirtless due to the said 20# (don't want to scare the kids as I ride by). 

The big thing is to make sure you wash (not rinse) your shorts out after each ride.  If you ride multiple days in unwashed shorts, you have a good chance of getting an infection which causes very hard and VERY painful bumps on your butt which may have to be cured by medicine. 

Another thing to do is go easy on the clothes dryer as hot temps can rapidly shorten the life of synthetic materials and shrink wool.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2022, 02:10:56 pm »
John gave a great and detailed description however, while all of my bike shorts have a chamois (pad) none of my tights do.

There are also bike shorts called mountain bike shorts which are typically a padded liner with a loser fitting short over the top.

The spandex in shorts works like compression shorts and can help provide some muscle support and reduce the build up of lactic acid, which is said to cause muscle cramps or pain after a workout.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline ray b

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2022, 07:44:47 pm »
What are you wearing? What features do you like? Advice on buying welcome.  Thanks.
An old guy, who like a lot of cyclists carries less bone mass than non-cyclists, I've taken to wearing G-Force cycling shorts with padded hips and a decent chamois. (Well not really leather, but we still talk like it's the days of wool and leather.) They also have a version with coccyx protection if needed.

Although not well known, they have pads made in Rhode Island and they ship out of a building here in St. Louis..., though I've only seen them in retail stores in Colorado....



“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2022, 09:45:09 pm »
.... I've taken to wearing G-Force cycling shorts with padded hips and a decent chamois.
What is the purpose of padded hips?  In case you crash???  I'm getting up in age but maybe there is something I get to look forward to in later years?

Offline ray b

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2022, 11:07:35 am »
.... I've taken to wearing G-Force cycling shorts with padded hips and a decent chamois.
What is the purpose of padded hips?  In case you crash???  I'm getting up in age but maybe there is something I get to look forward to in later years?
Most cyclists - racers in any case - have a slightly lower bone mass than say, competitive marathon runners. I most recently reviewed this information a few years ago while waiting for a trauma orthopedist to wire my distal humerus back together after high-siding my track bike on the way home from work.

Newer armor is relatively thin, but quite effective at energy dissipation. I'll do whatever I can to avoid a broken hip - not in case I crash, but when I crash.  (And yes, I now also wear elbow/forearm protection.)
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline EGHama

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2022, 01:35:44 pm »
Thanks for the explanation.  So if I got this correct, the liners, for all intents and purposes, function as "underwear", sometimes meant to be worn under shorts, and depending on model, sometimes built or integrated into the shorts?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2022, 01:40:43 pm »
Basically.

Just so you understand more clearly, cyclists wearing cycling shorts do NOT wear underwear.  The "chamois" (pad or liner) basically is designed to prevent the skin from being rubbed sore by sliding.  If you wear underwear in addition to the bike shorts, it can cause friction which will cause soreness.

I would guess the vast majority of cyclists use regular cycling shorts, i.e. the pad sewn to it and not use liners.

Tailwinds, John

Offline EGHama

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2022, 01:54:33 pm »
Thanks, this clears up a lot in my mind.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2022, 08:58:49 am »
I would guess the vast majority of cyclists use regular cycling shorts, i.e. the pad sewn to it and not use liners.

I rarely disagree with John, but I believe this statement needs a handful of qualifiers.  The vast majority of first world cyclists who regularly cover more than 20 miles in a ride probably do use regular cycling shorts.  There are a lot of third world cyclists.  Also, there's a lot of transportation cyclists outside the U.S. riding to work or stores in dense cities; I believe the mean cycling distance in Denmark and the Netherlands is less than 5 km (3 miles).  These people either don't have, or don't need, specialized clothing.
 
But if you're thinking about bicycle touring, or riding enough to get into shape for touring, cycling-specific clothing makes a lot of sense.  If you decided to start swimming for physical fitness, would you buy a swimsuit to wear or just go jump in the pool wearing blue jeans cut-offs and a t-shirt?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2022, 09:23:08 am »
I rarely disagree with John, but I believe this statement needs a handful of qualifiers.  The vast majority of first world cyclists who regularly cover more than 20 miles in a ride probably do use regular cycling shorts.
I totally agree.  I did the classic mistake of thinking American-centric in that I was only thinking about it in a touring sense probably by a North American.  I will offer to stroke a pump 100 times during someone's flat as penance. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline Patco

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2022, 11:22:23 pm »
John Nettles mentioned the bunching around the waist of "all shorts/tights/bibs", making them uncomfortable. I will not disagree about the shorts and tights, but within the last two years I switched to bibs, and OMG...my rides have become incredibly more comfortable. Now, if I can just find a saddle that equals the comfort of the bibs. 

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2022, 12:04:12 am »
.... within the last two years I switched to bibs, and OMG...my rides have become incredibly more comfortable. Now, if I can just find a saddle that equals the comfort of the bibs.
I have 3 pairs of tights and unfortunately, they are all the same in the gut for me.  Course if I lost 20# this probably would not be an issue.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2022, 07:33:00 am »
John Nettles mentioned the bunching around the waist of "all shorts/tights/bibs", making them uncomfortable. I will not disagree about the shorts and tights, but within the last two years I switched to bibs, and OMG...my rides have become incredibly more comfortable. Now, if I can just find a saddle that equals the comfort of the bibs.
FWIW, I have never found shorts or tights to have a problem with comfort due to "bunching around the waist" making them uncomfortable.  For me I found bibs to be a solution looking for a problem to solve since shorts stayed up and were comfortable.  I figured bibs had a big advantage for really skinny guys (usually racers) who can't keep shorts up or guys with big guts.  I am much closer to having the latter problem than the former, but still find shorts comfy.

Sometimes my more slippery tights can have issues staying up when worn over shorts, but if I plan to wear them all day I wear then under the shorts.  If I plan to wear them just while until it warms up I just deal with pulling them up or I wear leg warmers instead.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Shorts, Liners, Tights
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2022, 09:15:55 pm »
As another option, I haven't worn 'cycling' shorts, tights or bibs in well over a decade except while exculsively mountain biking. On tour, commuting or for general on/off road riding, I wear wool boxer briefs and nylon shorts. If it's cold I may add long underwear of different weights or rain pants for cold, wet conditions or as wind pants after riding. I'm in western OR so we do get our share of cool, wet days. This system has worked for years for commuting and tours over a year in duration. On long tours, I'll bring a pair of synthetic pants with zip off legs as a back up riding pair or for my fancy, in-town evening wear!

With everything touring, YMMV and ride your own ride...no matter what the industry says  you should be doing.

Jay
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