10 Best Men’s Cycling Shorts for a More Comfortable Ride

Whether you’re hopping on your bike for a quick ride or pushing 50 miles, good bike shorts and a comfortable chamois can keep you comfortable in the saddle. Modern shorts and bibs with integrated chamois do not only provide some extra cushion, they also help wick moisture away, ensuring your continued comfort as you ride. Whether you’re a triathlete, gravel rider, or mountain biker, these men’s shorts are perfect for going the distance.

Best Men’s Cycling Shorts

What to Consider

Styles: Shorts, Bibs, and Baggies

Cycling shorts largely fall into three categories. Road cycling shorts are generally either shorts or bibs and almost all have built-in chamois (we’ll get to those in a second). Baggies are for those who don’t want to wear a pair of spandex thigh-huggers, like mountain bikers.

Cycling shorts are generally made out of spandex and are tight to the skin to help reduce drag. With an integrated chamois, they’re not really meant to be worn with underwear underneath. They have a highly elasticized waistband to help ensure they stay up during long rides. Still, a low waist or a waist that’s too tight on a pair of cycling shorts can be uncomfortable by exposing your skin to the elements or by cutting into your abdomen while riding.

Cycling bibs share the same features as cycling shorts, in terms of having integrated chamois, and being made of skin-tight spandex. They’re also meant to be worn without underwear. Where they differ, however, are the shoulder straps. Like suspenders, the shoulder straps on cycling bibs keep them in place. That means the shorts don’t have a tight waistband, which makes them more comfortable to some riders. The main tradeoff is that it’s harder to go to the bathroom in a bib than it would be in a pair of traditional shorts. They also put some downward pressure on your shoulders and help hold your stomach in, which might not be comfortable for all riders.

Baggy bike shorts are usually worn by mountain bikers and more casual riders. Many baggy bike shorts don’t come with a chamois, but some have an integrated chamois liner. Baggy shorts tend to be looser than spandex shorts while remaining flexible, allowing them to move easily with the rider’s legs. Since mountain bikers often wear pads, particularly on steep, tricky descents, baggy shorts are designed to fit over knee pads without getting caught on them. While these shorts are designed for mountain bikers, they’re also great for gravel and roader bikers who don’t want to wear skin-tight spandex shorts. For those baggy shorts without chamois, people can choose to buy a chamois liner or cycling underwear with some padding.

Chamois

Modern chamois are really feats of engineering designed to reduce friction on the most sensitive areas of your body that come into contact with your bike. They feature a mix of padding and a liner that is low-friction and anti-microbial. All of this leads to less irritation, sweat and salt buildup, bacteria growth, and reduced saddle sores.

Chamois are definitely a case where bigger isn’t always better. Too much padding in a chamois can have you waddling around like a duck when you’re not riding. The best chamois feels supportive without feeling like a diaper between your legs. Look for anatomically shaped patterns and channeled areas of foam that help ensure the chamois breathes well and doesn’t bunch up while you ride.

Sizing and Fit

Increased emphasis on fit has led to an expansive range of product sizes, making it easier than ever to find a pair of cycling shorts that fits your body comfortably. Some brands offer two (or more) “fit types” to cover riders who might have the same waist size but sharply different proportions. The “pro” fits are for flat stomachs and skinny quads, while “club” or “touring” fits allow for larger abdomens and legs.

How We Selected

With our keisters in the saddle at least 10 hours a week, we’re pretty familiar with what makes a good bike short. We’ve based our picks on our personal favorites, those tested by Bicycling staffers, those recommended by customers, and those that have earned high praise from other professional reviewers we trust. These choices for men represent a variety of options that fit every budget, riding style, and fit from brands known for their quality and value.

For more great cycling gear, check out our picks for the best cycling jerseys and women’s bike shorts!

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