Whether you’re a pro cyclist or just an amateur that exercises regularly, you’re probably already all too keenly aware of the importance of getting the proper gear for your rides, and bike shorts are definitely a major item. So, what criteria are you supposed to look out for when shopping for the best bike shorts?
Top Best Bike Shorts Comparison
For a start, you need to decide what you are going to use them for – mountain biking or road biking? If former, you’ll want the baggy type, with a couple of pockets on them, whereas for the latter, you might prefer the tight and snuggly fitting type. This leads us to sizing – you have to keep in mind that bike shorts are stretchable, but not too much, so you should definitely avoid sizing down. If they’re too tight, you risk cutting off circulation (well, not cutting off, but severely reducing). Once you’re settled on the first two criteria, it’s time to look at the materials. It’s this facet that’ll usually dictate the price of the shorts, so if you want utmost quality, don’t be afraid to shell out serious money. Whatever you do, make sure it’s breathable and durable, as you don’t want to constantly resupply.
6 Best Bike Shorts Reviews
1. ZOOT SPORTS Men’s Performance Tri 8-Inch Short
The Zoot Sports Men’s Performance Tri 8-Inch Shorts may not be the best bike shorts on the market, but they come pretty damn close. They’re 74% Nylon and 26% Spandex, which gives them just the right amount of stretch and comfort. You won’t be experiencing any chafing, except maybe at the seams, though this is to be expected. They feature an inside draw cord, placed at the waist, naturally, for a secure fit.
The shorts also act slightly like a compression sleeve, thanks to the Teksheen biowrap hem that provides muscle support exactly where it’s needed and helps reduce the damage caused by muscle vibration due to exertion. Moreover, this hem eliminates the need for leg grippers, thereby eliminating possible rashes or other related allergic reactions.
The ZOOT SPORTS Men’s Performance Tri 8-Inch Short come in two distinct flavors in terms of size, and they appear to be color coded. The Black/Green Flash variant is available in X-Small, whereas the Black/Graphite combo comes in Medium. Provided you choose the right size, you’ll be getting a comfortable and durable pair of shorts with unobtrusive padding and even two nice, snug pockets on the front.
2. Pearl iZUMi Men’s Quest Cycling Short
The Pearl iZumi Men’s Quest Cycling Shorts (the Quest from now on) are a great and inexpensive pair of shorts for bikers of all shapes and sizes (pun not intended). They come in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large, and mostly run true to size. Of course, this will affect the price, but it’s nothing drastic. Please, keep in mind, though, that these are men’s shorts, and size accordingly.
The shorts are made of 86% nylon and 14% spandex, with barely noticeable stitches, so you can forget about chafing for good. They also feature fairly comfortable silicone leg grippers, with moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties.
A word to the wise – whatever brand or type of shorts you wear, Pearl iZumi or not, avoid washing them in a machine as much as possible. Just take a mild soap and wash them by hand after each use; it may seem like a pain, but it’ll pay off in the long run. As far as these go, they’re not the cutting edge, but they are a great value for money, and you should definitely consider them.
3. Men’s ATD Cargo Cycling Short – Baggy Padded Mountain Bike Shorts
The long-windedly named ATD Men’s Cargo Cycling Shorts are pretty much what it reads on the tin – a pair of comfortable baggy shorts, with anatomy-specific padding. They come in three colors and seven sizes, which, of course, affects the price. As far as styles go, you can choose between charcoal, black and navy blue, and as far as sizes go, they mostly run true to size.
The shorts are made of 100% 4Ply Tason Nylon, with Spandex liner and inner liner shorts made of a Nylon/Lycra combo for a goodly amount of comfort. However, the most comfortable part of these shorts would be the Black Pearl Crotch pad, made of shock-absorbent foams for… well, obvious reasons.
If you’re on the hunt for the best bike shorts for mountain biking, you might want to check the ATD Cargo Shorts. They do cost a little extra, though not as much as to call them expensive, but you’ll feel where each and every penny went.
4. Canari Cyclewear Men’s Velo Gel Padded Bike Short
The Canari Cyclewear Men’s Velo Bike Shorts have ample gel padding, which makes them ideal for longer rides, thanks to the pad’s impressive shock-absorption qualities. The shorts feature an 8-panel design, with barely noticeable seams, which goes a long way to reducing chafing, eliminating it almost entirely. They’re made of 82% nylon and 18% spandex, which gives them just the right amount of stretch. Keep in mind, though, that they tend to run somewhat large, so size down if you’re not sure; otherwise, feel free to follow the chart.
The shorts measure 8 inches inseam, and end in comfy Softouch leg grippers. They’re completely machine washable, though you should avoid machine drying. Some might advocate hand washing them, as well, though it’s not necessary.
They are more than comfortable, provided you pick the right size, so keep in mind that these tend to run a bit large. They come in five sizes, from Small to XX-Large, but the sizing chart is somewhat off, so mind that. Other than that, these are nearly perfect, quite comfortable, and, best of all, more than affordable.
5. Santic Cycling Shorts Biking Bicycle Bike Shorts Black Padded
The Santic Cycling Shorts come with very little bells and whistles – these are just plain bike shorts, designed to be cool and comfortable. They come in three distinct flavors – black/red, black and gray, and each variant seems to have a different sizing chart, which is a little off-putting. Still, once you get through this, you’ll end up with a great looking and, most importantly, comfortable pair of shorts. One thing to keep in mind though – these tend to run slightly small, so it might be prudent to size up.
The fabric is polyester throughout, with a ventilated panel in the back. Yes, the panel is see-through, but only as long as you hold it against a light background; on you, they won’t show anything you don’t want to. You really don’t have to worry about mooning anyone, but if it makes you feel better, feel free to wear underwear.
The Santic Cycling Shorts have generous padding, which recommends them for long rides, but also some light mountain biking. Just watch out for those sizing charts.
6. Canari Men’s Cyclewear Canyon Gel Baggy Shorts
With the Canari Men’s Cyclewear Canyon Gel Baggy Shorts, you won’t have to fear going commando, as these are quite baggy, with lots of breathing room. Speaking of which, they’re quite well ventilated, and let your skin breathe. The fabric is polyester throughout, so you can just machine wash it and hang out to dry, it’ll be ready in no time.
The shorts feature a rear-yoke waist adjustment panel and an elastic waist with draw cord for secure fit. There are mesh-lined side-seam cargo pockets on each leg, large enough for a small to medium smartphone. For shock-absorption, the shorts make use of a GEL Pro cycle pad. It’s not overwhelming, to be honest, but it provides more than enough padding for intense rides.
When you have to walk through campus to lectures at 3, but have to mountain bike at 5, then the only choice are the Canari Men’s Cyclewear Canyon Gel Baggy Shorts. Well, maybe not the only, but definitely one of the best. Watch out for sizes, though, as the waist tends to be a bit tight, while the rest runs large. If in any way possible, try them on before buying.
On a balance, there’s not really a clear winner between these six pairs of bike shorts, although some recommendations can be mind. For a budget-happy buy, you might want to go for the Pearl iZumi. For absolute quality (and matching price), take the Zoot Sports, but if you’re that type of person that can’t trust anything that’s not made in the US of A, then the Aero Tech Designs (ATD) are your kind of thing. Both Canary products are great, and inexpensive at that, the question is whether you prefer road biking (take the Velo) or mountain biking (the Canyon). Finally, for the best quality to price ratio, there’s the Santic Cycling Shorts. Happy shopping!