The pad is a fundamental part of the clothing of any cyclist, especially if we go cycling regularly and as a sport. When we talk about chamois, we refer to the padded part of the shorts, woven into the crotch, which covers and protects the cyclist’s genitals.
However, sometimes we neglect its importance, forgetting that it is an element that directly affects comfort when spending long hours on the bike.
In addition to protecting the genitals, the pad prevents these sensitive parts and the skin surrounding them from suffering from abrasions or impacts in contact with the bicycle saddle. The pad acts as a sofa cushion and helps that, with the passing of the minutes and hours on the bike, the saddle does not feel so hard, and we avoid pain in the sitting bones, buttocks, or hips.
In this article, we want to explain how to correctly choose the shorts you need based on your pad and type of padding.
What you should take into account when choosing the padding of the culotte
When buying new shorts, the most important thing and the first thing you have to see is that it has a quality pad and that it fits the type of cycling you are going to do. These are the main characteristics that you should pay attention to.
If the pad is very wide or thick and protects beyond the crotch area, extending down the inner thighs, it is not suitable for you.
It has to match the size of the crotch and be of moderate thickness. Otherwise, you will slip on the saddle, and you will not pedal properly.
We advise you to try on your bib shorts, ideally by getting on a bicycle to check that it adapts well to the saddle and your pedaling style. This way, you can also check if its size is right for you.
Always choose an ergonomic, flexible pad with different sections, which does not move from the crotch area when you get up or sit down.
Flip the shorts over and examine the seams on the chamois. To feel comfortable, the seams must be as flat as possible, well finished, and without protrusions or rough endings. This will prevent chafing and irritation in the groin area.
If it has very prominent seams overtime on the bike, they will rub against the skin and cause slight discomfort to irritation that will prevent you from enjoying your bike rides.
Type of fabric
The padding, usually made of foam or synthetic gel, and the chamois fabrics have to have antibacterial properties and absorb sweat quickly. Check this property in the technical sheet of the shorts.
Antibacterial materials prevent dirt and sweat from accumulating and prevent possible infections from irritation or prolonged contact with bacteria on the skin.
Also, pay attention that the pad is designed specifically for your gender. Men and women have different crotch morphology. The women’s chamois are shorter and wider, making them different designs that do not adapt well to men.
Types of chamois according to the type of route
Another very practical method to choose your ideal pad is to attend to the type of usual routes that you usually take, depending on the distance or duration of these.
Keep in mind that the longer the route lasts, the more likely it is that the dreaded crotch or buttock pain will appear and the greater the risk of chafing and irritation. That is why it is important to attend to this type of sheepskin:
Chamois for short and occasional routes
The Coolmax type chamois are for short, affordable, and occasional outings made of low-density foam. They are the most economical bib shorts, which wear out more quickly than the medium or high-end ones and are useful for occasional riders or short routes.
Chamois for medium distance routes
At a higher level, and if we increase the route’s mileage, there are the so-called mid-range chamois, with better densities thanks to the use of high-density gel or foam. They also stand out for having flat, more elaborate seams. They are highly recommended for 2 to 3 hours routes, although the price will be higher than the previous ones, above € 50 per culotte.
Chamois for long-distance routes
In cross-country outings with several passes in road cycling or for a marathon or high mountain routes in mountain biking, it is very important not to skimp on spending for the bib shorts if you want to obtain a high degree of comfort avoid discomfort or chafing.
Chamois made with viscoelastic or memory foam, gel with cushioning properties, or even with carbon grafts to reduce friction are the ones that would fall into this group. In addition, the seams are completely flat. With all this, we avoid or delay the appearance of discomfort, riding comfortably at all times. They are sheepskin that is included in medium or high-end shorts, with prices that in some cases exceed 100 euros.
We recommend that you spend time choosing good cycling shorts, always paying attention to the type of pad you have. Take a good look at its construction, the seams, and the type of padding material.
If you go to a store, do not hesitate to try it on or even ask for a test bike to check that it fits your body and is comfortable when sitting on the saddle.
To the best of your ability, we also advise you not to skimp on spending when buying the culotte. It will be worth spending 20 or 30 euros more if that means having a pad with high-quality padding and ergonomic design.