Chamois-equipped shorts are probably the most important piece of clothing for cycling any distance, preventing saddle sore and enhancing on the bike comfort. As the main contact point between you and the bike, the shorts you wear can make a big difference to your overall cycling experience.
The two main choices are bib shorts or bibless cycling shorts, but if you are not feeling the lycra look you can also get padded underwear to wear under ordinary clothes or baggier cycling shorts - check out our base layers and underwear section if you think this is the option for you.
So when deciding between bib shorts and bibless shorts, what should you consider? Bibs shorts offer extra coverage and support and can provide a smoother fit around the middle, whereas bibless shorts are good if you prefer not to have the extra material on your top half and are more convenient for comfort breaks.
A good pair of bibbed or bibless female-specific lycra cycling shorts will be designed to be comfortable across the front when you’re on the bike, either via a panelled bib design or a wide waistband for bibless shorts. In terms of fit and sizing, this does vary between brands, look out for wide leg gripper for good comfort across the thighs, stretchy bib fabric for good comfort across the shoulders, chest and back, and a good quality chamois for the all-important saddle interface area.