cycling shorts advice wanted - more or less spandex better?



DNAtsol

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Sep 5, 2007
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I've been looking at a number of cycling shorts (who knew there would be sooo many to choose from). One thing I've noticed is than many shorts use "muscle support" as a important feature. In looking at the fabrics I've noticed these tend to differ in the amount of spandex (10-18%).

So, which end of the spectrum provides better muscle support? Lots of spandex and less lycra or more lycra and less spandex?

Thanks for any help
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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DNAtsol said:
I've been looking at a number of cycling shorts (who knew there would be sooo many to choose from). One thing I've noticed is than many shorts use "muscle support" as a important feature. In looking at the fabrics I've noticed these tend to differ in the amount of spandex (10-18%).

So, which end of the spectrum provides better muscle support? Lots of spandex and less lycra or more lycra and less spandex?

Thanks for any help

Go with what's comfy. Simple.
 

Stu07

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Dec 13, 2006
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DNAtsol said:
So, which end of the spectrum provides better muscle support? Lots of spandex and less lycra or more lycra and less spandex?
Lycra is a spandex - it is the trademarked name (owned by Invista) of a brand of spandex/elastane. So you question is, I think, not lycra vs spandex, but lycra vs polyester (or sometimes nylon) percentages.

Muscle compression products usually have somewhere in the region of 20% elastane, however this is not a hard and fast rule. Other factors are also important - design of the garment, quality and density of the fabric (too light regardless of amount of elastane and it cannot provide sufficient muscle compression).

But generally for muscle compression there is a sweet spot re % of elastane - too high and it is too stretch and not compressive enough, not enough it is too restrictive and just "tight" rather than being compressive.
 

531Aussie

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Apr 11, 2004
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Yeah, I reckon you've gotta go with what's comfortable, especially (obviously) on longer rides. I like a bit a ball room, so I can't imagine I'd appreciate much 'compression' around the upper thigh area. :)

From my understanding, some lycra is more stretchy, more comforming, almost second skin-like, and therefore more comfortable, but won't last as long coz it's thinner. Other stuff is less stretchy and conforming, but will last a bit longer. Generally, I've found Nalinis to be the former (thinner, more stretchy/conforming, more comfortable, but not super-long-lasting), and most other brands (Giordana, Santini and Vermarc) a little less comfy, slightly 'firmer-feeling', but slighly longer lasting.

caveat: I've never used Assoseseses. :) I usually buy Nalini bibs off the discount rack for $65.
 

alienator

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531Aussie said:
From my understanding, some lycra is more stretchy, more comforming, almost second skin-like, and therefore more comfortable, but won't last as long coz it's thinner. Other stuff is less stretchy and conforming, but will last a bit longer. Generally, I've found Nalinis to be the former (thinner, more stretchy/conforming, more comfortable, but not super-long-lasting), and most other brands (Giordana, Santini and Vermarc) a little less comfy, slightly 'firmer-feeling', but slighly longer lasting.

caveat: I've never used Assoseseses. :) I usually buy Nalini bibs off the discount rack for $65.

I wear Assos, and it's muy nice. It's durable enough and supportive enough, all while lifting and separating my breasts.

I'm 'bout to give Descente Ultima bibs a try, so we'll see how that goes.
 

DNAtsol

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Stu07 said:
Muscle compression products usually have somewhere in the region of 20% elastane, however this is not a hard and fast rule. Other factors are also important - design of the garment, quality and density of the fabric (too light regardless of amount of elastane and it cannot provide sufficient muscle compression).
This is very useful info. Thanks.

I'm wearing just your basic Sugoi short and I find them quite comfy but then again my longest ride ever was yesterday @ 30.2 miles so I'm exactly hardcore....yet :D. I'm training for a single 40, topping 200 for the month and adding climbing to my routine and figured a pair of shorts that had some compressive element might be useful.

I had a feeling that the amount of "elastane" had a role to play but was not sure which direction it went (hence the question). So, if I'm understanding this correctly, higher % elastane more muscle support, though other factors do need to be taken into consideration.

Thanks also for the other comments. They reinforced some of those heurisitcs I've been thinking about like "Damn well better have a good chamois (anyone have experience with gels?), and flat seams in all the right places (only 8 panels for me baby)"

As a follow up, I've been reading mixed reviews on "bonded" seams. Some folks are saying they do not hold up very well but are very comfy. While it probably has a lot to do with quality of contruction I can't help think that bonded is just not the right approach for seams that experience repetitive strain from long distance, high cadence riding.
 

DNAtsol

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531Aussie said:
caveat: I've never used Assoseseses. :) I usually buy Nalini bibs off the discount rack for $65.
I cannot bring myself to buy Assos after a scathingingly hilarious "open letter" posted by a blogging friend of mine. I just see the name a start laughing. I have no idea if they are any good or not but the damage had been done :D. Also, I have also been looking at Nalini so it's good to know I'm not totally off the track. Others I'm been considering include Castelli, Desente and Izumi.
 

bernmart

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Jun 4, 2005
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DNAtsol said:
I cannot bring myself to buy Assos after a scathingingly hilarious "open letter" posted by a blogging friend of mine. I just see the name a start laughing.

Would/Can you share the text of the letter? I'd love to be able to laugh, even internally, at friends who break the bank to buy Assos, while I peddle along in my Volers.