Purpose of Bicycle Shorts Padding?



D

DougC

Guest
In discussions of saddle comfort issues, I have seen it claimed many
places that the purpose of "chamois"-type material in cycling shorts is
not really for "padding", but for "friction and moisture control". Why
do people hold this misguided belief?

The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.

One common claim is that the padding is there for protection against the
seams in the crotch area. This may partly be true, but does it require a
quarter-inch of padding to protect against seams? No, it does not--the
Volae recumbent shorts are a typical 8-panel cut, with a 9th
peanut-shaped panel sewn inside the crotch area (covering about the same
area that a chamois pad would). Volae's sales literature says this is a
"modesty panel" but it also does cover the crotch seams.

Another common claim is that the padding is there for "friction
control". The problem with this assertion is that in typical bicycle
shorts, most of the friction occurs only between the /thighs/, and the
padding extends to well under the rider's butt. There would be no reason
to extend the padding under the rider's butt, if friction control was
the justification.

Myself having had both types of bicycles for extended riding, I am
fairly certain that the reason for padding in regular bicycle shorts is
simply that--for padding. The small useful area of an upright bicycle
saddle is basically not comfortable to sit on, and the padding in shorts
is a silent testament to that fact. As recumbent seats tend to provide
much larger areas to sit on, the padding isn't necessary--and it isn't
required for any other reason either (I don't have any more upright
bicycles; I don't have any more padded riding shorts either--there's no
need for them).

Why do people make this absurd claim?
I can accept the fact that many riders haven't become enlightened enough
to have ever tried riding recumbents, but who started this silliness?
And why does it persist in the "face" of facts that show otherwise,
among so many who feel themselves to be fairly-knowledgeable on bicycling?
~
 
DougC wrote:
> In discussions of saddle comfort issues, I have seen it claimed many
> places that the purpose of "chamois"-type material in cycling shorts is
> not really for "padding", but for "friction and moisture control". Why
> do people hold this misguided belief?
>


My personal feeling on this is that it sounds better. I have own and
ride a few different types of bikes. My road bike has a road saddle
without much "padding" at all and wouldn't want to ride it very far
without cycling shorts. My recumbent, I can ride in regular shorts but
prefer the lycra type. And my hybrid, which I use as my errand /
commuter bike has a "sport" type saddle with lots of padding and I can
ride that in any type clothing as well. About moisture control, the
chamois material does tend to absorb moisture pretty well. And with the
lube stuff some people use on that material it would reduce friction as
well.

Ken
 
Dans le message de news:fPm2i.37$r%[email protected],
DougC <[email protected]> a réfléchi, et puis a déclaré :
> In discussions of saddle comfort issues, I have seen it claimed many
> places that the purpose of "chamois"-type material in cycling shorts
> is not really for "padding", but for "friction and moisture control".
> Why do people hold this misguided belief?
>
> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.


That's because recumbies sit on their brains.
Got the response you were after?
 
On May 15, 2:18 pm, DougC <[email protected]> wrote:
....
> Another common claim is that the padding is there for "friction
> control". The problem with this assertion is that in typical bicycle
> shorts, most of the friction occurs only between the /thighs/,


No it doesn't, unless you're using a saddle with a nose that's too
wide,
or the inside of your thighs rub together, in which case the friction
problem
is present on a recumbent too, unless you widen your Q-factor with
something
like "knee savers" pedal extenders.

I'd say that the friction is mainly a bit further up, near the
junction of the thigh
and the butt cheeks.

> and the
> padding extends to well under the rider's butt. There would be no reason
> to extend the padding under the rider's butt, if friction control was
> the justification.


If the chamois didn't extend under the rider's butt, then it would
create a
problematic seam where one did not exist before.

> Myself having had both types of bicycles for extended riding, I am
> fairly certain that the reason for padding in regular bicycle shorts is
> simply that--for padding.


Myself having ridden both types of bicycles for extended riding in the
last month,
including switching between the two types of bikes daily for the last
couple of years,
I am fairly certain that I can ride my DF bikes with a San Marco Rolls
or Vetta Race Lite saddle while wearing shorts without a chamois
without butt or crotch pain, but would get friction & heat
rash issues in the area I mentioned above if I rode vigorously, and
also where the pants are loose rather than form fitting.

> The small useful area of an upright bicycle
> saddle is basically not comfortable to sit on, and the padding in shorts
> is a silent testament to that fact.


If that is so, then why isn't extra padding on the saddle sufficient
such that folks wouldn't need
to wear shorts with chamois? Is it solely because folks don't want
the weight on their bike so
they can say their bike weighs X pounds rather than X.1 pounds?

> As recumbent seats tend to provide
> much larger areas to sit on, the padding isn't necessary--and it isn't
> required for any other reason either (I don't have any more upright
> bicycles; I don't have any more padded riding shorts either--there's no
> need for them).


I sometimes wear bike shorts with chamois when riding my recumbent,
especially in winter.
It helps keep me warm. This is especially useful on a 'bent with a
full mesh seat and a high bottom bracket (like my tadpole trike). As
you noted in Volae's 'bent-specific shorts, it's also
a "modesty" thing.

I'm not saying it's impossible to get butt or crotch pain on a DF
bike--that's obviously false, and its quite easy to get that pain if
you aren't fitted and riding well.

But it is not the case that such pain is inevitable, and that a
chamois is absolutely required to minimize it. Actually, in my
experience an ill-fitting chamois is itself a source of comfort
problems, and I'd much rather ride with no chamois at all than an ill-
fitting one.

The ones on the shorts I like are more like 1/8" thick rather than
1/4" thick.
 
In article <fPm2i.37$r%[email protected]>,
DougC <[email protected]> wrote:

> In discussions of saddle comfort issues, I have seen it claimed many
> places that the purpose of "chamois"-type material in cycling shorts
> is not really for "padding", but for "friction and moisture control".
> Why do people hold this misguided belief?


Who says it's misguided?

> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.


Neither do the trousers I wear to work. Did you have a point?

> One common claim is that the padding is there for protection against
> the seams in the crotch area. This may partly be true, but does it
> require a quarter-inch of padding to protect against seams? No, it
> does not--the Volae recumbent shorts are a typical 8-panel cut, with
> a 9th peanut-shaped panel sewn inside the crotch area (covering about
> the same area that a chamois pad would). Volae's sales literature
> says this is a "modesty panel" but it also does cover the crotch
> seams.


Properly designed cycling shorts avoid seams in problem areas. I think
you're confused here. The seams normally discussed vis a vis the
benefits of cycling shorts are those found in blue jeans and other
conventional clothing.

> Another common claim is that the padding is there for "friction
> control". The problem with this assertion is that in typical bicycle
> shorts, most of the friction occurs only between the /thighs/, and
> the padding extends to well under the rider's butt. There would be no
> reason to extend the padding under the rider's butt, if friction
> control was the justification.


It's friction between the skin and the saddle, not between the thighs.
Maybe you need to ride more. Preventing friction between the skin and
its environment is why cycling shorts are tight-fitting. It's not why
they have "chamois."

> Myself having had both types of bicycles for extended riding, I am
> fairly certain that the reason for padding in regular bicycle shorts
> is simply that--for padding. The small useful area of an upright
> bicycle saddle is basically not comfortable to sit on, and the
> padding in shorts is a silent testament to that fact. As recumbent
> seats tend to provide much larger areas to sit on, the padding isn't
> necessary--and it isn't required for any other reason either (I don't
> have any more upright bicycles; I don't have any more padded riding
> shorts either--there's no need for them).


Ah, here we go. Another assertion of the superiority of recumbents.
That's why all the straw men were being set up and knocked down. Poorly
written, transparently disingenuous ********.

FWIW I sit on the saddle of my bike 2-4 hours a day, 5-7 days a week,
and not infrequently 6 hours or more. A few times a year, up to 40
hours in a weekend. It's not uncomfortable except towards the end of
the 600k km weekend ride. But then the recumbent riders are moaning
about their butts by then, too.

> Why do people make this absurd claim? I can accept the fact that many
> riders haven't become enlightened enough to have ever tried riding
> recumbents, but who started this silliness? And why does it persist
> in the "face" of facts that show otherwise, among so many who feel
> themselves to be fairly-knowledgeable on bicycling? ~


And further "the recumbent is superior and those who don't ride them are
self-deluding knuckle-dragging Neanderthals" propaganda.

If you like a recumbent, ride a recumbent. If you don't like
recumbents, then don't. I'm glad you like yours. But don't waste my
time trying to convince me of the inherent superiority of recumbents.
It's just a different set of compromises. For some people, the
compromises of recumbents work better; for other people, the compromises
of upright bikes work better. C'est la vie.

A friend of mine who's got disc problems- and has already had surgery
for this once- just bought a recumbent; it has worked out well for him
and is a good set of compromises for his needs. Good for him!
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Victor Kan <[email protected]> wrote:

> The ones on the shorts I like are more like 1/8" thick rather than
> 1/4" thick.


I agree. A thick chamois just bunches up and causes problems. I have
some old Pearl Izumi shorts which have a really thin chamois and are my
most comfortable shorts. New PI's have this weird variable thickness
blue 3D thing that is not very comfortable.

Who makes good quality shorts with a thin chamois?
 
On Tue, 15 May 2007 14:24:14 -0500, Tim McNamara
<[email protected]> wrote:

[---]

>Ah, here we go. Another assertion of the superiority of recumbents.
>That's why all the straw men were being set up and knocked down. Poorly
>written, transparently disingenuous ********.


Atrociously bad attempt, wasn't it.

[---]

>It's just a different set of compromises. For some people, the
>compromises of recumbents work better; for other people, the compromises
>of upright bikes work better. C'est la vie.


Oui - et lui, c'est un troll.
 
DougC wrote:
> In discussions of saddle comfort issues, I have seen it claimed many
> places that the purpose of "chamois"-type material in cycling shorts
> is not really for "padding", but for "friction and moisture control".
> Why do people hold this misguided belief?
>
> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.
>
> One common claim is that the padding is there for protection against
> the seams in the crotch area. This may partly be true, but does it
> require a quarter-inch of padding to protect against seams? No, it
> does not--the Volae recumbent shorts are a typical 8-panel cut, with
> a 9th peanut-shaped panel sewn inside the crotch area (covering about
> the same area that a chamois pad would). Volae's sales literature
> says this is a "modesty panel" but it also does cover the crotch
> seams.
> Another common claim is that the padding is there for "friction
> control". The problem with this assertion is that in typical bicycle
> shorts, most of the friction occurs only between the /thighs/, and the
> padding extends to well under the rider's butt. There would be no
> reason to extend the padding under the rider's butt, if friction
> control was the justification.
>
> Myself having had both types of bicycles for extended riding, I am
> fairly certain that the reason for padding in regular bicycle shorts
> is simply that--for padding. The small useful area of an upright
> bicycle saddle is basically not comfortable to sit on, and the
> padding in shorts is a silent testament to that fact. As recumbent
> seats tend to provide much larger areas to sit on, the padding isn't
> necessary--and it isn't required for any other reason either (I don't
> have any more upright bicycles; I don't have any more padded riding
> shorts either--there's no need for them).
>
> Why do people make this absurd claim?
> I can accept the fact that many riders haven't become enlightened
> enough to have ever tried riding recumbents, but who started this
> silliness? And why does it persist in the "face" of facts that show
> otherwise,
> among so many who feel themselves to be fairly-knowledgeable on
> bicycling? ~


You think about the crotch area an awful lot, don't you?

Bill "not that there's anything /wrong/ with..." S.
 
On May 15, 3:27 pm, Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote:
> Who makes good quality shorts with a thin chamois?


Last year's Nashbar Slice (or Splice?) are a decent 8-panel short with
a thin, flat "chamois" (really a synthetic material of some kind) and
are made in the USA according to the label. The last time I looked
they had both that older one (with the smaller color patch on the leg)
as well as the current Slice/Splice with the long color patch all the
way up the leg. I haven't tried that newer one.

Some many years old Nashbar shorts I have and still wear (also the two-
color variety) also have a thin chamois (including one with an actual,
real chamois), so maybe that's just a characteristic of their basic 8-
panel shorts (as opposed to whatever super duper "anatomic" gel stuff
they might also have).
 
Tim McNamara wrote:
>
>> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
>> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.

>
> Neither do the trousers I wear to work. Did you have a point?
>


Yea--that a lot of people who insist that this is true aren't aware that
recumbent riders ride the same distances and speeds and use seats made
of basically the same materials, and use shorts made of the same
fabrics--the only difference being that there's no padding.

Think hard here: if the padding was there for any other reason than
simple padding, then recumbent riders would all want it too.

>
> Properly designed cycling shorts avoid seams in problem areas. I think
> you're confused here.
> ...
> It's friction between the skin and the saddle, not between the thighs.
> Maybe you need to ride more. Preventing friction between the skin and
> its environment is why cycling shorts are tight-fitting. It's not why
> they have "chamois."


This is just what seems to be commonly claimed; it's not what I think.

> Ah, here we go. Another assertion of the superiority of recumbents.


Most of the people who insist that "chamois isn't for padding" are also
people who aren't aware that recumbent shorts use no padding. So the
recumbent issue has to be brought up, unfortunately.

> And further "the recumbent is superior and those who don't ride them are
> self-deluding knuckle-dragging Neanderthals" propaganda....


The few times I've pointed this all out, there's aways someone who
simply says "well what recumbent riders use doesn't matter", ignoring
the astonishing similarities of the two....
~
 
Sandy wrote:
>> ....
>> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
>> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.

>
> That's because recumbies sit on their brains.
> Got the response you were after?
>


No--but when involved in collisions, it is true that recumbent riders
tend not to /land/ on their brains.

But this wasn't a discussion of the helmet issue, this is about the
other end....
~
 
On May 15, 4:17 pm, DougC <[email protected]> wrote:
> Think hard here: if the padding was there for any other reason than
> simple padding, then recumbent riders would all want it too.


The reason I don't need a chamois when I ride a recumbent while I
might benefit from one when I ride a DF is because on the former,
the moving parts of my lower body do not rub against anything
while I ride (well, sometimes my right calf rubs the chain when I'm in
the big ring).

On the latter, the part where the chamois can do some
good against friction does rub against the saddle as I pedal.

....
> Most of the people who insist that "chamois isn't for padding" are also
> people who aren't aware that recumbent shorts use no padding.


That doesn't make them wrong. Chamois may be advertised as padding
and
may indeed provide that function, but that's not necessarily denied by
these
same majority of folks you're talking about.
 
Dans le message de news:[email protected],
DougC <[email protected]> a réfléchi, et puis a déclaré :
> Sandy wrote:
>>> ....
>>> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of) is
>>> that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.

>>
>> That's because recumbies sit on their brains.
>> Got the response you were after?
>>

>
> No--but when involved in collisions, it is true that recumbent riders
> tend not to /land/ on their brains.
>
> But this wasn't a discussion of the helmet issue, this is about the
> other end....
> ~

Your seat/saddle/lounge chair is a helmet? You got bad fashion advice.
 
Lou Holtman wrote:
> DougC wrote:
> <snip>
>
> So you got up this morning and of all the problems in the world today
> you want this one sorted out?
>
> Lou


It seems to be widely repeated, and it's false.

Besides, I cured all the lepers in my town last week.
~
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Victor Kan <[email protected]> wrote:

> On May 15, 3:27 pm, Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote:
> > Who makes good quality shorts with a thin chamois?

>
> Last year's Nashbar Slice (or Splice?) are a decent 8-panel short with
> a thin, flat "chamois" (really a synthetic material of some kind) and
> are made in the USA according to the label. The last time I looked
> they had both that older one (with the smaller color patch on the leg)
> as well as the current Slice/Splice with the long color patch all the
> way up the leg. I haven't tried that newer one.


Thanks for the tip!
 
Tim McNamara <[email protected]> writes:

> In article <[email protected]>,
> Victor Kan <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> The ones on the shorts I like are more like 1/8" thick rather than
>> 1/4" thick.

>
> I agree. A thick chamois just bunches up and causes problems. I have
> some old Pearl Izumi shorts which have a really thin chamois and are my
> most comfortable shorts. New PI's have this weird variable thickness
> blue 3D thing that is not very comfortable.
>
> Who makes good quality shorts with a thin chamois?


Boure (boure.com), Voler (volowear.com for non custom design),
Castelli (from various retailers). Castelli is way too pricy, but the
first 2 are quite reasonable and very high quality. The newer
Pearlizumi and Assos have very thick pads. Pearlizumi doesn't have
the quality of the others, but the Boure and Voler are just as well
made and designed as the Assos, at a fraction of the cost. Also, I
prefer unbranded when possible, and those first 2 fit the bill.

Bill Westphal
 
In article <[email protected]>,
DougC <[email protected]> wrote:

> Tim McNamara wrote:
> >
> >> The problem with this claim (and that many people are unaware of)
> >> is that recumbent-bicycle shorts tend not to have padding at all.

> >
> > Neither do the trousers I wear to work. Did you have a point?
> >

>
> Yea--that a lot of people who insist that this is true aren't aware
> that recumbent riders ride the same distances and speeds and use
> seats made of basically the same materials, and use shorts made of
> the same fabrics--the only difference being that there's no padding.
>
> Think hard here: if the padding was there for any other reason than
> simple padding, then recumbent riders would all want it too.


Again, did you have a point? Recumbent riders largely lay on their
backs rather than sitting on a seat. It's apples and oranges, a point
that seems to elude you.

> > Properly designed cycling shorts avoid seams in problem areas. I
> > think you're confused here. ... It's friction between the skin and
> > the saddle, not between the thighs. Maybe you need to ride more.
> > Preventing friction between the skin and its environment is why
> > cycling shorts are tight-fitting. It's not why they have
> > "chamois."

>
> This is just what seems to be commonly claimed; it's not what I
> think.


"It's commonly claimed" is just a dodge that you are using as cover for
bringing up yet more recumbent propaganda.

> > Ah, here we go. Another assertion of the superiority of
> > recumbents.

>
> Most of the people who insist that "chamois isn't for padding" are
> also people who aren't aware that recumbent shorts use no padding. So
> the recumbent issue has to be brought up, unfortunately.


Only when you're trying to find an excuse to post your usual ********
about the superiority of recumbents.

> > And further "the recumbent is superior and those who don't ride
> > them are self-deluding knuckle-dragging Neanderthals"
> > propaganda....

>
> The few times I've pointed this all out, there's aways someone who
> simply says "well what recumbent riders use doesn't matter", ignoring
> the astonishing similarities of the two....


Let me put it to you this way: what recumbent riders use doesn't
matter to me. If I ever start using a recumbent, due to some injury or
infirmity, then it will matter to me. But I ride regular bikes and what
recumbent riders use doesn't matter to me.

I'm always baffled by the chip on the shoulder of many recumbent riders-
particularly those who turn up on r.b.t. They seem to take the niche
market status of the recumbent as a personal insult. It's just another
bike and it's no big deal. Fortunately my friends who ride recumbents
are no so afflicted!
 
On May 15, 3:27 pm, Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>,
> Victor Kan <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > The ones on the shorts I like are more like 1/8" thick rather than
> > 1/4" thick.

>
> I agree. A thick chamois just bunches up and causes problems. I have
> some old Pearl Izumi shorts which have a really thin chamois and are my
> most comfortable shorts. New PI's have this weird variable thickness
> blue 3D thing that is not very comfortable.
>
> Who makes good quality shorts with a thin chamois?


Pearl Izumi. Go for the dark grey colored insert (chamois). Blue is
the thickest, then yellow, then red, then grey.

Specialized also has a thin "century short" but I find the insert to
be too wide for me.

-bdbafh
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Andrew Price <[email protected]> wrote:

> On Tue, 15 May 2007 14:24:14 -0500, Tim McNamara
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> [---]
>
> >Ah, here we go. Another assertion of the superiority of recumbents.
> > That's why all the straw men were being set up and knocked down.
> >Poorly written, transparently disingenuous ********.

>
> Atrociously bad attempt, wasn't it.


It really was. I wonder if he thinks that he is somehow doing the
recumbent "cause" any good?

> [---]
>
> >It's just a different set of compromises. For some people, the
> >compromises of recumbents work better; for other people, the
> >compromises of upright bikes work better. C'est la vie.

>
> Oui - et lui, c'est un troll.


D'accord!