Cycling short group test
Choosing the right pair of shorts is essential to a comfortable and healthy time in the saddle, the number of panels and type of chamois or insert are dependant on the amount and type of riding you plan on doing. The more panels, the better the fit and higher performance the short tends to be whereas the more technical and performance oriented the short is, the less padding it is likely to have - although it may be better quality and designed padding.
Here's some of the best shorts out there that we've picked out for review.
| Verdict |
Almost full marks for our favourite performance short
Sizes: S- XXL
Cannondale have always offered comfortable and good looking shorts for the whole spectrum of cyclists including women specific shorts too. Pricing is competitive and quality high, so you won’t be disappointed.
As the name suggests these are a short for everyday use, they’re a no-frills choice aimed at providing a stylish and comfortable ride.
The lycra/nylon fabric is lightweight and breathable to aid wicking and permit year-round use, suitable also for use under leggings in the winter. Insert padding is more generous than performance shorts, ideal for commuting and touring uses too, making this short a versatile choice for any type of riding.
Strong gripper elastic legs keep the short and chamois in place, preventing bunching at the groin, whilst the 8-panel design enables a good fit and freedom of movement. Styling is plain yet classic, perfect for the job in hand.
| Verdict |
Durable and honest pair of lycra shorts for all types of riding.
Endura 6 Panel shorts
Endura: 01506 497749, www.endura.co.uk
British company Endura design products suitable for our mixed climate and a variety of bike uses too. The 6 Panel short is their entry level lycra short, and bearing in mind a 4-panel short is usually considered entry level, it makes them pretty good value for money. Apart from the anatomic panel cut and stretchy Polyamide/Lycra fabric, the shorts have a wide and very comfortable waistband, ideal for relieving pressure in a bent over position. Leg grippers too are chunky for a secure fit.
The padded insert boasts an antibacterial synthetic pad and is contoured for a close, and above all, a comfortable fit. Padding is sufficient for novice and occasional cyclists who generally require a bit more relief, yet retains a sleek non-restrictive fit.
Colour choice is plain black or with blue flashes on each leg if you want to break the all-black mould!
| Verdict |
Total bargain price with extra panels for a better fit.
Scott Kosto Shorts
Scott: Tel: 01670 712129, www.scottusa.com
A stylish baggy short with removable liner for the best of both worlds; comfort with casual styling.
From the outside you see a baggy, loose fitting short with handy mesh pockets to the front a Velcro secure pocket on the rear, no need to worry where you can keep you keys and a multi-tool safe and out of the way!
The nylon fabric is lightweight yet surprisingly tough and durable, the zippered fly and longer leg style replicates that of casual non-biking shorts, so you can whip out the liner and wear them to beach if you like. Inside, the lightweight mesh liner is designed to absorb sweat and keep you cool and dry, a close fit holds the padded insert in place whatever type of riding you’re doing.
The Multi Level Pad provides more cushioning where it’s needed and less where it’s not, to prevent a bulky pad. Loops on the waistband of the liner attach to the out short and keep both well aligned for a comfortable fit, but can be easily separated if you choose.
| Verdict |
A bargain price for two comfortable shorts rolled into one, casual and comfortable!
Polaris Elle Shortnix
Sizes: 10 -18
Polaris: Tel 01246 240218, www.polaris-apparel.co.uk
Polaris offer a subtle twist to shiny classic styles lycra shorts with their women’s Elle Shortnix shorts, you could easily wear these in the gym or spinning class without anyone taking a second glance.
The Supplex and Lycra mix gives a high tech twist to a more casual looking fabric, wicking is good and comfort top notch. Unusually there are no leg grippers, instead you get a smoother line which suits the shorter cut of the short. The waistband is wide and also eliminates any bulges caused by a highly elasticated band.
With 6 panels we’re pleasantly surprised at the value-for-money price tag, a women specific fit and comfort for a bargain price. The insert is quite long and provides plenty of padding, great for novices but isn’t bulky due to its slender shaping.
| Verdict |
A good all-round choice for novice through to regular riders.
Hind: Tel ATB Sales 01424 753566, www.hind.com
A casual styled baggy short that offers the female rider a good compromise between the comfort of a lycra short and the looks and casual appeal of a baggy.
There’s no need to worry about overheating in the Sidewinder, the inner short is constructed of mesh fabric that wicks sweat quickly and efficiently and allows plenty of air circulation. It’s sewn firmly in place ensuring a good close fit and keeping the padded chamois right where you need it most, and there’s enough padding for all day long rides too without restricting pedalling.
The Richochet fabric allows good movement and flexibility where heavier weight fabrics may hinder. Hidden on the side panels are two deep pockets for keys and such likes, themed thigh leg cut is flattering without being too revealing great for off the bike use too.
| Verdict |
Good value and well thought-out shorts, designed for comfort and versatility.
For recreational use choose a lower priced short with 4 to 6 panels and slightly more generous amounts of padding, this can be either a classic lycra style short or the new baggy style depending on which you prefer.
For commuting on a daily basis opt for the best short you can afford, a baggy with separate inner short may be a good choice, so you can wear the lycra inner short on its own if you like. But if you tend to ride mostly road and are conscious of aerodynamics and need a performance short we’d recommend a well fitting lycra type short with a multi-density insert and good leg grippers. The more panels the better, and opt for the best you can afford; you won’t regret it when you’re hours from home and still in total comfort.
Sugoi’s RS short shines through with it’s additional stretch panel at the rear, 10 panels and top notch padded insert.
For a more all-round short we’d recommend the Cannondale Everyday, and at half the price, but not half the performance, check out the Endura 6-panel short.
Women have it good with a big choice these days and the Polaris Elle Shortnix are a great short for starting out and commuting. The Hind Sidewinders are competitive on price and stylish too if it’s a baggy casual short you’re after.
If you've got shorts you love or loathe or own a pair of the ones we've reviewed here then why not add your thoughts in the member reviews?