Archive | Shorts

SMP4Bike Women’s Special Wear Cycling Bib

smp

 I always thought women had smaller bladders than men.  Not so, says Dr. Oz. The walls of a woman’s bladder are only slightly thinner.  However the placement of the bladder in a woman’s body cavity is significantly different from men– especially after childbirth, straining and menopause.

I don’t know about you, but  I drink a lot of fluid before a ride and can’t tell you the number of times I have to use the can before I leave the house.   My constant need to pee has made me shy away from any desire to own a pair of bib shorts.

By their very nature, bib shorts confuse me.  I don’t know why men swear by them.  I can’t seem to figure out how to wear one (like wearing tights and a leotard–which goes first?).  Do I wear a bra underneath the bib when I don’t usually wear a bra at all?  If I have to strip down to take a piss on the side of the road (even if it’s behind a tree), then I’d better show a little modesty, or risk getting arrested, right?

And, what if I’m using a porta-potty? I don’t want to have to take off my jersey and hold it in my hand while I’m taking care of business in such cramped quarters.  Better to take the cycling jersey off, while outside the can, and and put it back on afterward.  A bra can help in this case as well.

But with all these bib-related problems, why even bother?

If your body is not young, buff and perfect, and you don’t want your soft sides hanging over the edge of your shorts or the waistband digging into your waist, then a pair of  bib shorts offers a terrific option for both comfort as well as slim looking lines.

I wouldn’t be even be writing about bib shorts if it weren’t for a particularly ingenious design by the folks who invented the remarkably comfortable Avant saddle.  The two go hand in hand.  If you really want to buy one of these great bibs I’m about to tell you about, then you must also commit to one of their saddles.

What is SMP’s marvelous solution?

A zipper.

Yes, a zipper hidden in the thick chamois.  It’s a zipper an inch and a half shorter on each end than the length of the chamois from front to rear.

A zipper you ask?  Isn’t that uncomfortable?

Not if you have an SMP saddle.  That’s the point.  In my saddle review,  I said the model for the saddle  must have been  a well-endowed man.  Here’s how Selle SMP describes their innovation:

You can finally satisfy your physiological needs without the stress caused by undressing.  The central channel of the Smp4bike saddle range allowed us to develop an innovative pair of shorts with a zip in the lower part.  The zip neither rubs on the saddle nor constricts your private parts: you only realize it’s there in the moment of need.

Brilliant.

That’s right.  You can unzip, take a step sideways, squat, and pee behind a tree just like the guys.  No shivering.  No over exposure to the elements.  No wishing you were wearing a bra.  You simply squat and go.

Are there any drawbacks to the design?  Mostly no.   But if your breasts are sensitive and the straps don’t lay flat against your anatomy in just the right place, you might find them a little annoying and prefer the additional protection a bra offers.  Or, if you try and wear these bib shorts on a bike without an SMP saddle, you will be very uncomfortable and probably very sore.

I will warn you, if you need to do more than pee,  I would suggest pulling down the bib just like any other pair of shorts.  There is no easy way.  Without going into details, my experience suggests that the zipper on these shorts was designed to make it easy to take a leak.  So, drink up and enjoy this incredible design.  The fear of not being able to find a bathroom should no longer worry you.

But I do have one other question for you, Dr. Oz. Why does the urge to pee sometimes seem just as strong for two teaspoons as it does for two cups?

BG Specialized RBX Cycling Shorts

The Specialized RBX Cycling Shorts were designed for long distance performance which is why Specialized recommended them for my first century(s) — the 2011 Seattle to Portland ride (100 miles/day for two days).

The RBX chamois is larger than those in most other shorts I’ve tested, reaching far enough to offer protection to the upper inner and posterior thigh, with high density foam positioned under the sit bones for pressure relief and maximum comfort. The chamois is seamless and stretchable, its edges taper off in thickness and are reinforced with minimum stitching to avoid chafing.

I love Specialized’s “VaporRize” fabric, which has the required wicking ability for fast evaporation, but also stretches in all directions, providing comfort hour after hour. The panel construction is unique, making the seams less noticeable and less likely to cause irritation.

Even though I love BG products, I have to say that these shorts just weren’t cut for my body type.  The 2 inch wide waistband is designed to be non-binding, but with my extremely short waistline there’s enough elastic to folds over itself having the opposite effect. In addition, the almost 1 1/2″ wide bottom leg gripper elastic is a little loose on my legs even though I was wearing their size small.   I was able to increase the bulk around the elastic by folding it up once, and this adjustment made all the difference.   By doing so, I reduced the 9″ inseam  slightly so that it was more proportioned to my size.

Long-waisted women (petite and otherwise), would do well to try these shorts, especially for rides exceeding 70 miles.

Nalini Tortora Cycling Shorts

Tortora Cycling Shorts are another seasonal 2011 offering from Nalini.  These shorts are made with fabric that quickly absorbs perspiration, carrying it to the fabric’s outer surface and dispersing it for rapid evaporation.  In short, it wicks well.  The fabric provides UV protection of 50+.  The shorts feature a UCN Lady professional road chamois made from stretchable microfiber and Nalini fabric which is also a microfiber similar to natural chamois leather with a supple surface, soft to the touch which deters skin inflammation because of it’s ability to breathe.  It is resistant to tears and abrasions and stress in the wash at temperatures up to 86 degrees.

The fit is good for women, like myself, with a short torso, and is true to size.  The fabric is lightweight and comfortable without too much compression.  The waistband is roughly 1.25 inches wide but the cut of the shorts rides lower than some other brands, so it doesn’t cinch you in the waist.  The fabric grips your thighs well and the inseam is roughly 7″ which, (in my humble opinion) is great length for petite women. The heavy duty reflective logo on the sides of the legs will crack and peel over time– especially if subject to the clothes dryer.  The legs have small silicon grippers on roughly 1 inch elastic.  The contrasting color, four needle seam construction is solid, and  the shorts are comfortable for longer rides.

Check out Albabici’s website for a list of local and online retailers.

PEARL iZUMi Cycling Shorts

These matching black shorts complete the P.R.O. Octane outfit and feature a low riding 1 ½“ waistband, contrasting side panels of white fabric, and red elastic with silicone grippers in the legs. This garment is accented with red topstitching to match the detail of the jersey. The shorts feature Pearl Izumi’s top of the line 4D chamois with lightweight multi-density and multi-tiered padding for long riding comfort. Even if you’re not a fast rider, this outfit will surely make you feel fast!

Women’s P.R.O. short (0441 Pro Series)- These are quite possibly my all-time favorite pair of shorts. The fabric is a little heavier than the fabric used for the PRO-OCTANE (style 0450) shorts, but disperses heat and dries quickly. There’s even a mesh panel below the waistband in the back to help with temperature regulation. They’re entirely black, which makes them less revealing and more flattering. The seams are flatlock stitched and offer a chafe-free fit.

The waist-band is 1 inch wide and has a slightly lower cut so it doesn’t bend on itself. The inseam measures 8”and the “3D”chamois is thick and plush and designed for 3-7 rides per week. However, it’s not so heavy you feel like you’re wearing a dirty diaper. The leg seams have a fusion-welded hem with a silicone gripper. It’s lighter and less constricting, than gripper elastic from previous years.