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Slowtwitch Forums: Triathlon Forum:
Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts

 

   


suahoi

Feb 29, 12 6:04

Post #1 of 16 (3867 views)
Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts Quote | Reply

What's the difference? I've only ever used the cheapest versions offered by various companies.. What am I missing out on? Anything?


hiro11

Feb 29, 12 7:50

Post #2 of 16 (3796 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I've made the mistake of buying bottom of the line Sugoi, Pearl Izumi and Castelli stuff and they all were pretty crappy: badly fitting uncorfortable pads, chafe-prone legs, cheapo flimsy fabric that offers no compression, wears out quickly and doesn't reduce friction, raised seams with uneven stitching, waistbands that wear out. In contrast, the higher-end stuff from those brands are all pretty good. The difference is generally clear after about 25 miles: good quality stuff stays out of your way and stays comfortable. Details matter when you're sweating and 50 miles from home with 50 miles to go. You end up chucking the cheap stuff quickly so you don't really save any money.

On the other hand it's certainly possible to find good stuff that's cheap. Top of the line Performance Bike stuff (Ultra 2) is cheap but actually really good. The Ultra 2 bibs are just about the best deal going in bibs these days: great waffle fabric, nice leg bands and a very well designed pad. They're also indestructable and very well fitted. They're a steal for ~$70. Ultra 2s are my everyday shorts when I'm putting in lots of miles.

IMO, good cycling clothes are extremely important. A good pair of bike shorts and a good jersey make the difference between a terrible, uncomfortable day where you just want to stop and an "epic" day where you feel like you can ride for days at 26MPH. IMO, it makes sense to save a few bucks on bling-tastic carbon stuff and get good cycling clothes, it's money well spent.


allenpg

Feb 29, 12 8:08

Post #3 of 16 (3775 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

You'll notice a big difference in fit and quality around $75-$100. Just like saddles, I think cycling bibs are personal preference and fit. I've tried $250+ shorts only to find my $100 Pearl Izumi fit me better. I've also found shorts tend to last longer the more $$$ you spend. I get about 2 years out of my Pearl Izumi bibs (worn 2-3 times each week).


"Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps"
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Borden

Feb 29, 12 9:24

Post #4 of 16 (3703 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I started with some cheap Peral Izumis from the LBS when I bought my roadie. They lasted about 6 months before they had lost all elasticity.

My wife bought me some fancy Assos jobs. They were great on the road bike, but as I went to Tri, they wadded up in the front. They have held up great though. Definitely worth the investment if you want a long lasting product.

Since I got a TT bike, I cheaped through two 2XU jobs (POS) before finding DeSoto. Love Desoto. I now have 2 suits and a set of bibs. I can't imagine ever switching.

hope that helps
--------------------------------------------------------
2014 Gulf Coast Tri Race Report - 3rd overall
2013 IRONMAN Canada Race Report - 9:50 KQ
Accelerate3 * dimondbikes.com * TeamZoot


cyclist brent

Feb 29, 12 9:25

Post #5 of 16 (3699 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [allenpg] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I agree. Go for the nice shorts and you'll thank yourself. I've been a big fan of the top of the line performance shorts for quite a while. Its hard to beat the bang for the buck, especially when you get it on sale. That being said, top of the line performance bibs ($90) can't touch the comfort and fit of my Castelli Free Aero Race Bibs. They're fantastic. In fact, i was thinking that it was time to replace my saddle last year because it just wasn't comfortable wearing my best performance bibs/shorts. I got the Castellis and it was like I was on a different bike. My performance bibs weren't even old or even remotely worn out, but the fit and comfort was stellar with the high end Castellis. Now, still be smart about how you spend money. I got those castellis from Performance on a huge sale event, plus the 10% back for the team member benefits, and those cost me $140 instead of $230. Obviously that was at least $70 more than the regular bibs, but the previous poster was right in saying we drop way more than that on some tricked out carbon stuff all the time. Make sure you never skimp on the most important stuff, which is your personal comfort. All of the leading aerodynamicists will back us up on that.

Now that I've experienced great bibs (or shorts if you go that route), I have a drawer full of formerly "great bibs/shorts" that I never touch . I wash my castellis every time between rides rather than have to go back to one of the others. That's how much better they are.

...not to change subjects, but I would say the same thing about jerseys. On the low to middle end, they are all the same (and I own a lot of them). Move up to a great jersey and they feel and perform differently. My louis garneau carbon ets (at $150) is amazingly comfortable on a long ride in difficult weather. I would say the same for my Pearl Pro jersey (at $200). Way way better in fit, ventilation, aerodynamics than anything middle of the road. ...but again, look for those closeouts, those mega sales, etc. Last year's $200 jersey on closeout for $100 or so is worth more than having 2 or 3 brand new middle of the road jerseys from this year. After many trial and error years, my motto has been become buy smarter, buy less, and buy the best you can and take good care of it. Its almost always worth it.


LuisDF

Feb 29, 12 9:53

Post #6 of 16 (3655 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [Borden] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

my first shorts were some crappy cheap Pearl Izumi's but after a while I started buying more "nicer" one (expencier too); guess which one is my fav one?

Pearl Izumi'sc cheap ass tri short... LOL

----------------
During the last loop I saw the sign for "Deer Crossing" and I actually wished for a deer to hit me and end my misery - LuisDF Zofingen2014


tigerpaws

Feb 29, 12 10:09

Post #7 of 16 (3634 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [hiro11] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

x 2 schwingggg on Performance Ultra 2's. I have been pushing the Performance bibs on Bib Threads for about 2 years in here, but since they don't have a big brand name no one seems to give them a look. Remember, that fancy 'Cervelo' or 'Assos' logo isn't going to do a thing for your taint meat at mile 80:) I rode Assos for a good 15 years and then suddenly their quality went into the shitter. My LBS warrantied the first pair after the chamois seams came undone and the 2nd pair they wouldn't warranty when the right leg elastic came uraveled. I guess they don't actually come with warranties, but my LBS did me a solid on the first pair. Tried Ultra 2's on a whim and I still have that same pair plus another I rotate out going on 3 years now. I have seen them on sale for as little as $50....crazy comfy and last forever.


fbrissette

Feb 29, 12 11:48

Post #8 of 16 (3548 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I use the ultra cheap bibs (50$ chinese kit - bib AND shirt) on any ride shorter than 90 minutes. On anything longer I use more expensive bibs. My personal favorite is a Biemme bib (150+$) that I keep for 4+ hours rides. The difference in comfort is always there but it gets exponentially larger with ride length.

If money was no object, I would definitely always ride the expensive bib. But for short rides, the cheap stuff is adequate. Since the washing machine and drying does a large part of the wear and tear, having to wash an expensive bib after a one-hour ride is not the best choice finance-wise.

Fit is, of course, ultra-important. An 250$ bib that is too large will NOT be comfortable.

Francois in Montreal


MSantos

Feb 29, 12 12:02

Post #9 of 16 (3536 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

DO NOT buy cheap shorts. You really get what you pay for. Comfort, durability, and friction are all day and night between cheap and high quality shorts. It's worth every extra penny. You'll find enough deals out there to save on them. I hand wash my clothes after each workout, preserving them and keeping off mold and stench from sitting in the hamper too long.


(This post was edited by MSantos on Feb 29, 12 12:05)


jjabr

Feb 29, 12 12:49

Post #10 of 16 (3496 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I usually ride in normal $90 price point Pearl Izumi shorts and bibs and find them to be quite comfortable. I bought a pair of the cheap Sugoi on sale for even cheaper and my balls seem to catch fire after 5-10 miles. Bad mistake and my only experience with cheap shorts. Never again.

Can't comment on anything higher priced though.


Duffy

Feb 29, 12 14:29

Post #11 of 16 (3444 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Bonktown!

____________________________________________________
"Sometimes you just have to piss in the sink."


Raabs

Feb 29, 12 14:31

Post #12 of 16 (3440 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [Duffy] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Get the best


ffmedck

Feb 29, 12 20:51

Post #13 of 16 (3332 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Don't go for cheap. May spend a lot at first but it will last


DubaiTri

Mar 1, 12 0:22

Post #14 of 16 (3271 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [ffmedck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I used to think there was no difference until I bought some 2XU bib shorts and they rubbed me raw in no time. The stiching was hard and rough - never again will I buy bib shorts from 2XU. I now only ride in high end stuff (Castelli in particular, but I hear great things about Assos too) and would never go back to cheap gear - it's really not worth the pain. Just to be balanced, their Trisuits are very good by comparison.


nickag

Mar 1, 12 2:06

Post #15 of 16 (3245 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Cheap shorts have been some of the best and worst shorts I have owned. The best ones had a minimal felt chamois in them and fit well. The worst ones had a huge thick chamois that was way too big for my small sized shorts. They bunched up in the wrong places and for some reason chafed on one leg. So the answer is, the best shorts are the ones that fit best and are most comfortable, irrespective of how much they cost. More expensive shorts/bibs may not always be more comfortable.


ChemicalreAgent

Mar 1, 12 7:17

Post #16 of 16 (3163 views)
Re: Cheap vs. Expensive Bike Shorts [suahoi] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I've noticed that the chamois doesn't last as long on cheap shorts.

   
 
 
 



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