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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best cheap cycling shorts 2022 — get a comfy bum for small change

Save cash (and your bum) with the best cheap cycling shorts you can buy

Skintight Lycra cycling shorts are the quintessential item of bike clothing, and they don't have to cost a fortune. We've rounded up 12 pairs of the best cheap cycling shorts that show you can be comfortable without dropping three figures on cycling shorts.

  • Most cheap cycling shorts still have a padded liner for comfort; it goes against your skin, without underwear

  • Bib shorts, probably the most comfortable design, can also be had cheaply, but many people prefer waist short because they don't look quite so silly

  • Don't fancy the skintight look? We've included some loose-fitting cheap cycling shorts too

  • You can turn any old shorts into cheap cycling shorts by adding padded undershorts, so we've included a couple of those too

12 of the best cheap cycling shorts for 2021

"My arse is very happy," says Amazon reviewer Simon Parnell about Baleaf's padded cycling undershorts. Keeping your arse happy is the idea of cycling shorts and you don't have to spend a fortune to get a beatific bum.

You can pay over £200 for professional quality cycling shorts, but you can get very good shorts for under £50, so we've — arbitrarily — set that as our definition of 'cheap'. Here's our guide to some of the best choices in inexpensive cycling shorts.

You might also find this useful: Cycling shorts — everything you need to know.

Lycra shorts

BTwin Essential Bibless Cycling Shorts — £6.99

BTwin 300 Padded cycling Shorts - riding.jpg

BTwin's Essential Bibless Cycling Shorts are designed for short distance and recreational riding. As the price suggests, they're not the most high-spec, but there are no nasty surprises with this cheap and cheerful offering.

For general, longer distance riding we'd go for their RC100 stablemates but the Essential Cycling Shorts do exactly what they promise and represent excellent value.

Baleaf Men's Padded Cycling Undershorts — £18.99

If all you want is to make riding in your normal clothes a bit more comfortable, then all you need is undershorts such as these from Baleaf. They've got literally thousands of favourable Amazon reviews, so while we've not tested them, we think it's a good bet that they do the job.

They're made from a 90/10 Polyester & Nylon/Lycra blend with a shaped, ventilated pad for comfort.

FDX Men's Performance Cycling Bib Shorts — £18.99

FDX Mens Performance Cycling Bib Shorts.jpg

Generally favourable reviews suggest these very inexpensive bibs are surprisingly good for the money, though as one reviewer points out, they're not Gore Wear quality.

Triban RC 500 Bib Shorts — £49.99

Triban Road C 500 bib shorts

French-based sport superstore chain Decathlon offers a wide range of well-priced shorts, including these which our reviewer found "extremely comfortable". He found the stretchy bib section offers unhampered movement, while the relatively thin panels do an excellent job of trafficking moisture from the skin.

The feature set is pretty standard with a lightweight polyamide/elastane fabric for most of the shorts and ventilating mesh for the bib and braces. The pad is comfortable whether "doing a sub-30 minute 10 on a TT bike or indulging in an 80-mile mixed terrain meander". You can choose the shorts with or without a side pocket on the leg.

Read our review of the Triban RC 500 Bib Shorts

Liv Mossa Shorts — £33.74

Liv Mossa Shorts

Women's shorts have to be carefully designed to fit properly fit. Liv's Mossa shorts look good for the money, with wide waistband and leg grips and a single layer, 4-way stretch pad.

Inexpensive women's bib shorts are harder to find, but WiggleCRC's dhb women's bibs are currently just £25. Decathlon also offers women's bib shorts.

dhb Bib Shorts — £25

Dhb Bib Shorts.jpg

Wiggle's in-house clothing brand dhb has built a solid reputation for decent gear at very competitive prices and these bib shorts look to be no exception. They feature a lining by Cytech, probably the world's top maker of shorts pads, and Italian Miti fabric, plus a silicone gripper round the legs to hold them in place. Some users report 100-mile rides in comfort with these shorts.

dhb Flashlight Bib Shorts — £35.00

2021 dhb Flashlight shorts

Coming in bang on our threshold, these shorts from mail-order giant Wiggle are good quality bibs with the added bonus of big reflective patches on the sides to help keep you visible if your rides extend past dusk.

The fabric is a fairly standard stretchy 80/20 Nylon/Lycra blend with grippers to keep the legs in place. The pad is fairly light, intended for middling-length rides rather than epics, but that means it won't feel as much like wearing a nappy as some shorts.

Read our review of the dhb Flashlight bib shorts

Caratti Sport Bib Shorts — £40

Caratti Sport Bib Shorts

The Caratti Sport Bib Shorts are the budget offering from the UK company, but perform far better than their price tag might suggest. They manage to combine an effective pad, really good fit throughout and an excellent cut.

When you first step into the bib shorts, the first thing you notice is that the cut and quality of the Cooldry fabric material used is unexpected on such a relatively inexpensive pair of shorts. The fit is good, with no excess material or tightness anywhere around the legs or straps.

Caratti have used a material that allows for four way stretch, which genuinely provides a really forgiving fit. They have minimalist branding with a simple brand name written in white up the leg, this combined with the cut make them look like they are far more expensive than they are.

Read our review of the Caratti Sport Bib Shorts

Van Rysel RCR Women’s 3/4 Bibless Tights — £44.99

Van Rysel 900 Women's Cropped Tights - riding.jpg

For autumn and spring days in the saddle, three-quarter-length cycling tights come into their own, and Decathlon has a budget pair in its Van Rysel range, designed to deliver premium comfort in cooler conditions.

These tights deliver on fit, feel and performance at a competitive price. The bulky pad might not suit everyone, but if you're looking for sporty legwear at a pleasing price, they have a lot to offer.

Read our review of the Van Rysel Women’s Cropped Bibless Tights

Baggies

Because baggy shorts are effectively two shorts in one they tend to be more expensive than regular cycling shorts: you pay a premium for modesty. Our focus on road cycling means we've not reviewed many baggies, so here are three that are worth a look based on the manufacturer's reputation and favourable user reviews.

Rockrider ST 500 shorts — £34.99

Rockrider ST 500 shorts

These well-reviewed baggies look like good value for money at just £35, and the price includes a padded liner. And you can get them in red too.

XKTTAC MTB Shorts with pad — £35.99

XKTTAC MTB Shorts with pad

For £36, these baggy shorts with undershorts look a bargain, though they might be a bit 'gnarly dude' for some tastes. The pockets are deep, the waist is elasticated and you can add a belt to cinch them up.

Funkier Adventure Baggy Shorts — ~£45

2020 Funkier Adventure Baggy Shorts

Funkier stuff is generally decent so while we haven't tested them we're going to stick our editorial neck out and include these baggies which even come with a liner, making them very good value for money.

Explore the complete archive of reviews of cycling shorts on road.cc

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

road.cc buyer's guides are maintained by the road.cc tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment

30 comments

Avatar
Steve K | 3 years ago
0 likes

You really do need to sort out the links on these re-run threads. I thought my recent dhb bibshort purchase was more than £35. Then I saw why - your link is to kids shorts.

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richliv | 4 years ago
0 likes

I used to buy cheaper shorts. But having switched to more expensive Le Col for £60-90 with discounts, I recommend them. They last longer and they're way more comfortable for the longer rides I do now (60-80 mile club rides). I think the cheaper options are fine if you're riding 50 miles/week ish but a false economy for longer. You get what you pay for in this area, at any rate.

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cyclefaster | 4 years ago
0 likes

I bought a pair of FDX bib tights, (not shorts) for the winter and have found them to be great value for money and really comfortable. Thought I would take a punt on them after reading one of these articles a while ago and pleased with the results.  

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alexb | 5 years ago
2 likes

I've been using dhb shorts for years and find them very good. The basic ones are great for commuting and I'm perfectly happy to ride all day in them as well. However, I bought a fancier pair of dhb aeron for long rides in hot weather and they are better in many, many ways.

The Planet X 365 bib shorts are also very good, although the legs rely on an odd arrangement which is not really a leg gripper. They fit snugly on the leg and seem t move with my leg, it's very hard to describe, but incredibly comfortable.

They'd be a great pair of shorts for long rides if it wasn't for the very high waist at the front which makes bathroom breaks a bit of a mission. Something that dhb got exactly right with the cut of the aeron.

Avatar
aegisdesign | 5 years ago
1 like

It's worth pointing out that the current Decathlon 500 shorts are nothing like the shorts mentioned here and the basic 300's are now the 100 by the looks of it.

The basic Road C 500 bib shorts don't have leg grippers, relying on just a folded over lycra hem (it works but does ride up a little) and the pad felt like sitting on a square cardboard box for about the first 5 washes. It softens up eventually. If you've got big thighs, size up. I'm usually a medium (Rapha, Assos, Bicycle Line, Nallini, Adidas, Morvelo or pretty much anyone) and medium is tight across the thighs for me. Or order two sizes and send back one.

Still quite ok for the daily commute though (45 mins each way for me) especially as you can sometimes pick these up in a sale for £11.99 (black and red are that currently) instead of £24.99.

I've worn them on 3+ hour rides but would rather wear something nicer. The pad in the C 500 has been getting some complaints compared to the previous version in Decathlon's  customer reviews. I've not worn the previous version. I've worn  worse though on shorts costing 4, 5 times as much. These aren't immediately comfy but persevere.

They also do a more premium Road R 500 and Road C 900. The Road R 500 is more expensive than the Road C 900 oddly but both have the same pad. £49.99 and £44.99 respectively. I would guess the Road C 900 is the previous Road R 500 model.  Decathlon's numbering scheme is quite odd.

Avatar
kil0ran replied to aegisdesign | 5 years ago
0 likes
aegisdesign wrote:

It's worth pointing out that the current Decathlon 500 shorts are nothing like the shorts mentioned here and the basic 300's are now the 100 by the looks of it.

The basic Road C 500 bib shorts don't have leg grippers, relying on just a folded over lycra hem (it works but does ride up a little) and the pad felt like sitting on a square cardboard box for about the first 5 washes. It softens up eventually. If you've got big thighs, size up. I'm usually a medium (Rapha, Assos, Bicycle Line, Nallini, Adidas, Morvelo or pretty much anyone) and medium is tight across the thighs for me. Or order two sizes and send back one.

Still quite ok for the daily commute though (45 mins each way for me) especially as you can sometimes pick these up in a sale for £11.99 (black and red are that currently) instead of £24.99.

I've worn them on 3+ hour rides but would rather wear something nicer. The pad in the C 500 has been getting some complaints compared to the previous version in Decathlon's  customer reviews. I've not worn the previous version. I've worn  worse though on shorts costing 4, 5 times as much. These aren't immediately comfy but persevere.

They also do a more premium Road R 500 and Road C 900. The Road R 500 is more expensive than the Road C 900 oddly but both have the same pad. £49.99 and £44.99 respectively. I would guess the Road C 900 is the previous Road R 500 model.  Decathlon's numbering scheme is quite odd.

I found the previous (blue) pad in the 700s very comfortable for rides of several hours and I'm heavy on shorts. The red pad on the lower end shorts didn't have enough panels and was too thin for me.

 

Avatar
SecretSam | 5 years ago
0 likes

At this time of year, you can get decent shorts for £30

Always found DHB shorts sizing to be weird and the fit poor, but might give the B'Twin a go for the commute

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Another Eamon | 6 years ago
0 likes

Having read a previous version of this article a few months back I ordered a pair of the Caratti shorts and at the same time a pair of Galibier Classique shorts, both for wearing on the commute to work.  Wouldn't buy another pair of the Caratti, thin pad and a cheap feel.  The Galibier Classique shorts, which were just a few pounds more, were much better.  Quality product, very comfortable and great value.  Not my go-to short for longer rides but fine for anything less than 2hrs.

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Pitbull Steelers | 6 years ago
0 likes

Cant fault Piu Muglia bibs from Start cycles. £15 and really comfy on rides upto 60 miles and in the heat of Mallorca. 

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bechdan | 6 years ago
0 likes

sad to say but I think Tenn clothing is pretty poor and generally overpriced. The fit and quality is poor and their waterproofs either arent waterproof or boil in the bag despite the breathability claim.

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ajvb65 | 6 years ago
0 likes

I've tended to buy the cheaper DHB bibs for commuting & turbo. And the more expensive ones for very long rides. I've been very pleased with DHB. However I bought some PX 3/4s last auturm that I was so impressed with that I've bought more plus their standard bibs. Extremely good for the money.

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TheScotsman | 6 years ago
0 likes

Another recommendation for Planet X shorts.

I gave up on buying DhB shorts after years of disappointment with the stitching around the pad coming apart within days on every pair I bought, and the material wearing through far too quickly on the outside of the pad area.

I've been wearing Planet X Pro-Line 365 X bibs and 3/4s, as well as a pair of Clubman bibs, for a number of years now and they're all still in fantastic condition with no stitching issues around the pad and no excess wear around saddle-contact areas.

The pads are thicker and far more comfortable than the DhB pads ever were too.

 

Great kit for the money - and even better value when picked up in their regular Flash sales.

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Dnnnnnn | 6 years ago
0 likes

I have a pair of the Decathlon 700 series bibs, bought for about £25 (down from £40 IIRC).

I also have a pair of Rapha's 'core' bibs which sell for £100.

The Raphas are slightly better for long rides (say 4+ hrs) but the difference is slight.

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bechdan | 6 years ago
0 likes

planet x club bibshorts are the most comfortable ive worn out of hope, speg, dhb and tenn. Although speg are really good too

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
2 likes

Not if you're doing 5 consecutive days on the turbo at 20-40 minute sessions...

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CXR94Di2 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Castelli, or Rapha

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nortonpdj | 6 years ago
0 likes

I would rather buy one pair of decent bibs than 5 pairs of rubbish.

 

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bechdan replied to nortonpdj | 6 years ago
1 like
nortonpdj wrote:

I would rather buy one pair of decent bibs than 5 pairs of rubbish.

 

 

thats subjective though, what counts as rubbish? Ive worn expensive bike clothing thats not been as comfortable or as durable as cheaper stuff. 

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Biggus-Dickkus | 7 years ago
2 likes

Been though a lot of makes and have found nothing as good as Assos.

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nortonpdj replied to Biggus-Dickkus | 7 years ago
2 likes
Biggus-Dickkus wrote:

Been though a lot of makes and have found nothing as good as Assos.

You're not exactly the target for this article!

(Neither am I but I read it too....)

 

Avatar
jonnyvelo replied to Biggus-Dickkus | 6 years ago
0 likes
Biggus-Dickkus wrote:

Been though a lot of makes and have found nothing as good as Assos.

Such a safe choice (boring) but they are not a patch on Etxeondo - cut, style and materials without the need for a loan. 

Avatar
BarryBianchi replied to jonnyvelo | 6 years ago
0 likes
jonnyvelo wrote:

 

Such a safe choice (boring) but they are not a patch on Etxeondo - cut, style and materials without the need for a loan. 

They are very good so long as you get them from Wiggle or Bikeinn and avoid Prendas Cyclismo, which in my experience must be about the most unhelpful shop with worst customer service out there.

Avatar
srchar replied to jonnyvelo | 6 years ago
0 likes
jonnyvelo wrote:
Biggus-Dickkus wrote:

Been though a lot of makes and have found nothing as good as Assos.

Such a safe choice (boring) but they are not a patch on Etxeondo - cut, style and materials without the need for a loan. 

A quick Google reveals Etxeondo shorts to cost £95 to £265 on Wiggle, i.e. same price range as Assos.  Where do you buy your cheap Etxeondos?

Avatar
Swiss | 7 years ago
0 likes

Your kit/ gear history is like reading how your fitness developed.
Started with Tenn shorts- ok for up to an hour. Then got btwin 500 shorts ok for up to 2 hours.
Then got dhb bib shorts ok for up to 3 hours. Now have gore xenon bib shorts ok all day. Would only ever buy bib shorts now.

Avatar
jhsmith87 | 7 years ago
7 likes

I have amassed the full range of Btwin gear over the last 3 years. Starting with the 300 & then adding the 500 then the 700/900 (in both normal/aerofit versions). I generally buy when it is half price in the sale/clearance racks. Having done 5k+ miles on their kit I have to say it is astonishing value for money, both the low & high end. A colleague was curious to see if a pair of Castelli bib shorts added any extra comfort/better fit than the top end Btwin. He wasted £160. 

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sergius | 7 years ago
0 likes

The Tenn lycra cycle shorts aren't great, I bought some when I first started riding and didn't know better - even the most basic DHB shorts were leagues better.

 

The Tenn padded cargo shorts (MTB style ones) are actually really good though, I'm still wearing a pair today that I bought about 4 years ago.  If you don't want to go full lycra for a commute/short ride - they are an excellent choice.

Avatar
ashliejay | 7 years ago
0 likes

The tenn shorts aren't that great as the chamois is worse than a pound shop sponge, but other than that the shorts aren't too bad, especially considering they go up to a 5XL and are better than nothing.

Avatar
Altimis | 7 years ago
4 likes

Is Baleaf Men's 3D Padded Cycling Undershorts intented for "panties" use?

Its probably silly question because I saw one around my town wore this without "pants" and its super hilrarious silly looks with that blue paddy inside out . . . .

He even walking around with that OMFG are you serious . . . wish I have photo him but he is stranger to me so I bother not

Avatar
longassballs | 7 years ago
0 likes

I've been fooled by this site's review of the Caratti bibs before, don't you be. The pad is very thin and hence uncomfortable, and the leg grippers don't work.

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TheHungryGhost | 7 years ago
0 likes

The Tenn cargo shorts are just £5.99 on Amazon in light blue. Just ordered a pair. I have a couple of pairs of the Amazon undershorts red padding and different name, but very similar that I use on my commute under a pair of Ron Hills nice and comfy on short rides, haven't tried then on anything longer, but have seen plenty of use and washing and are holding up well.

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