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How to keep your bum comfy without breaking the bank

"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 £40, 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.

B'Twin 300 Padded Cycling Shorts — £5.99

BTwin 300 Padded cycling Shorts - riding.jpg

BTwin's 300 Cycling Shorts are apparently designed for short distance and recreational riding – 13 miles is their suggested, unusually precise, optimum (translated from 20km, we suspect). 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 500 stablemates but the 300 Cycling Shorts do exactly what they promise and represent excellent value.

Baleaf Men's 3D Padded Cycling Undershorts — £14.99-19.99

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 a couple of hundred 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.

Tenn Outdoors Coolflo 8 Panel Shorts — £24.99

Tenn Mens Coolflo 8 Panel Padded Cycling Shorts.jpg

These get overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon and our own experience of Tenn Outdoors shorts has been good too. For a mere 16 quid you can't go wrong.

You get eight-panel construction, a padded liner, curved 'anatomical' shaping, high-density Nylon/Lycra fabric and leg grippers.

FDX Men's Performance Cycling Bib Shorts — £17.25

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 GoreBikeWear quality.

Triban Road C Bib Shorts 500 — £24.99

French-based sport superstore chain Decathlon offers a wide range of well-priced shorts, including these which our reviewer found "offered ample support in all the right places". He added that they're "easily the best budget bib shorts I've ever worn."

The feature set is pretty standard with a lightweight Polyester/Lycra fabric for most of the shorts and ventilating mesh for the bib and braces. The pad is comfortable enough for 50+ mile rides and if coordination is your thing there's a matching 500-series jersey for £19.99.

Read our review of the Triban Road C Bib Shorts 500

Liv Mossa Shorts — £33.99

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 just £26.25. Decathlon also offers a couple of models of women's bib shorts.

dhb Bib Shorts — £30

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.

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

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.

dhb Baggy Shorts — £30

dhb-Baggy-Short-Baggy-Cycling-Shorts-Black-AW17-A1460XXL.jpg

You'll need a liner with these shorts if you're planning longer rides, but they're still good value if you pair them with the Baleaf undershorts above.

freefun MTB Shorts — £19.99

Freefun MTB shorts

For just £20, these baggy shorts look a bargain, though they might be a bit 'gnarly dude' for some tastes. The pockets have zips, and the waist is adjustable with Velcro tabs.

Altura Cadence Baggy Shorts — £28

Altura Cadence baggy shorts.jpg

Altura's shorts are highly regarded at the £49.99 RRP, so they're even better with a few quid off here. You get a lightweight fabric shell with pockets, elasticated waistband and an Altura Comp 3D pad.

A women's version is also available.

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Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

27 comments

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TheHungryGhost [63 posts] 1 year 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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longassballs [93 posts] 1 year ago
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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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Altimis [65 posts] 1 year ago
3 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

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ashliejay [74 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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sergius [564 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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jhsmith87 [48 posts] 1 year 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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Swiss [64 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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Biggus-Dickkus [48 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

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

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nortonpdj [223 posts] 1 year 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....)

 

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nortonpdj [223 posts] 1 year ago
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I would rather buy one pair of decent bibs than 5 pairs of rubbish.

 

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CXR94Di2 [2314 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Castelli, or Rapha

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alansmurphy [1947 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

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

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jonnyvelo [3 posts] 1 year ago
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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. 

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BarryBianchi [418 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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bechdan [182 posts] 7 months 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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bechdan [182 posts] 7 months 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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srchar [1095 posts] 7 months ago
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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?

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Duncann [1443 posts] 7 months ago
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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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TheScotsman [37 posts] 7 months ago
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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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ajvb65 [17 posts] 7 months ago
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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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bechdan [182 posts] 7 months ago
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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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Pitbull Steelers [72 posts] 5 months ago
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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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Another Eamon [4 posts] 5 months ago
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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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SecretSam [4 posts] 2 months ago
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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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aegisdesign [113 posts] 2 months ago
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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.

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kil0ran [1192 posts] 2 months 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.

 

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alexb [196 posts] 2 weeks ago
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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.