Good bike knickers give you the best of both worlds
Bike knickers are a great solution to a few issues we cyclists often encounter – temperature, sun exposure, and comfort/appearance.
Bike knickers help bridge the gap between cool and warmer temperatures, giving the protection we want without overheating.
In strong sun they give us more protection than shorts, but with a little more freedom of movement and temperature moderation than cycling tights.
Riders who don’t feel completely comfortable wearing cycling shorts in public can still get the performance and comfort they need with bike knickers.
Here are a few points to look for when you are shopping for bike knickers, straight from the product development team here at Terry.
Is it your style?
We suggest that you find yourself below, then evaluate knickers and their features/benefits based on the type of riding you’d like to be able to do.
- Performance: ride hard, long distances (50+ miles; 3+ hours) and challenging terrain; race, tri, mountain bike. Plan to spend $90+ on a performance-level pair.
- Touring: long distances (50+ miles; 3+ hours) and multiple days in a row; bike touring with overnights away from home (and washing machine), cross country riding, centuries and life by bike. Again, plan to spend $90+.
- Fitness/Fun: 10-40 miles (1-3 hours) per ride in a variety of conditions and temperatures; around town, events, group rides, commuting, bike paths, weekend outings, spinning/gym use. You can find good quality options from $70+.
Number of Panels.
The more panels, the more sculpted the fit becomes and the lower the potential for chafing. However, more panels also means more sewing and higher cost. Here’s the general rule of thumb:
- Performance: 8+ panels
- Touring: 6-8 panels
- Fitness/Fun: 4-6 panels
Look for fabrics that are moisture wicking, fast drying, nice feeling against the skin. There are so many different fabric blends available in sportswear today, but they can and do differ in their levels of moisture control, texture and compression.
- Performance knickers (Bella) typically use higher compression fabrics. The more spandex, the more compression (which can help improve muscle efficiency/recovery) and the tighter the fit of the short. Fabrics also vary based on the specific technical needs. Tri shorts, for example, require fabrics that can provide UV protection, withstand the effects of chlorine and air dry quickly.
- Touring knickers (Knicker) really require the best moisture wicking, quick dry fabrics so you can spend all day in them, launder at night and potentially use the next day. Synthetics are used in bike shorts to aid in moisture transfer – the key to staying dry and comfortable.
- Fitness/Fun knickers (Actif, Spinnaker, Metro Capri) can run the gamut when it comes to fabric. It’s important that it has some degree of spandex so they will retain their shape.
The heart and soul of any cycling bottom is its chamois. It’s a significant part of the construction and the cost. It can make all the difference on a ride, so it’s important that you end up with your soulmate here. These are the things to consider when evaluating the differences between knicker-length bottoms with different chamois:
- Ventilation and moisture control (super critical for Touring). Due to proximity to lady parts, antibacterial and bacteriostatic fabric surface treatments are also important to evaluate.
- Four-way stretch that allows your chamois to move with you, providing comfort while pedaling (particularly important for long distances, high pedaling cadences and long hours). Elastic Interface® Technology is the standard and is the patented technology from Italy used in our Flex and Flex Air chamois.
- Unpadded wings reduce bulk through the center of the chamois which means greater freedom of movement and less potential for inner thigh chafing. You won’t find this anywhere other than Terry – it’s a unique feature of our Flex and Flex Air chamois on Touring and Performance bottoms.
- Seamless construction (for all riders). No seams mean less irritation and abrasion. Most chamois are seamlessly molded with varying densities of foam, strategically placed for maximum comfort and support of your sit bones.