What To Wear For Cycling: Loose Vs Lycra Clothing


– If you want to go cycling, you’re going to need cycling kit, right? Cycling jersey, cycling shorts. – Nah, nah, nah, you don’t
need to look like a cyclist if you want to go riding. (snaps fingers) There are loads of different
clothing options out there. What you choose to wear
is entirely down to you. – But, which is best and
what are you missing out on if you’re not wearing a cycling kit, apart from serious posing potential. – [Sy] Yes, well thankfully SHIMANO has sent us a snapshot
of their S-PHYRE range so that we can talk you
through that age old question, lycra versus baggies. (intense music) (rock music) – [Katherine] So firstly,
why is cycling kit even tight in the first place? – [Sy] Because it makes
you look great, obviously. I mean, just check us out. – [Katherine] Okay, well,
that might be one factor, but, I was thinking a
bit more practically. Tight clothes make you faster. (rock music) – Yep, that is true. That is a big advantage of lycra. Not that we’re advocating
riding around all the time in an aerodynamic onesie, but, the difference between
well fitting cycling kit and baggie shorts and a jersey is big. Right, you can feel the difference, big. And if you want to measure it, you find probably up to 2K an hour faster for not extra effort. – Now, that’s not to be sniffed at, but, what if speed isn’t your thing? Now, the efficiency savings, meaning you can actually ride further for the same amount of effort and that’s exactly why cycling clothing has evolved the was it has. From tight fitting wool
clothing, rightfully to this. And if you look into
cutting edge clothing, you’ll notice that every effort has gone into making the fit as good as possible, no baggie bits, which means it fit just
like a second skin. – Which also has additional
advantages, as well, because perhaps not all of us are going to be going fast
enough to feel the full benefits of aerodynamics and nor will
a lot of us really care, but, tight can also mean comfortable. Loose fitting clothes
can sometimes bunch up and therefore, lead to pressure spots, which, can cause chafage. Whereas, tight fitting clothes, the fabric doesn’t tend to move, meaning that you’ll always know where the seams are going to be, so therefore, manufactures can move them to areas where they’re not
going to cause problems, like underneath your butt. – And when you team that up
with padding inside the shorts, which, in this case is
a really advanced one, it’s got variable thickness,
ventilation, and shaping to help it stay in place and
prevent it from bunching up, which means, you can ride
for much longer in comfort. So, pretty much worth noting,
at this point, Katherine, that the pads or shammys,
given their technical name can be quite different
between men and women because of our different
physiologys, down there. (laugh) – Thanks for clarifying that on Sy. – It’s my pleasure. (rock music) Anyway, back to comfort,
as well as, being tight, modern cycling clothing fabric
is also super breathable. In this case, S-PHYRE have used something they’ve called Dry-touch, where the fabric actually drives
moisture away from the skin to the outer edge of the fabric, so, that you stay more comfortable. Whereas that, the fabric
is also super light-weight and also quick drying. – And lastly, this is a big one, and something that gets
non-cyclists scratching their heads, is the shoulder straps or bibs. – Yeah, never, ever to be
on show, it has to be said, they’re there to stop a gap, here, in between shorts and jersey
when you’re leaning forward on the bike and also to eliminate
any need of a waistband, which, can actually
start to dig in, again, when you’re on the bike. – And just to reiterate, Sy, never, ever to be worn on the outside. – Never, ever. (pop music) – [Katherine] Okay, so lycra
is fast and comfortable, why then, would you consider
wearing anything else? – [Sy] Because you might
not want to look like that. – Sometimes lycra doesn’t
leave much to the imagination. Baggie shorts are a great
way of riding in style while still protecting your modesty. But, let it be said, not all loose fitting
shorts are created equal. Riding specific shorts will
definitely be more comfortable. – Yeah, pair something like those with bib shorts underneath and you’re not sacrificing
any comfort, whatsoever. Just make sure the straps aren’t on show. (pop music) – It’s not just shorts that
can be riding specific. As anyone whose ever exercised in a standard cotton t-shirt will know, technical fabrics, here, are a must. Just like with the tight fitting clothing, they really help to wick your
sweat away from you skin, keeping you cool and
also dry really quickly to help avoid that soggy t-shirt feeling. Sorry, Sy. (comical music) – [Sy] Ah, not again. Can we seriously not delete that footage? (sigh) They also still need to be cut with a cycling position in mind. But, in essence, with performance fabric and then that fit that needs
to work in a cycling position without getting caught up on your saddle or giving you major chafage, you lose out to lycra
only on speed and storage. – [Katherine] Ah yes, storage. A cycling jersey typically
has three pockets in the back which, are perfect for carrying food, perhaps a mini pump and a spare tube, even an extra layer or two. Now, with baggies you just don’t get this. Or, if you did, your jersey would be dangling around your knees. With shorts like these,
you do have some storage, but, you’ll likely need a bit extra, so, you can strap and extra bag either to yourself or to your bike. (rock music) – [Sy] One third consideration
is that I think lycra is easy to layer up for
changing conditions. So, for example, arm
warmers and leg warmers, which, are literally tubes of fabric, can make a big difference
to your overall warmth, by turning short sleeves into long and then, you can very
quickly take ’em off, they stow away to almost nothing and stick ’em in your back
pocket as you warm up. – You can use them with baggies, but, it’s um, just not quite the same. – Irrespective of whether
you’re wearing baggies or lycra, if you’re riding in changeable conditions, now, I think it’s essential to take some kind of thin wind or
waterproof jacket or gilet. Now, the same rules apply, if
you’re going fast on the road, you want something that’s
going to be tight fitting. If you’re going for baggies, then you want something that’s in keeping with that, aesthetic, as well. (zipper) – So, if speed isn’t important to you and you’re happy to
carry bags on your bike for the things that you
would otherwise have in your pockets, then there’s really no why
you can’t wear baggies. – Now, in essence, it kind
of boils down to what you want to look like on your bike. Do you want to look like a cyclist that could munch miles and
maybe dabble in a bit of racing, then you wear lycra. – [Katherine] And if you
want to look like a cyclist that prioritizes smiles over miles, then baggies tell that story. – At the end of the day, there are loads of options
out there for cycling kit. You just need to choose
what you feel best in and choose something that has
been designed specifically with riding in mind because
you will feel the benefit of cycling specific fabrics and fit irrespective of whether
it’s lycra or baggies. Katherine, what’s your personal
lycra versus baggies angle? – I’m about 75% baggies,
most of my riding’s off-road. – Really? – Yeah. – I’m basically all day everyday lycra, except when I’m riding my mountain bike, at which point I’m wearing
very tight baggies, basically. (laughter)
Yeah anyway, we’re really eager to
know what you ride in, so, make sure you let use
know in the comments section. Are you baggies or are you lycra? – And we’ve got another great
video for you coming up, it’s flat versus drop
bars, just down here.