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What To Wear For Cycling: Loose Vs Lycra Clothing

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.

100 comments on “What To Wear For Cycling: Loose Vs Lycra Clothing

  1. I’ve noted personally, that the more casual clothing I wear The better perception I have from drivers, typically if I don’t wear Lycra drivers are much more friendly

  2. I have lycra and baggies. I look better in baggies but I wear both depending on what ride I am doing. Exercise on the road bike, lycra; grocery store run or mountain bike, then baggies. Good video.

  3. They didn't say the main point for me in that if you wear baggy clothes you dont have to get changed afterwards, if you are for example commuting, and you dont have to buy anything extra

  4. One question for you great guru’s of geared fashion. Our team kit for a cancer charity ride is made of a very comfortable, yet see through mesh. At 60 years old and 100 kilos, lets just say the lycra is enough of a public nuisance, never mind the transparency. I wear a shirtsleeve compression shirt base layer. Should the base layer be over or under the bib straps?

  5. Larger men (and woman, not wanting to discriminate) engaging in road cycling should not wearing lycra (other than padded cycle shorts under a pair of loose jugging shorts), I say this as a large man / frequent road cyclist.

  6. Baggy or not, cycling clothing is expensive. Now that I am approaching middle age and not wishing to be a MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra), I prefer casual bike commuter wear over mountain bike wear, yet again few brands and very expensive.

  7. Then why do you "choose" to keep wearing those awful bell helmets? surely other better looking helmet brands would want to sponsor GCN

  8. I do ride Lycra when racing or training on road bike, but do spend a lot of time on MTB and Gravel and usually MTB shorts with a cycling jersey. And once a week will replace jersey for a dryfit shirt for local pubrides .

  9. Climbing pants and a tshirt? 🤷‍♂
    Lycra if I'm not expecting to stop for more than 5 minutes until I get back home.

  10. I'm a roadie and occasional mountain biker. I reluctantly wear baggies for mtb, but only out of fashion pressure. XC mountain bikers, the people I'm closest to, all wear lycra, but its the downhillers and RedBull people who make the fashion rules. I dislike baggies not because of the look, but because of the lack of storage. It's hot where I live and that makes a backpack or waste pouch very uncomfortable when you pedal up everything you ride.

  11. Leg warmers can also be used as an alternative when off-the-shelf long leg bibs are way too long if you are of short stature (i.e the top bit fits well, but the legs are way too long). Most of the big brand name bibs seem to assume their customer base are just long and lean 😎🚴🏻‍♂️ Come on you big name european brands, us short arses have money to spend too 🤣

  12. Definitely lycra on the road, it's comfortable and you have so much storage space in the jersey. On the mountainbike I wear a "little bit on the tight side" baggy short with lycra jersey (the ones from cycology are "cool enough" to wear out on the trails, promise). But I'm generally a fan of form-fitting clothes, so I might not be entirely objective here 😉

  13. Loose clothing when biking to work or church, but Lycra when I am on my indoor bike using Zwift 😄

  14. I go half way. Zoic MTB shorts that have a separate padded liner, they have 6 pockets for storage. Then I use the $15 Tesla compression shirts which are tight and keep me extremely cool and dry.

  15. Great to see the beautiful Katherine back on the screen, who incidentally I personally agree with.

    Unless I'm riding my road bike on a 100 mile run, when I wear lycra, most of my riding is done on my fast hybrid, so I wear a light t-shirt (too thick a fabric and you sweat…) and tight baggies.

    For most of my riding around town I wear a pair of jean type shorts with lycra in, which are loose-ish and trendy, but also acts in the same way as my lycra shorts…..

    And, I am still much faster than the majority of riders I meet: trendy and fast, that's me!

  16. katherine isn't wearing a ladies cut tee, and shimano doesn't seem to have one, which gave bike commuter apparel a less flattering representation here

  17. "What you choose to wear is down to you."
    makes video called "Top 10 things not to wear on a bike." 😂

  18. but what about tight fitting normal clothes over lycra lol, clothes I wear when not got lycra on hug me well

  19. There is ONE thing that you are missing out on. Exercise potential. That is that training/riding on a "beater" (ok not that much of a beater) and floppy clothes actually helps you be a better/faster cyclist. How – simple. DRAG and LOST POWER due to a more inefficient bike and clothes flapping drag. Overcoming the "loses" to keep up with the group means you have to work harder to do so. That translates to a really big increase in overall speed and endurance when you put on your real cycling kit and go out on your top of the line bike. That's the overall idea. Work harder to get better doesn't always mean flat out training to the max, just train harder using inefficiency to get you better.

  20. A debate presented by two fine examples of the human figure. Now see what happens when you put skin tight lycra on a middle aged bearded man who has recently taken to cycling as a way to try to undo some of the damage of years of pies and beer.

  21. Loose stuff has to much air space which insulates meaning your sweat beads and sheets on the surface of the skin and evaporates very slowly.

  22. I would wear Lycra if it wasn't so damn expensive. After going broke buying my bikes I can't afford clothes just for riding.

  23. I wear Lycra capris on the bottom, and a super light, loose polyester shirt on top, in my Nikes, on my comfort bike. About 15 to 20 miles 5-6 days a week. It works. I'm happy.

  24. Lyrca. It's a sport, it's a mindset. I don't want to have messed up body parts due to too loose fitting clothing. Ever.

  25. I watch the video and close my eyes in horror in all the close-ups on Si. I was hoping he would say not wearing socks it is alright.

    Maybe one day, maybe one day.

  26. Stay safe be smart…never buy or wear dark clothing whilst on a bike. Stay away from Black and dark colours on a bike always choose light colours and helements. Dark colours passing through the fovia of a human eye of other road users will take longer to pick up than light colours, this could mean the difference between safety and injury.

  27. I wear Zoic knickers over my riding shorts to spare the public having to see my "package"😂You're welcome…..

  28. I am still fairly new to cycling. I have four cycling jerseys, and a waterproof upper layer for training/racing. My saddle is pretty comfy for me, but I am looking into some comfy cycling specific shorts. When cycling with a local group on a casual loop, I dress more casual and loose. If there's a competitive edge to the ride, I may lycra up. When commuting to church or work, I take the weather into account and generally pack a quick change of clothes. I guess I try to find a balance between social expectations and comfort, because no one wants to look homeless or like a nutter just because they're commuting by bike.

  29. I'm fixing to turn 63. Just finished a 350 mile bikepacking trip. 2pc baggies are just perfect with waterproof pockets. At my age no one needs to see my junk anyway. Like I said I'm fixing to turn 63. Hahahaha

  30. Lycra turns an average cyclist into an arrogant king of the road. I like overtaking these show offs in my baggy no brand shorts and shirts that I wear cycling or not.

  31. Either buggy or Lycra there is one thing for sure. I sweat like an animal especially if the temperature reaches above 25C

  32. I wear jeans and a T-shirt, because a bike is just a mode of transportation, I don't see the need to go fast enough to even work up a sweat, and I don't wear special clothing when I'm in a car, on a bus or in a train.

  33. Unless you are racing wearing lycra makes you look a bit of a …er how can I say this… tw*t in the eyes of other road users especially if you're wearing team kit and have a less than perfect body. There's plenty of stylish urban wear that you can ride all day in and still look good at the café stops

  34. I used to live in slightly sketchy neighbourhood, and wearing lycra would not go down well. So i would wear an old t shirt and cargo shorts over my cycling clothes, ride 20 mins or so, then take off and hide my tshirt and cargo shorts somewhere. On the way home I would do the reverse.

  35. I don't carry anything hard, like a mini-pump, in my pocket because if I crash, I don't want land it. My mini-pump mounts next to my water bottle cage, and my repair kit goes in my seat bag. My pockets are reserved for things like food and arm warmers. Do I worry that my riding buddies might whisper to each other that I'm a nerd? Nah. If you ride well, that's how you'll be judged.

  36. right. if I just want to spend an hour riding for fun, I'm not going to dress like I'm in the Tour de France. lmao! yeah, nope

  37. I do ride in jeans, it's same as with hard saddles … hurts a bit on the first weeks but gets better soon. XD

  38. So a group has started in America called slow roll ,I'm in Cleveland. they ride on Monday night is an easy ride 10 miles at the most .I ride 31 miles to get to there locations they start at different locations every Monday night so I meet with them I'm a corker I block traffic so the group can pass intercetions and I thank traffic with a smile and ride past the pack to the front to get ready to cork again .iv toured and raced the road and the dirt so I understand the benefits of Lycra. so round trip for me is something like 75 miles or more .Old racers never die..the group wants . me in there yellow tee shirt I got it it's hot it's unfun .it's too hot I ride too far its no bueno..the group is almost all regular people I'm the only x racers to show up it's all volentier for me no cash no beers no tubes I'm the first class Domestique for them .And some give my shit for showing up in lycra.for a second or 2 I get all pissed off wanting to use there heads as trainers know 200 RPMs on there face . But I remember I volentier to do this I want the miles 3 hours after they drove there car home I get home whipped out .I just wish they would ponny up and get me a jersey .just saying.

  39. I wear my bib shorts with no top at all. I'm in such phenomenal shape I manage to pull it off. When it starts to get warm I'll even take the straps off the shoulders too. Broad shoulders and tiny waist I look like fucking superman.

  40. 3:39 this reminds me of my former neighbor, she always wore those on the outside! she was convinced that she had to wear it like that🤣😅

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